“As the Bible says, we need to get past the time when ‘Each man does as is righteous in his own eyes.’ No enterprise (excluding patient care) ever, ever grew or succeeded as a result of pure righteousness. Usually success is propelled by greed, envy, or both. I thought you knew that.”

Dr. Robert N. Taub in an e-mail to a colleague as Dr. Taub was experiencing frustration in his quest for funding from Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly. Dr. Taub testified yesterday in the Silver corruption trial. Dr. Taub referred mesothelioma cancer patients to Mr. Silver’s law firm (yes, asbestos cases, which have trained three generations of lawyers now). The law firm refused to give Dr. Taub’s cancer center money, but Mr. Silver saw to it that Dr. Taub’s center got a $500,000 state research grant.

When that money ran out, the law firm still got Taub referrals, but the center got not money, so Dr. Taub also wrote in the same e-mail, “I will keep giving cases to Shelly because I may need him in the future — he is the most powerful man in New York State.”

Doc, you did not read the scriptures carefully. Dr. Taub did not cite chapter and verse in his testimony, but there are three possibilities:

Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”
Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.”
Judges 21: 25 “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was bright in his own eyes.”

The good doctor seemed to miss perhaps the most important parts in all three verses. in the first two, that all-important concept of eventual judgment went by the wayside. We all think better of our actions than perhaps they really are. Our judgment, however, is not the final word. The Lord knows what was in our hearts. Greed is not something the Lord seems to want in our hearts, regardless of the altruism of cancer research efforts.

In the last verse, the other part of the scripture is the warning of a lawless society. When we all do what we want, we lose the civil society. Israel certainly did. New York is on that path, suffering from corruption in the highest offices.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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