The Appearance of Impropriety

Overview

For two decades, Americans have engaged in a vast campaign to clean up our ethical act in politics, in the workplace, and in local communities. We have crafted a mountain of regulations, created vast networks of committees and consultants, and become accustomed to speaking of such taboos as "conflicts of interest" and "the appearance of impropriety." Perhaps one statistic says it best: Corporations currently spend over $1 billion per year on ethics consultants. Yet at the same time, our confidence that ...
See more details below
Paperback
$17.99
BN.com price
(Save 9%)$19.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $3.70   
  • New (7) from $13.53   
  • Used (7) from $3.70   
Sending request ...

Overview

For two decades, Americans have engaged in a vast campaign to clean up our ethical act in politics, in the workplace, and in local communities. We have crafted a mountain of regulations, created vast networks of committees and consultants, and become accustomed to speaking of such taboos as "conflicts of interest" and "the appearance of impropriety." Perhaps one statistic says it best: Corporations currently spend over $1 billion per year on ethics consultants. Yet at the same time, our confidence that politicians and businesspeople will "do the right thing" has dropped to an all-time low. Our ethics efforts have failed. As Peter Morgan and Glenn Reynolds entertainingly and devastatingly describe, we have made legitimate ethical concerns into absurd standards, and wielded our moral whims like dangerous weapons. The Appearance of Impropriety offers a bracing antidote for executives, group leaders, and anyone in public life: A reminder of some basic rules of good conduct that must be taken back from the pundits and bureaucrats that surround us.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A cautionary lesson, now grown dismayingly familiar, about well-intended reforms producing unintended bad results.

Ever since the "Big Bang"—the moral cataclysm of Vietnam and Watergate two decades ago—the US has promulgated the most far- reaching ethics-reform measures in its history, affecting government, business, science, and the scholarly community, according to Morgan and Reynolds (a D.C. attorney and a law professor at the Univ. of Tennessee, respectively). Yet, despite the passage of laws such as the 1978 Ethics in Government Act, cynicism about institutions has spread rather than diminished. The authors attribute much of this morass to reformers' mistake in focusing not on actual impropriety but on the appearance of impropriety, an appropriate standard for ensuring judicial impartiality but not for other settings where such neutrality is elusive. The result is "a story of the substitution of appearances for substance, of technicalities for judgment, of opportunism for self-discipline." Among ethics controversies covered here are the scientific fraud charges against Nobel laureate Dr. David Baltimore and a colleague; Stanford University's accounting overcharges related to federal research grants; and Whitewater. Some conclusions are debatable (e.g., in criticizing costs incurred by independent counsels, the authors fail to note that many result from delaying tactics used by executive-branch targets). Many readers will also wish for deeper coverage of such fields as medicine and religion. However, reformers will be troubled by many implications of the regulations discussed here, including the ensnaring of ordinary citizens in the net of the government; apathy; and loopholes that enable politicians to circumvent rules.

While too single-minded in its conclusions (haven't these ethics codes done any good?), this analysis offers disturbing reminders that ethicists need to think through the full consequence of their new rules.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743242660
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2002
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 0.65 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)