This post contains my personal, instant reflections on the AAA Ethics Symposium panel “Professional ethics: a map or a compass?”, which took place in Atlanta on 3 August. The event was filmed, and a more detailed writeup, including video, will follow in due course.
“People get confused”
Walt Pavlo (adjunct professor at Endicott College’s Van Loan School and a Forbes writer) pointed out that many newspaper write-ups of fraud stories tend to sensationalise the cases. But most frauds aren’t bad people doing bad things. Rather, they’re good people making bad choices because they get confused. We shouldn’t celebrate the fact that we’re not “bad”; but should remain vigilant to threats to our integrity from making bad choices in trying to do good things. Though this isn’t easy. Pavlo said he had asked Scott London, former KPMG partner, what KPMG could have done to stop his insider trading. “Nothing”, he replied