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Monday, June 14, 2004

This Mortal Coil

If you're anything like me, dear readers, when you see a headline like "Death Plunge Over Rotten Dumplings," you just have to look at it.

Turns out the article is about the head of a food manufacturing company in Korea who committed suicide by jumping off a bridge after it was discovered that his company and several others were using rotten ingredients in their dumplings. (I guessed before looking that the article was about Japan; turns out I was off a little.)

I don't want to sound like I'm in favor of suicide, but can you imagine an American CEO doing something like this, no matter what his or her company did?

Instead he would find someone, anyone, else to blame. Maybe he'd pay some token, slap-on-the-wrist fine, and if it was bad enough, cool his heels for a few months in a Club Fed. Someone else would have to clean up after the mess, preferrably the taxpayer. (Ever notice how in this country, even more than others, we privatize success and socialize failure?)

We don't really know what this person's motivations were, but I think we might be a lot better off as a society if the head of a company who did something like this didn't want to show his face in town anymore. Not because I like the idea of CEOs offing themselves in dramatic fashion, mind you, but because I'd rather see less business malfeasance in the first place.



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