Shady Business

Confronting Corporate Corruption

Irwin Ross
Release Date: October 1, 1992

In the 1980s we heard, “greed is good.” We were told that greed lubricates the engines of capitalism. Each of us pursuing our own economic interest helps to create a society in which all of us are better off. Better off meaning, in this case, that we have more money, more goods, more of what we want. And all because we said yes to that impulse to want more in the first plane. It is an idea almost elegant in its simplicity.

But in the 1990s we have discovered that religious faith in capitalism alone would not make all of us, after all, better off. We have been reminded of the need to set limits in where our pursuit of self-interest might take us. We create rules: zoning regulations, liquor licensees, securities laws, and fiduciary responsibilities. We rely upon a web of limits and obligations designed to control the consequences of unbridled greed.

In this intriguing and profound assessment of today’s corporate greed, Irwin Ross looks deep into the men, women, and billionaires who run American corporations and their need for achievement and wealth at the expense of the American people. The findings in this book show how many of our business leaders are willing to risk sanctions, fines, and federal investigations as they push the limit to create more profits, more capital, and more wealth in this period of corporate want and personal greed.