I Pledge to Write Funnier Columns on Goldman
By Michael Lewis
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 3:54pm
A few weeks ago Bloomberg News reported that, in just the past year, hundreds of students at the Harvard Business School have taken something called the M.B.A. Oath.
Endorsed by Harvard’s dean, and replicated by other business schools, the oath comes in two sizes: an important sounding long version, and a punchy executive summary, consisting of seven crisp bullet points.
(Sample bullet point: “I will refrain from corruption, unfair competition, or business practices harmful to society.”)
The gist of even the short version can be reduced further, to a single sentence: “Wherever I face a choice between my self-interest, and the interests of the wider world, I pledge to act in the interests of the wider world.”
News of the oath naturally aroused the interest of cynics everywhere, and led them to raise hard questions: Isn’t the underlying premise of free-market capitalism, and the typical business school education, that by doing well for oneself one is also doing well for the wider world?
Is the typical business school graduate actually capable of seeing any difference between his own interest and the world’s? Does this sort of mushy, vague-sounding oath serve society or the oath taker, who hopes that society will be duped into thinking that he is acting in its interests rather than his own? more