Is Wall Street Reform Truly the Answer?

Photo credit: Marcelo Terraza

Back in 1933, Congress passed the New Deal legislation under Franklin Delano Roosevelt to pull the country out of the Great Depression.  75 years later, Congress again is passing legislation to pull the country out of the Great Recession.  75 years in the future, it leaves me with a thought of what will Congress be passing then?  Obviously we couldn’t get it right in 1933 as we are required to make a second attempt in 2008, 75 years from now, will we have a third?

From the outside looking in, it appears that we have business leaders who do not have the capacity to govern themselves and their businesses.  We as a society are now relying on the government to place rules and regulations on businesses.  This has led many people now complain about big government, but big government would not be required if our schools and society taught business leaders what is and what isn’t appropriate in a way to where the learning will stick!  In my opinion, big government is required when we have those in society who are not willing to take on community responsibility or to behave in a responsibly way.  I am prone to ponder many thoughts.  What does this mean for a society that is not able to control its own peoples to where the governing institution has to create more rules and regulations?  What about society that is not willing to take on community responsibility roles that the governing institution has to make up the difference?  Why do we find ourselves as a country in this spot again of such deep dark economic down turn?  Where have we gone wrong in teaching our business leaders ethics that stick?  Where have we failed as a society to support people to speak up when they see someone or something in err?

While passing laws and regulations and stimulus programs seems to be the solution that everyone jumps on the band wagon, to me, these are only temporary fixes to a bigger problem.  I am thankful that we have a government that is wiling to step in and fill in the gap where society as a whole refuses to take on that responsibility.  But let’s look at these things a few steps deeper.  What have we not learned from mistake number one in 1933 that karma is requiring for us to repeat again during mistake number two in 2008?

These two large events, Great Depression and Great Recession, have finally gain the attention of MBA programs to now review how ethics are taught and make some adjustments to course curriculum.  In speaking with several of my learning friends, I have been told that during this economic downturn, businesses have finally understood the need to continue to teach and develop their leaders.  Businesses are now beginning to ask the question, are my people ethical and responsible?  How do we ensure our associates retain the learning that we provide them?  A unique question still comes to my mind; do businesses need a “check & balance” system like our federal government?  Tell me what are your opinions of what we may learn from the Great Depression and Great Recession to avoid another Great Downfall 75 years from now?


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