Wall Street and Cowboy Ethics

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Maribel Hernandez
May 3, 2012

Wall Street and Cowboy Ethics
From fraud to misdeeds- the business spectrum of the 21st century is tainted by unethical business behaviors. Today, Wall Street lacks the core foundation of personal ethics when attempting to reach the goal of every entrepreneur and business, maximizing profit. Although there are laws and regulations, this does not detain business corruption, it only lessens it. As a result, there is a need to create ethical guidelines in order to remain successful without negatively impacting others. In his book Cowboy Ethics, James P. Owens provides us with three major principles that entrepreneurs can utilize to remain ethical while gaining profit: some things are not for sale, a man is only as good as his word, and taking pride in one’s own work.

The first principle provided by James P. Owens is accepting and realizing “that some things aren’t for sale” (Owens 2004). He gives the example of a man named Monte who makes a dwindle amount of money. One day he is offered a job where he will be earning $15 weekly; more than he can hope to make anywhere else. However, this new job ridiculed his way of life and attempted to reduce him as a person. He gave up the job as he was unwilling to dishonor the way of life he has chosen. To remain ethical in business, it is necessary to grasp on to core values and characteristics even when it may be tempting to jeopardize one’s character for an offer. Principles such as honesty, integrity, and fairness should never be put on the line; not even for profit in business.

Another principle provided by James P. Owens is the fact that “a man is only as good as his word” (Owens, 2004). In this section, Owens gives the story of Gus and his friend Call. Call agrees to fulfill a request made by Gus. However, when it is time to fulfill that promise, Call finds it difficult to go through with his word. Though he struggled greatly, he remained loyal to his promise. Although it...
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