July 11, 2002

SCOTT ADAMS says there’s nothing to get excited about in today’s raft of CEO scandals:

But here’s the strangest backwardism of all: People seem surprised that captains of industry are stealing vast amounts of money at every opportunity. Back in our old dimension everyone assumed that C.E.O.’s and C.F.O.’s were weasels. Now it’s big news.

I think it’s useful to put these corporate scandals in perspective. Every employee I ever worked with in my old cubicle-dwelling days was pillaging the company on a regular basis, too. But the quantity of loot was rarely newsworthy. My weasel co-workers were pocketing office supplies, fudging expense reports, using sick days as vacation and engaging in a wide array of work-avoidance techniques.

Most people rationalize this kind of behavior by saying that corporations are evil and so the weasel employees deserve a little extra. The C.E.O.’s and C.F.O.’s aren’t less ethical than employees and stockholders; they’re just more effective.

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