Sunday, November 13, 2005

Memo to self: don't write memos

I was the other day reading about a memo from senior Wal-Mart exec.
that was advocating something pretty scummy get done (probably
legally, if not ethically) to the workforce to make a tad more
profit. And just now about the public-schools price fixing fall-out
(which involved compromising e-mails hacked by subsequently expelled
students). These of course come hot on the heels of Ms. Let's-
use-9-11-to-lose-the-bad-news-on-our-trivial-little political-
careers, whoever thought HMS Sheffield didn't need expensive
fireproof conduiting and, of course, the daddy (hey, at least with
the new ones the ladies are breaking through the glass ceiling when
it comes to being corporate weasels) of them all, the some bright
spark (no pun intended) at Ford who figured it was better to let the
Pinto blow up and pay the compo than actually redesign it.

What really beggars belief is that they:

a) Can think such things
b) Write such things
c) Send such things
d) Think they won't get caught out
e) Don't get censured by superiors on the spot
f) Don't lose everything soon thereafter

The answer of course, probably kicks in at 'e'. They do it because
there is a culture at their place of work that will reward
'results' (usually, but not always, profit. Protecting reputations or
defending policy can rate highly, too), to paraphrase and mangle
Ralph Nader, 'at any cost'. The risk is usually, at most, 'looking
bad', which is unlikely to trouble those who can come up with the
notions that pop them, fleetingly (what is Jo Moore doing now?), in
the glare of negative pubilicity.

What also beggars belief is that the organisations who employ such folk:

a) Are so cynical to think they can get away with it, and dumb as to
think that such a culture does anyone any good, especially their own.
b) Survive despite the consequences, along with the individuals at
the heart of it all.

So, ultimately, the fault can only be laid at our own doors. We let
them get away with it.

Life is too short (sadly, our attention spans are even shorter, along
with our thirsts for justice). The world is too small. Genuine (and I
know that can be a tricky one to assess) whistleblowers should keep
their jobs rather than losing them, and weasels should lose their
jobs, including benefits, rather than getting promoted sideways.

Idealistic... moi?