Profit with Honor
On Thursday last week, after a trial stretching four months and jury deliberations spanning six days, former Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted of fraud and conspiracy, crimes for which they could face life sentences in prison. “The jury sent an unmistakable message,” prosecutor Sean Berkowitz said. “You can’t lie to shareholders. No matter how rich and powerful, you must play by the rules.”
Judging by the string of recent scandals involving executives at Daewoo, Hyundai, Fannie Mae, and National Century Financial Enterprises, companies don’t seem to have gotten that message. Despite tough new legislation and stiffer penalties aimed at preventing corporate abuses, “fraud in the workplace is alive and well in the post-Enron era,” says MSNBC Senior Producer John W. Schoen.
If more laws and regulations are not the answer, what is? Enter Daniel Yankelovich and his new book Profit with Honor: The New Stage of Market Capitalism. This wise and optimistic book examines the rampant scandals that plague American corporations today and shows how companies can reverse the resulting climate of mistrust. By seizing the opportunity to address some of the nation’s–and the world’s–most serious problems, creative business leaders can advance market capitalism to its next stage of evolution, building upon business norms that simultaneously emphasize the legitimacy of profit making and the importance of the care that companies give to employees, customers, and the larger society.
“Profit with Honor is a refreshing antidote to the Enronic plague,” says Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst for NPR. “It charts a path to a restored confidence in the American business ethic.”
Profit with Honor is part of The Future of American Deomocracy Series, edited by Norton Garfinkle. Garfinkle and Yankelovich’s jointly edited book, Uniting America: Restoring the Vital Center to American Democracy, is also part of the series.