I found the link to this article on Fark.com. The contributor of the article implied that because Enron and Worldcom were located in the South (and connected to prominent Southern policitians), they have a tendency for being more corrupt. While I believe this is a fallacious conclusion that is not at all implied by the author of the article, I think that the idea of linking conservative politics with current corporate ethics is an interesting one.
I think the greatest problem is the fact that, to the modern corporate executive, stock price is everything. Anything that can be done to increase the bottom line and raise the stock price can and will be done. We've seen this in well-publicised mass layoffs and the current allegations of bad accounting. As Will Hutton states, "Everything should and must be pro-market, pro-business and pro-shareholder, a policy platform lubricated by colossal infusions of corporate cash into America's money-dominated political system."
De-regulation is also a big problem. Government policies that allow companies to go unchecked have led us in part to the current scandals. The wave of corporate mergers in the last 20 years are also a result of massive deregulation. Loss of jobs and competition inevitably result from these mergers, and studies have shown that the result on the companies bottom-line is often negative as well. Look at AOL/Time-Warner for example. The two combined companies are worth less now than they were before they merged.
The author also refers to the 1996 Telecommunications Act as being a result of massive corporate contributions. Worldcom has risen to it's current position because of this act (which it had lobbied hard for). And let's not forget Clear Channel, whose mass aquisitions of radio and media would not have been possible without this legislation.
The article is admittedly written from a European socialist point of view. But despite it's leftist slant which may turn off some observers, I think this paragraph sums it all up nicely:
"Great wealth and opportunity have been the privilege of the few. As the scandals unfold, ordinary Americans are left naturally concerned about the integrity of their pensions and the viability of their insurance companies. The structures that support ordinary peoples' lives - free health care, quality education, guarantees of reasonable living standards in old age, sickness or unemployment, housing for the disadvantaged - that Europeans take for granted are conspicuous by their absence. Mainstream America has been told that its threadbare and neglected social contract is the price it must pay for opportunity, liberty and wealth creation."
Andresky-Fraser's book repeatedly recounts tales of employees who had to put in long hours, neglect their families, and suffer from stress and health problems only to later be downsized by cost-cutting CEO's. To rephrase that last sentence, sacrificing our families, our health, and our financial security in the name of corporate profits is the price we must pay for opportunity, liberty and wealth creation. Is this really the type of country we want to live in?