“There’s No Such Thing As Business Ethics,” a book by John C. Maxwell, notes three big scandals, focusing on the white collar crimes by Enron, Adelphia Communications, and Tyco. The author has clearly made the statement that particular cases of fraud show even more damage to business ethics. He begins in a very matter-of-fact yet informal tone that evaluates major ethics violations. His first task is the most famous of them all: Enron. For those unfamiliar, he notes that on November 1, 2001, Enron, confessed to accounting performances which caused inflation in Enron’s income. Over a four year period, they inflated their income by $586 million. After this, Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As if this wasn’t enough, executives knew about the company’s status. They used this information to sell more than $1 billion of their own shares in the company while encouraging their employees to hold on to their shares.
The next topic Maxwell reviews in his book is the financial misguidance by Adelphia Communications. He uncovers how Adelphia Communications broadcasted financial problems. This broadcast took place on March 27, 2002. John Rigas-the founder of the company-and his sons were soon after accused of using the company assets as collateral for their own personal loans used for family projects, for private purchases, all of which totaled $3.1 billion. It wasn’t until after Rigas was removed that the company had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Conclusively, he reports that on June 3, 2002, Adelphia was taken from NASDAQ, bearing with the conclusion a sense of repugnant disdain for the corrupt relationships these businesses have formed.
His last major review for the sake of white collar crime took place on the same day when Dennis Kozlowski, CEO of Tyco, was charged by the district attorney of Manhattan. He had evaded over $1 million in sales tax on things such as artwork and personal items purchased with company money, approximating $600 million taken from the company. Maxwell leaves the only the facts for the reader to understand, alleviating any purple prose, as his topic needs none. He uses additional data from sources such as Time magazine. In their July, 22, 2002 publication they provided statistics that supported America’s mistrust toward the increasing number of companies who were deceiving their employees and the general public through white collar crime.
Taking into consideration GBX Codex Standards, the author leaves the reader with the understanding that these specific scandals show violation of the second and fifth principles, the transparency and citizenship principles. We know that there are attempts to rip off, not just individuals through private fraud and embezzlement schemes, but massive numbers of stockholders in supposedly legitimate operations. Beyond that, business executives violate transparency by concealing these schemes and citizenship by lying and resisting government investigation, which was particularly evident in the Enron case. Therefore, we are forced to agree with the upsetting truth that Maxwell reveals about white collar crime: it is despicable and must be stopped.