January 01, 2003
lose when a trust is broken
Question: (E-019) Is there possibly an economic system
that is not so structurally flawed that it can result
in a society that places its priority on leadership with
integrity? ... How could we build an economic system that
rewards integrity and ability at the same time so that
those qualities are inherent in our leaders?
Response: Trust is broken between and among the various
participants and partners of the free market when we allow
our officials (academic, economic, political and spiritual)
to feed us lines of comfortable (and dishonest)
economic controls -- the brakes on our system -- are broken.
Passengers, those buying and investing, have lost confidence.
They are casting about for sound and dependable counsel,
financial and beyond.
passengers are flailing
out of fear, mistrust, uncertainty,
and doubt. Such flailing energizes downturns that lead
toward recessions and depressions.
answer has been and will remain that It should be
common knowledge that free markets must regulate themselves
or governments will.
bottom line, from philosopher, M.H. McKee: "Integrity
is one of several paths; it distinguishes itself from
the others because it is the right path and the only one
upon which you will never get lost."
answer seems to be that we must choose between a drift
toward government-controlled socialism, which is the path
that today seemingly attracts all too many, and a responsible
free enterprise system. The let the government do
it attitude results from the excesses that are only
too fresh in our minds. A responsible free-enterprise
system, on the other hand, would find capitalism in a
self-regulated mode and help to preserve the way of life
we have enjoyed up to now.
Time Magazine selected three whistle blowers
as their Persons of the Year because those
women felt that their own job security was less important
than the free enterprise structure and our governmental
three who spoke up about problems at Enron, the FBI and
WorldCom were were chosen by Time because they stood up
to the rot of dishonesty and replaced it with their very
we do less and expect our structures and systems to endure?
JIM BRACHER is founder of the Bracher
Center for Integrity in Leadership in Monterey. His column,
"Integrity Matters," appears Wednesday on the
Business page. Readers are invited to submit questions
on business-related ethics and values. Please write in
care of INTEGRITY to firstname.lastname@example.org. The
center's Web site is www.brachercenter.com.
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