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Simplify Business Laws to Restore Trust

October 14, 2002

Re "Right and Wrong Shouldn't Be Guesswork," Commentary, Oct. 9: John Balzar is timely and on target in calling for a blue-ribbon commission to reform and update our laws and regulations governing basic honesty in business. I am referring here to laws that mandate full disclosure, transparency, accountability and simple truthfulness. Lying in business has become obsolete and can be safely outlawed.

Capitalism thrives on transparency and factual truth, which underlie trust, which is the basis of trade. The ubiquity and speed of information today make lying in business apparent, counterproductive, dangerous and just plain foolish; it also makes business disclosure and oversight practicable.

As a society, we have made great progress toward achieving full mass democracy, and, numerically, we are about halfway there to achieving mass capitalism. We are ready now to mandate full disclosure in our business activities. As investors in mass capitalism, it is in our capitalistic self-interest to demand pure, "fair" capitalism, which requires not simply the absence of lying but also the presence of full disclosure, democratic participation, effective oversight and swift and sure justice. It may take awhile to bring just the right measure of these modern concepts to business, but the blue-ribbon commission process that Balzar recommends is an excellent place to begin.

Robert M. Beard

Newport Beach

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Balzar is absolutely right about making the language in laws more straightforward. However, as long as lawyers make laws, there is little chance of that happening. Lawyers draft vague and poorly worded laws to keep their brethren employed suing and defending citizens caught up in the legal ambiguities. It's legal job insurance.

Donald J. Prado

Valencia

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