Why am I not surprised that Facebook's top notch public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, pitched false stories claiming Google was invading people’s privacy? I am sad to say it, but that is the sorry state of American business ethics.
We live in a time when it's OK to sell homes to people who can't afford them. Lending freely and aggressively to unqualified borrowers who were doomed to foreclosure as the variable rates on their mortgages kicked upward. When it's hunky dory for these loans to be bundled and sold as bonds to both large and small investors. OK for the major bond rating firms to rate these bonds highly without really looking (wink, wink). For investment bankers to hawk these like used car salesmen. Except that these used car salesmen were making millions in bonuses. Then, when the hammer drops, they force -- not ask -- the taxpayer to prop up this house of cards.
We actually reward greed, error, mismanagement and, in some cases, out-and-out corruption. With few exceptions these fine folks are back in business, lined up like hogs at the feed trough. CEO pay is higher than ever, bonuses are back, and all is good at the country club. Except, of course, for the wrecked pension plans, the average American investor's life savings and the unemployed by the thousands.
What does this have to do with Idea Elevator? Everything. When we quit making money on real initiative, invention and production, we are done. When free enterprise only allows “members of the club” to really participate in the deals, we are in double trouble. When we reward those who screwed up it is deplorable. It is not al-Qaeda that frightens me, it’s the guys in the suits who are putting my country at risk.