Over the past several years we have seen more corporate corruption than I would have ever guessed possible. I, along with lots of folks, are asking, how could this sort of thing have gone on for so long without the bad guys being caught? A most interesting article appeared in the December 1980 issue of Fortune Magazine entitled “How Lawless are Big Companies?” that should have alerted government regulators to serious problems in Corporate America. The opening paragraph of that article should have gotten the attention of the heads of the federal and state agencies that are supposed to be regulating the activities of Corporate America in a number of important areas. The following is what the author had to say way back in 1980:
Crime in the executive suites has come to command media attention of a sort formerly reserved for ax murders. An abundance of anecdotal evidence about corrupt practices – commercial bribery, price-rigging schemes, fraud against customers – has led critics of business to charge that far more crime exists than has come to light. Defenders of business, on the other hand, argue that the well-publicized episodes are aberrations, totally untypical of the way corporate America operates.
How did it come about that Fortune magazine published one of the earliest mainstream exposes about corporate crime? Well for starters, a gentleman named Philip Mattera had something to do with it. Mattera is now one of Washington’s premiere corporate investigators. He currently heads the Corporate Research Project at Good Jobs First and is the man behind the Dirt Diggers Digest blog. Back in 1980, however, Mattera was just a young researcher at Fortune magazine. He was assigned by the editors at the magazine to do a story about corporate crime. It was believed that the problem was small in scope at that time and wouldn’t amount to much. But Mattera, through his research, learned that the real problem was not in the smaller companies, but instead was in the very large corporations.
Mattera went on to write four books about corporate power. He worked for Ray Rogers at Corporate Campaign in New York. Mattera then moved from New York to Washington where he spent a year at Kroll. And then he settled down at Good Jobs First. His current blog – Dirt Diggers Digest – gives tips to activists researching corporate wrongdoing. He has also published on his web site one of the best corporate research papers – “How to Do Corporate Research Online.” Mattera routinely breaks news stories about corporate crime, corporate power and its control. He is also active in the Business Ethics Network – an umbrella group of corporate campaigners – and is well known in the board room of major U.S. corporations. Mattera had this to say about the public image that large corporations attempt to show:
Corporations now like to give the impression that they are socially responsible. It has become the fashion for companies to brag about that. But I’m very skeptical about these corporate social responsibility claims. At the very least, there is inconsistency.
When you think back to some of the “good deeds” performed by some very large corporations, you will realize they were among the worst when it comes to corporate wrongdoing. Mattera says we are at “an unusual time now where companies are trying to pretend that they are enlightened and benevolent.” But he says when you look below the surface, “much of the misbehavior is continuing.” That’s why the research is so important to debunk the greenwashing and the other misleading public relations efforts we are constantly bombarded with.
We need more folks like Mattera who have the ability to dig deeply into the vast operations of Corporate America. We have seen shocking examples of corporate abuse and wrongdoing over the past several years. It was unfortunate that government regulators ignored all of the early warning signs and failed to do their job. The GOP lines of smaller government, too much regulation and a free market have resulted in an almost total collapse of our nation’s economic system.
Source: Corporate Crime Reporter
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.