A recent poll by the Knights of Columbus and the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion found that 76 percent of Americans and 58 percent of top-level business executives think the moral compass of corporate America is pointing in the wrong direction.
Fifty-two percent of Americans assign corporate America a grade of D or F for its honesty and ethical conduct. At the same time, however, less than half of Americans – 43 percent – think that government should play a major role in upholding high ethical standards in business.
There is no question that the actions of large financial institutions have contributed to the corporate failures and the credit crunch that have followed the collapse of the housing market. Would more-ethical behavior by financial-institution executives have made a difference?