Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Morally and Ethically Impaired

I propose we establish a categorical term for individuals evidencing morally and ethically impaired behavior. We can refer to them by the acronym “MEI,” pronounced “me,” that ironically reflects their primary orientation.

MEIs have not been formally identified as a subculture in our nation, but they have increasingly come to the forefront. Recently, their actions have so blatantly adversely affected our financial world that I think we need to acknowledge and formally recognize this group’s existence, so we can provide the attention they deserve.

MEIs tend to secretiveness, deceit and exploitation of other human beings so can be difficult to expose. Their morals and ethics are self-oriented and directed toward only themselves, plus a selected few others with whom they are emotionally entangled or whose favor they curry. MEIs really do not care what happens to the rest of us, rather like sociopaths.

In recent years, unlike any other era in our lifetime, circumstances are forcing these MEIs into the spotlight of public scrutiny. We need to take note of who they are and aggressively seek to identify others like them. I want them held accountable publicly and professionally. Furthermore, I want some restitution from their undeserved financial gains as individuals, companies and financial institutions.

We need to initiate some behavioral changes in these MEIs. I’d like to believe this group is beginning to have trouble thriving during these difficult times. Perhaps they’re having serious adjustment problems since we are more frequently condemning their MEI behaviors. I think it’s increasingly obvious that if we do not intervene with these individuals our own lives will continue to be seriously disrupted as will our nation’s and the world’s economy.

I’ve pondered whether a MEI education process could succeed and just how to undertake such a therapeutic intervention. I’ve wondered if MEIs would respond to a story such as The Nation of Moresville, a morality tale I thought of writing. The story would start like this. Once upon a time there was a nation populated by people who constantly wanted more – more food, more possessions and more money. Some of their number were willing to acquire more in any way possible without regard for moral and ethical considerations. Well, I think we all could easily write how that story unfolds.

I would want MEIs to know that through the years not everyone became obsessed with those pursuits, though admit clearly some of us have. I would strongly emphasize that we’re all finally reaping the consequences of these behaviors in one way or another regardless of whether or not we were irrationally and excessively materialistic. I would want them to reflect on their own behaviors.

Also, I would want to provide MEIs graphic specific examples stressing that for some the current financial crisis results are severe as the unemployed ranks grow, people lose their homes, and young people see their dreams of college evaporate. Visiting homes where refrigerators are bare and many other necessities of life are absent from the lives of young and old might register with some MEIs. I would like to believe this exposure might have some positive benefits.

Such true life situations have been on TV and in the news, but despite this exposure, it seems many of these fellow countrypersons are deaf, dumb and blind to the economic state of our country and even the world. These are the MEIs, some of whom are literally giving us all the finger while simultaneously pleading for us to save their companies, then gleefully accepting our tax monies while skimming huge bites for bonuses.

I’m sorely tempted to write for the MEIs about how morality, ethics and greed have intertwined to threaten the financial stability of not just our nation but the world, but I doubt they would read it. If only I could force each of them to write on that topic. Wiser heads and better writers than I are busily exploring these issues with powerful eloquent words that pinpoint the issues. At best, anything I might say would simply echo what so many others are expressing. Yet, I cannot resist making note of my anger, frustration and sadness that so many individuals have betrayed basic human values.

There are only so many of others reactionary accounts I can make time to read, much less write about. I derive little pleasure in reading the same basic complaints everywhere as they become depressingly enraging, but I believe it’s important that we each state our objections. Our written voices must be an ongoing ripple that contributes to a tidal wave creating a tsunami that allows our views to be known. Hopefully, many ears and eyes in a position to take corrective actions will receive our messages and rectify the situation.

Our Congressional Representatives and Senators and other key government administration figures need to be ongoing recipients of our views. We must continue pressuring and demanding – accountability, Accountability, ACCOUNTABILITY!

Just when I think the most gross individual exploitations have been exposed, another story emerges. I greet each new week with great apprehension, wondering what next and how many more MEIs will surface?

I think of the Savings and Loan Crisis many years ago, then there was Enron and the MEIs there. Years later, closer to home I recall more MEIs and the monies stolen from California via the electrical grids – how little our government did to correct that inequity. The words still ring in my ears from one of the morally bankrupt electrical grid workers whose company (probably his own wallet, too) financially benefited from out of control destructive forest fires. He was recorded gleefully shouting “Burn, baby, burn,” though these fires endangered lives in addition to power lines. I guess you know where I hope he will spend any afterlife if he believes in such, or maybe he could have a taste of hardship here and now. Perhaps some MEIs from all of those groups and the current individuals surfacing need to share a few life difficulties with him.

Meanwhile, I’m not convinced our government is loaning my tax money to some of these MEIs at a rate designed to maximize the U.S. Treasury’s return over that of those doing the borrowing. I want some accountability on that issue, too.


  1. Excellent post, Jo!!!!!! What you have said here is right on and to the point. We need to demand that these MEIs be accountable. I'm trying to figure out when morals and ethics went out of style. And I'm not even going to mention the word 'honor'. I think it died a long time.

  2. Jo, you need to submit this to a national newspaper! Excellent article.

  3. Yes, but even if we assign blame and make these people pay we're still stuck with the huge mess they have made. It may be that as in the Soviet Union, the old will pay the highest price for this ecomonic collapse, especially old women.

  4. I very much like the ideas expressed here but like sex-offenders, I'm not sure MEI's can be rehabilitated. They are very clever in their own way. But I do think when the evidence is clear and they end up in court, and continue to lie under oath, we should be able to pull out their fingernails by the roots one by one, and sear their flesh with branding irons.

  5. Kay: I, too,wonder what happened to honor.

    Kenju: Thanks for your praise. Lots of good articles in print about the frustration so many of us feel.

    Hattie: The price we all pay is much too high. I agree the old and the weak are especially victimized.

    Roberta: You're probably correct the MEIs can't be rehabilitated, unfortunately. Don't you think the response you propose to their anticipated court behavior is just a wee bit too weak and mild considering the damage they've caused???

  6. The Robber Barons have returned with a vengeance. I think the return of greed began with the Reagan administration and the relaxations or repeals of oversight of the banking and insurance companies. The same players reared their ugly heads in the Bush administration and they further eliminated any checks and balances that might have headed off the unfolding disaster. I think we all want justice. Sadly, I doubt that we will get it.