Silly Grins

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scatterthought: From Nomura and Beyond...

The House
of Nomura:
The Inside Story of the World's Most Powerful Company

Apparently, the late Al Alletzhauser was willing to go against the grain in the writing of his book that came out in 1990. On the first page, just inside the cover:

On Monday, lawyers for Nomura in London wrote to Mr. Alletzhauser and his publisher threatening to sue unless they agreed to the immediate withdrawal of the book, payment of a suitable sum in damages, and a public apology.

"This isn't Nazi Germany and I'm not going to withdraw the book simply because they don't like it," said Mr. Alletzhauser..."Anybody who's familiar with the Japanese knows that the book contains one-tenth what it could have." 
                                                                          - Wall Street Journal, March 1, 1990

All of this is old 'news' though. But, there are some bits and pieces of what may be important information, the kind information that can provide an idea of how certain elements in the business world work. 

Even before they become members of the Japanese business community, students are taught that playing by the rules is the path of greatest resistance (184).

This 'understanding' of how the game is often played is not exclusive to any one country. In fact, some could argue that this is the way it is in the US too.

Does that mean that people cheat?
Well, it would appear so...and early on in the game. 

Maybe Richard Quinn was lucky, in a way... because, most of the time, whistle-blowers are the ones who 'get it':
'many whistleblowers report there exists a widespread "shoot the messenger" mentality by corporations or government agencies accused of misconduct...' (from this Wikipedia entry)

Shoot the messenger?!
Hell yes.

In another book, there is a part where a fellow finds out what's really going on in the firm and is literally thrown out by security.

Mr. Brady, an accountant, is an example of how messengers are summarily dealt with. The following is taken from Brain Martin's book review, illustrating exactly what this is about:
Brady was an accountant who found various discrepancies in a company's financial operations. At one stage, "Brady discussed the matter with a close friend, a man who had no defined position but considerable influence in the company and access to the highest circles in the organization. He was Mr. Fixit - a lobbyist, a front man, an all-around factotum, a man who knew how to get things done." This friend took Brady's anonymous memorandum to a meeting of top figures in the corporation. "Immediately after the meeting, Brady's friend was fired and escorted from the building by armed guards." (p. 108). Brady now realised it was the chief executive himself who was fiddling the books. Brady was under suspicion of having written the memo. He eventually presented all his evidence to the company's chief lawyer, who wouldn't touch it. "Right after Brady's boss returned from Europe, Brady was summarily fired and he and his belongings were literally thrown out of the company building." (p. 109).

Some might say, "Okay, so what? Nothing new. It is what it is."

"Don't worry about it, son
We were that way when we were young
You've got all the skills
To make a damn good businessman" 
-from Dead Kennedy's Jock-O-Rama

In looking at what is going on in the OWS movement, there are some people who are attempting to shine a bright light on the mess we've all played a part in creating (most likely because we haven't been paying attention). Are things really going to change? Is that pendulum going to swing back in the other direction, at least for a while?

Who knows. But I do have to say, the people who do bother to tell the truth are rare and often get exiled in one way or another.

Kind of like Brooksley Born.



  1. "Are things really going to change? Is that pendulum going to swing back in the other direction, at least for a while?"

    After the next election cycle the powers that be will turn a deaf ear.

    And truth tellers are never welcome in a modern society. Most of my dramas have come from telling truths or punishing others who didn't.

  2. Chris: That societal truth filter phenomenon has always been a tricky one for me. Has definitely played a part in my past minor dramas due to the way trust and vulnerability have usually been paired up.

    "After the next election cycle...turn a deaf ear."

    I sure hope you got it wrong, but I'm not counting on it. In the meantime, there's a lot of work to be done.

  3. telling the truth and then being exiled. Hmmmm, rings some bells. And I am not tone-deaf.