American culture applauds those who will do anything to make it to the top. The past few decades have seen success redefined in terms of more wealth and power than ever before. The deification of top earners, and an acceptance of life without limits, has helped pave the way for the eventual corruption of the corporate system. Corrupted by greed and driven by self-interest, those who had reached the pinnacle levels of success felt justified to venture beyond integrity, forgoing compassion and scruples, in search of profit. They were above the law - that is, until they were caught. Permission to Steal begins much-needed reflection upon the disgraces that have taken place right under our noses. This succint book explores what went wrong in recent corporate disgraces,among them the Enron, Arthur Andersen, and WorldCom scandals, and advocates a universal reassessment of what is considered "good" in corporate America so that we won't again fall victim to corporate thieves.
Lisa H. Newton is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in Applied Ethics at Fairfield University. She is the author of numerous articles and books in business ethics, and most recently published Business Ethics and the Natural Environment (Blackwell, 2004).