BRIBERY AND EXTORTION IN WORLD BUSINESS by Neil H.; Peter Nehemkis & Richard Fells Jacoby
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A thought-provoking treatise on a legacy of Watergate: exposure of overseas payoffs by American business. The authors, all professors at top graduate business schools (UCLA and Columbia), address themselves to the grays as well as to the blacks and whites of this ethical quandary. Graft, they observe, is among the ""institutionalized facts of international business."" Just how culpable American business may be, for adapting to commercial realities in offshore markets is a very open question, in the authors' view; and they point out that the press and politicians have failed to make adequate distinctions between bribery and extortion. Citing the case of Whirlpool, which had to close down its operations in France, they maintain that companies bucking the system risk being cut off from contracts and trade opportunities. Stateside, there are hazards as well, since federal agencies like the SEC, IRS, and FTC have overstepped traditional bounds of their regulatory authority in becoming arbiters of business behavior. But while forced disclosures of the foreign activities of ITT, Lockheed, United Brands, Exxon, Gulf, and other lesser lights have attracted banner headlines, the authors judge that on a statistical basis overseas payoffs are not sufficiently widespread to justify a general condemnation of Western business practices. Nonetheless corruption is not to be condoned: apart from violating the basic principles of democratic government, it impairs the efficiency of market economies. The authors conclude by suggesting: ""The world does not need a US moral gendarmerie; it needs leadership in a movement to bring global business/government behavior into closer conformity with universally accepted standards of probity."" For innocents abroad or at home, this book provides a well-researched and refreshingly non-rhetorical inquiry into the anomalies of commerce's darker side.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Macmillan