The Curse of Giants | Part 1

David-and-GoliathAN ESSAY BY J. RICHARD FINLAY

On Corporate Integrity in the Post-Bailout Era

Recent multi-billion dollar settlements involving Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase show the staggering costs of ethical folly and the culture of moral hazard that places too many companies, and capitalism itself, at risk.

It is the curse of giants to believe in their own invincibility.  It is also the curse of their acolytes, as the White Star Line discovered with its “unsinkable” Titanic and the Philistines learned with the defeat of their champion Goliath at the hands of a young shepherd boy.  Yet these lessons, and countless others, over millennia have not dispelled such illusions in the world of business, where size is seen as an insulator against all manner of misadventures and the too-big-to-fail mentality shows few signs of abating.  Indeed, the extent to which America’s major banks and Wall Street icons were on the wrong track when it came to compliance with the law and standards of ethics during the great financial meltdown and even afterwards is becoming even more striking Read more

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