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In Business, Numbers Don't Lie, People Do

November 22, 2002

Re "What Does It Profit a Man to Gain an MBA?" Commentary, Nov. 18: Thomas Lindsay's argument seems to be that if we teach our MBAs more ethics in business school they will behave themselves. Would he apply that same logic to a wave of rapes, child molestations or carjackings? In those cases, most people would want swift justice for the current offenders and stiffer laws to deter future criminals. Only after both of those were in place would they try to fix the moral fiber of potential offenders.

At boot camp, my drill instructor said if our stuff was stolen because we left it unprotected, we'd made an honest man a thief. Deregulation has done the same thing in the business world.

To someone whose whole focus in life is making money, picking someone else's pocket is too irresistible if it's legal -- or if through a few well-placed political contributions can be made legal. As long as the Bushies are in the White House, though, the only solution to corporate carjacking will be more driver's education.

Michael J. Dixon

Santa Monica


Lindsay asks why some at Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing weren't able to muster the moral courage to say "Stop" to the executives engaged in unethical behavior. The answer is very simple: It is the culture of greed and hubris perpetuated by the MBA schools over the past several years.

Instead of teaching the technical fundamentals of business operations and the virtues of social responsibility, these institutions have been peddling the false notion of creating corporate leaders. The reality is that leadership is an innate human quality that cannot be taught. Similarly, morals and ethical behavior are rooted in our value system, which an MBA curriculum would not be able to influence.

Paul Gill


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