The questions we posed over the past week evoked sharply different answers from our readers. One way or another, all revolved around what might be called big-guy-vs.-little-guy issues.
As the Occupy Wall Street Protests gathered steam, we posed the question of whether they mattered—and, if so, how. Reader Jared Schulman was dismissive:
With less wealth, they’re looking for a scapegoat, and since ‘Wall Street’ has wealth, they’re pointing fingers there…Do the protests matter? Not really, and thank goodness they don’t, because they’re terribly uninformed.
Reader Maverick18 said no, not uninformed, just misdirected:
The protests stand for mass frustration with the Government’s failure with respect to a coherent economic policy. …. The protestors, unfortunately, are marching or sitting in on Wall Street, when they should be doing so at the US Capital.
When we posted that Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman had written in Bloomberg Businessweek online about Raymond Gilmartin, who was chief executive of the drug maker Merck during the Vioxx scandal, readers were skeptical of Gilmartin’s call to “renew and restore faith in corporations and capitalism.”
Reader Arjun Chandrasekhar doubted it would happen anytime soon:
Who is going to promote people with strong character, when the top lacks it? These values can only move from the top down, and for somebody with these values to be able to get to the top, our society must first change.
And reader Linda Fishman was even grimmer:
Vioxx killed tens of thousands of people, and Gilmartin gets published in HBR. Troy Davis probably was innocent of killing one person and was executed. That’s the real difference between one poor person and one wealthy corporate CEO.
Finally, we turned the spotlight on one of our biggest corporations, Bank of America, which had been getting heat for announcements of a $5 monthly debit-card fee. How much censure did BofA really deserve?
Reader rasih saw the need for a scolding:
The sad thing is that companies who act like this—not asking themselves Peter Drucker’s three major questions: 1. What business are we in? 2. Who is your customer? 3. What does the customer consider value?—dig their own grave.
Reader Luzia saw much ado about nothing:
I don’t think Bank of America deserves scolding, I think this outcry is an overreaction. If I don’t like to pay for a service I change the establishment.
According to reader Ryan, we’ve been ignoring an important factor:
Bank of America is responding to government’s overregulation. … As far as Peter Drucker’s comments about business, it seems that those might be relevant for business in general, but when government starts throwing monkey wrenches into the mix, all normal business rules are out the window.
And reader K Major said consider the history:
I don’t think this would be as much of an issue if Bank of America’s reputation in general weren’t already severely tarnished and tainted by past behavior.…Perhaps the silver lining will be that smaller regional or community-based banks will see an increase in business as customers make other choices.[/EXPAND]