Elon Musk has to step down from being Tesla Inc. chairman and pay a $20 million penalty to settle fraud charges as reported by Bloomberg 30 Sept 2018. It seems that he is joining the other conglomerate multi-billionaires league who manipulate the system for financial gains. It might be a quick win for monetary benefits obtained from stock price fluctuation compared with $40 Million fine.
There is always a dilemma in business ethics with it comes to giant corporations. Let me mentioned few. Mark Zuckerberg was disciplined for hacking into the university server to upload users profile for his “Facebook.” I spent almost one year to develop a mobile social platform which won’t’ be accepted by investors unless 40 thousand users transactions. Cambridge Analytica case added a concern about Facebook privacy act where users’ profile could change presidential election results. Steve Jobs did not tell his friend Steve Wozniak the truth about “breakthrout Atari Video Game” actual award amount of $5000 they got leaving Wozniak with $ 350. He thought that he got 50%. The sweatshops supplying Nike and Kathie Lee Gifford came to the world’s attention when the factory collapsed causing death to 700 workers because of poor suppliers working conditions. The dark side of chocolate when exploitation and slavetrading of African children to harvest chocolate is still happening. The Volkswagen emissions scandal. The Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff, the former NASDAQ Chairman and founder of the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Enron and Arther Anderson Auditors who cooked it up. Wallmart exploitation case of immigrates. I can name many big names as I go.
Some might debate that these corporations bring development to economies and people. Engaging in mutually beneficial transactions is better than not transacting at all even if it results in slave trading, immoral working condition, fraud, and/or bribery. “The Exploitation Paradox” Explains how governments turn a blind eye, and people fight for it. Think about it. Which is better: to let a child works for long hours a day, or to starve the whole family? My answer to that is: I am not quite sure that people need such a growth dipped in a dirty swamp by adopting the Machiavelli approach “ the End Justifies the Mean.”
I admire Elon Musk for many reasons. For articulating his interests in helping people, investing form his pocket in projects he believes in rather than taking debts, for not being interested in publishing patents, and for all the futuristic projects he is introducing. But now, after hearing the news, It is a shift in my logic, philosophy, and understanding of how ethical business should be. It is a total irony because I have secured a research grant to investigate his assumed unique leadership style.
To be objective, I must meet him to inquire about his motives or wait to hear from him addressing the public about it. I need to know the justification. As a matter of fact, I do not have any option. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I might even go far to state that the conspiracy theory is behind what is going on. He might have touched on some industries which belong to the big people!. Otherwise, I will be no longer interested in pursuing my research since my faith in those public figures is declining. I hope he is not just another guy.