Big Business and Honesty in Dealings

Read a news article today about one of our big businesses that has been banned by the World Bank for dodgy dealings. Is this a sign of lax laws here, of the changing of our moral fibre, of the power of the dollar over good ethics? What should we be doing here to these companies?

Anyway for the news article here is the link:

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I’ve never done deals in Asia/etc personally, but I’ve worked for Fortune 100’s that have/do and worked directly with people who have worked on and closed very big deals in some of these countries. These same companies, including the one I work for now, endlessly push the public facing profile of standards in business conduct/ethics and train us incessantly in same, while at the same time stories of deals won and lost at the cost of kickbacks and bribes are commonplace without any exaggeration … I’d go so far as to ask whether it is actually ‘wrong’ in the context of these countries? All to often we ‘judge other people by our own standards’ - but our standards are just and only that, ‘our standards’ - are they right? wrong? or just ours?

I’m not saying it’s right, by Australian standards, but when in Rome ?

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It isn’t right by our standards but back room deals are cut all the time. We, the consumers, suffer when this occurs and hopefully the ACCC track them down and prosecute, except, it seems, for Petrol pricing. I can remember some freight charges collusion that got caught and the Australian Currency issue (Ausnote??).

The World Bank obviously take a dim view of it even when they are in “Rome” as they would not have dealt with SMEC the way they did if they accepted it. Cutting dirty deals does not benefit the normal people it only benefits the rich and the companies that have them as shareholders. It also can lead to very dangerous outcomes where inferior materials and practices are used as part of that deal.

I am just concerned that our business and societal morals are being eroded as these deals are seen as the “proper” way of doing business rather than being seen as dodgy practice and dealt with severely. Do we want to raise our children to see that no matter what you do as long as you don’t get caught or can bribe your way out and you make a greater profit all is OK regardless of the outcomes? If that is the way we want it to go then perhaps the need for Choice and similar organisations is dead and gone and we should just accept what we are given because that’s business. I don’t feel that way, but every little chink eventually adds up to a great hole if something isn’t done to remedy it.

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