Nothing Special About Volkswagen

business_ethics_highlights_2If there’s nothing special about Volkswagen, in terms of its willingness to cheat, there’s probably nothing special about the auto industry in this regard, either. Granted, some industries can develop cultures that promote or at least sanction certain kinds of wrong-doing. But (and this is the scary part) the basic tendency toward rule bending-and-breaking, and the rationalization that goes along with it, is a human phenomenon, not a car-industry one. Nor, for that matter, is it likely a private sector problem or a capitalist one. People do bad things in government agencies, and under non-capitalist economic systems. Just about any system that offers incentives for performance can produce self-serving behaviour. Note that this observation is not intended to excuse Volkswagen’s behaviour, even a little bit. >>>

LINK: Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern (by Danny Hakim and Hiroko Tabuchi for NYT)

…For decades, car companies found ways to rig mileage and emissions testing data. In Europe, some automakers have taped up test cars’ doors and grilles to bolster their aerodynamics. Others have used “superlubricants” to reduce friction in the car’s engine to a degree that would be impossible in real-world driving conditions.

Automakers have even been known to make test vehicles lighter by removing the back seats…..

What do you think?

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  1. Pingback: Top 10 Business Ethics Stories of 2015 | The Business Ethics Blog

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