Sign up for email alerts, from breaking news to weekly commentary:
A sham for Wal-Mart's scam
First, the corruption. Then, the cover-up. And now, a sham to cover-up the cover-up.
This is the ongoing saga of the sorry state of corporate morality at the highest levels of Wal-Mart. Since 2002, the global retailing goliath has brazenly violated America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by doling out some $24 million in bribes to gain control of Mexico's retail market. For years, top executives (including the CEO and a former-CEO) conspired to cover-up Wal-Mart's butt-ugly corruption, but a New York Times exposé has now stripped them naked.
Shamelessly displaying their usual hubris, however, the executives have launched a PR campaign to convince us that Emperor Wal-Mart remains covered in robes of exquisite ethics. Even if the corruption charge is true, says a dissembling corporate spokesman, "it is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for."
Oh? Who does he mean by "we?" Wal-Mart is defined by the top executives and board members who make corporate policy (and who conducted and covered up the flagrantly-illegal acts). Yet they want us to believe that someone else is responsible for staining "what we stand for." Perhaps those nice "greeters" at their megastores are the guilty ones.
For a measure of who and what Wal-Mart really is, look no further than its post-exposé scramble to set up a brand-spanking new, top-level legal compliance office. "Ethics R us," it now claims! After the scandal broke, Wal-Mart announced that an executive officer will henceforth make sure Wal-Mart employees obey the law.
What a sham! First, Wal-Mart's employees aren't the problem, its so-called leaders are; second, if top executives don't know (or care) that bribery is unethical, an ethics office will be as worthless as a jello doorstop; and third, who exactly do they think they're fooling?
"Wal-Mart Vows to Fix Its Controls," The New York Times, April 25, 2012.
"With Wal-Mart Claims, Greater Attention on a Law," www.nytimes.com, April 25, 2012.
"Wal-Mart Hushed Up a Vast Mexican Bribery Case," www.nytimes.com, April 21, 2012.