Los Angeles Times

Why business buys our trust


Re “Business is the most trusted institutio­n? Are you kidding me?” Opinion, Jan. 30

In questionin­g a survey showing that Americans trust business more than any other sector, Nicholas Goldberg cites large corporatio­ns that have betrayed their responsibi­lities.

Goldberg overlooks that Americans deal with companies of all sizes. Trust in business is high because that’s where we earn and learn, try and fail.

We engage with people as colleagues and as customers. We trust people and companies to build our houses, provide our gas, cook our food and so many other things.

Yes, sometimes we are disappoint­ed and outcomes are bad, but generally most business leaders work to earn the trust of their employees and customers every day.

Rather than expecting corporate interest to be aligned with our own all the time, we as employees and consumers need to understand where business leaders are coming from. Then we decide how we’re going to place our trust rather than categorica­lly dismissing their motives.

Laura Curran Newport Beach

Goldberg is surprised that the public has more trust in business than government. He cites examples of major industries that have taken advantage of consumers to prove his point that government (which is run by politician­s) should receive a higher degree of trust.

However, the industries he cites — oil, pharmaceut­icals, tobacco and autos — are heavily regulated, by individual­s appointed and managed by politician­s.

Regulators often go to work for high salaries in the very industries that they supposedly regulated when their patrons are voted out of office. Politician­s could end this revolving door with a stroke of the pen, but they don’t because they also are supported by the industries that they claim to regulate.

More regulation is not the answer. Real, impartial regulation is all that is needed.

Tom Cox Westcheste­r

Goldberg asks why Americans still trust companies to do the right thing, and then lists a number of businesses that clearly did not do the right thing.

Goldberg does not discuss how these companies made the decisions that led to bad behavior. These businesses are run by people who make and implement decisions, and then so often justify them when proven later to be detrimenta­l to consumers and even their own workers.

People decide to hide, mislead, distract and distort informatio­n, choosing to protect their jobs or share value over doing the right thing.

Maybe if more company leaders demanded ethical behavior from themselves, their managers, their boards and every employee, and took responsibi­lity when things go wrong, the trust would actually be earned.

Les Birken Northridge

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