In the Name of Profit: Profiles in Corporate Irresponsibility

In the Name of Profit: Profiles in Corporate Irresponsibility

Robert L. Heilbroner, Morton Mintz, Colman McCarthy, Sanford J. Ungar, Kermit Vandivier, Saul Friedman, James Boyd

Language: English

Pages: 168

ISBN: 2:00234452

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Hardcover originally published in 1972.

Said One Executive:
"Why should my conscience bother me?"

Here are dramatic true stories of executives whose desire for profit leads them into shameful decisions.

Naming actual executive of major American companies, the authors portray corporate irresponsibility in human term. One executive is shown as he orders his subordinates to fake a lab report, even though the result might be loss of life. Others are shown as they bribe a city official, as they knowingly sell a dangerous drug, as they enrich themselves by betraying their stockholders.

These men are not the familiar fast-buck artists, the petty cheats who can be dismissed as "bad apples." The authors reveal themselves as solid citizens, educated and well-respected. Yet in the course of business they easily yield to ambition, avarice or the corporate culture. And almost always, after they are exposed, they are promoted by their companies.

Together these profiles, all of them written especially for this book, give life to questions raised by books such as America, Inc. and The Greening of America:

· What kind of men run some super-corporations?
· How can "good men" behave so badly"
· Does working for a corporation mean violating one's conscience?

After all the stories are told, the brilliant economist and social critic Robert L. Heilbroner offers a chapter of perspective. First he confronts the various positions on corporate responsibility--at one extreme, breaking up the big corporations; at the other, leaving executive entirely free to maximize profits. And then he cuts through to the realities if the matter, showing us where the best chance of remedy lies.

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13,000,000 vehicles, or 36 percent of all vehicles manufactured, were recalled for possible defects. According to the Center for Auto Safety, GM led the list with 9,000,000 recalls. Auto executives are alert men, with pool-player minds wise to all angles; it is hardly possible they do not realize that a decision to cheapen may also be a decision to risk the lives of human beings. The exact number of accidents attributable to cheapening is unknowable, but with 56,000 killed by automobiles in 1970

greatly to admire and deeply to love … a man of impeccable character both in speech and in conduct.” To be executive vice-president, the directors of Colonial selected Karl T. Feldman, then fifty-two, who had been an official of Sinclair Pipeline Company. An engineer, he had spent thirty-five years in the oil industry. Adrian M, Foley, Jr., a lawyer who came to know Feldman well, has described him as a “family man…[a] church man, a quiet man …” He has, Foley said, “a record of spotless

the fall of 1966, they still owned the remaining seventy acres. Cyktor expected that eventually they would sell this land for development, making this a very successful investment for the two of them. Although Ben Leuty, president of Colonial Pipeline, left Glenn Giles without further instructions about the demand from Woodbridge for money, Giles undertook to bring up the matter, on June 4, 1964, with an official of the Bechtel Corporation. This firm, based in San Francisco, had the contract to

had exclaimed, “The dirty bastards are shaking us down.”) Out of the presence of the jury, Herbert Stern, who tried the case for the Government, said of Giles, “I assume that he expects when he finishes testifying to go back and continue to be vice-president of Colonial.” There was at least one humorous moment. Stern took William Fallow through two step-by-step reviews of the episode in which he got $20,000 in small bills from Basil Licklider, his fellow Bechtel employee, counted it out on a

directorships to engineer the sale of Susquehanna assets—the Vanadium stock—to their ally Coen at a fantastic profit to Coen and a serious loss to Susquehanna. Not a single member of the Susquehanna board took any step to alert the stockholders to all this critical information or, except for the calculated strategems of Martin and Thomson, to protest the covert self-dealing taking place on all sides. Wheelock Whitney, owner of 25,000 shares of Susquehanna, was traveling when the $15 offer was

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