4 January 2006

Business ethics, Part 1

Thank you, Bush administration. I’ve just been required to spend the most mind-numbing couple of hours carefully reading page after page of ethical guidelines. Rules that should be blatantly obvious to anyone with any ethical sense whatsoever. It’s all about ensuring that I don’t do things like take Dick Cheney out to the Country Club in order to get juicy government contracts on a no-bid basis, or organize a price-fixing system to defraud California.

Apparently some government agencies no longer allow their employees to accept any free food or drink from contractors. There’s a written notice I have to make sure is displayed before I offer any government employee coffee or a doughnut. If I’d known public officials were that cheap…

Much as I appreciate the problem, I can’t help despairing of a world where there’s a need to tell people “You are prohibited from engaging in fraud”. The course material even then goes on to define the term, enumerating examples. Perhaps at some point someone said “What, false invoices are fraud? Fraud isn’t allowed? Nobody told me!”

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