Not that I want to hurt them.
Don't get that please cause that's just not who I am. (Laughter)
I am soft, I am lovable, but what I really want to do is I want to
reach in, rip out their hearts, and eat it before they die.
Fuld, Jr, CEO of Lehman Brothers
The opening quote
by Dick Fuld, Jr. is from this video, where you can also see it is not
spoken in anger, but deliberately, from a prepared speech:
The above video (1
min 8 sec) shows Richard Fuld, Jr.,
then CEO of the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers,
who at the time he spoke had received, himself, nearly half a billion dollars - that is: nearly 500 millon dollars - in the previous 12 or
14 years, in pay, because of his personal excellencies, as illustrated
in the video. Indeed, Mr. Fuld is - of course - himself not bankrupt, and seems to be thriving
quite happily, in excellent physical health and in great personal
wealth (although he has "sold" part of his many millions to his own
wife Katherine, for $ 100, just to make sure she and he remain
exceedingly rich whatever happens in court-cases relating to Lehman
where it should be
noted that the title refers not to Ms Chapman's actions, but to the
American Psychiatric Association's actions against Ms Chapman's site.
And above that
article there is another article on this very interesting Health Care
Renewal site - medical doctors with functioning hearts, brains and
courage: There's hope! - that in part was inspired by the video of Mr.
This is what
motivates my title. It refers to an article by C.R. Boddy in the Journal
of Business Ethics, which is unfortunately behind a pay wall, that
also has inspired a very interesting, clear and brief article by Brian
Bansham in The Independent:
Here are its first
six paragraphs, for your edification and education - and I note that
Mr. Bansham is described under his article as "a
veteran City PR man, entrepreneur and journalist", so in a position to know:
Over the years
I've met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most
part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its
restraints, the monsters have proliferated.
In a paper
recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled "The
Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis", Clive R
Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths.
"They are," he
says, "simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or
empathy." And he argues: "Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions
within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence
the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable
power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis'.
And Mr Boddy is
not alone. In Jon Ronson's widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test,
Professor Robert Hare told the author: "I should have spent some time
inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin
families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin
economies. They ruin societies."
Cut to a
pleasantly warm evening in Bahrain. My companion, a senior UK
investment banker and I, are discussing the most successful banking
types we know and what makes them tick. I argue that they often conform
to the characteristics displayed by social psychopaths. To my surprise,
my friend agrees.
He then makes an
astonishing confession: "At one major investment bank for which I
worked, we used psychometric testing to recruit social psychopaths
because their characteristics exactly suited them to senior corporate
As Mr Basham says at
the end of his article:
Hare, Ronson, Boddy and others, I've realised that some psychopaths
"forge careers in corporations. The group is called Corporate
Psychopaths". They are polished and plausible, but that doesn't make
them any less dangerous.
In attempting to
understand the complexities of what went wrong in the years leading to
2008, I've developed a rule: "In an unregulated world, the
least-principled people rise to the top." And there are none who are
less principled than corporate psychopaths.
Need I add that this
also applies to some psychiatrists I know of; some directors of
universities I have known; some mayors and aldermen of Amsterdam; some
leaders of the Dutch drugsmafia; some parliamentarians and indeed also
well-known "humanist geniuses" like Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot? (**)
Psychopathy (..) is a personality disorder characterized
primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions,
egocentricity, and deception. Psychopaths are highly prone to
antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are
disproportionately responsible for violent crime when in a violent
emotional state or situation. Though lacking empathy and emotional
depth, they often manage to pass themselves off as average individuals
by feigning emotions and lying about their past.
This is from
Wikipedia as is the following, minus its note-numbers:
is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal
entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from
those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations,
most of which are used to conduct business.
Early corporations were established by charter (i.e. by an ad hoc
act passed by a parliament or legislature). Most jurisdictions now
allow the creation of new corporations through registration.
An important (but
not universal) contemporary feature of a corporation is limited liability. If a corporation
fails, shareholders may lose their investments, and employees may lose
their jobs, but neither will be liable for debts to the corporation's
Despite not being
natural persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights
and responsibilities like natural persons ("people"). Corporations can
exercise human rights against real individuals and
the state, and they can themselves be responsible for human rights
violations. Corporations are conceptually immortal but they can "die"
when they are "dissolved" either by statutory operation, order of
court, or voluntary action on the part of shareholders.
Clearly - I would
say - it is rather crazy to consider corporations as "people", not only
because they are not, but also because giving human rights in the ways
persons have them to abstracta or to
groups of people, and notably to groups of
individual people who by being incorporated are not
personally liable, is to allow for vehicles of abuse and
terrorism: That is precisely what allows private persons like Mr Fuld
to acquire excessive power;
destroy the economy; and get
off themselves with many millions after having also destroyed the
corporation they used as a tool for their personal enrichment.
As Hazlitt put
it, long ago, but with his usual incisiveness and great mental clarity,
in his essay "On Corporate Bodies",
also on my site:
bodies are more corrupt and profligate than individuals, because they
have more power to do mischief, and are less amenable to disgrace or
punishment. They feel neither shame, remorse, gratitude, nor goodwill.
The principle of private or natural conscience is extinguished in each
individual (we have no moral sense in the breasts of others), and
nothing is considered but how the united efforts of the whole (released
from idle scruples) may be best directed to the obtaining of political
advantages and privileges to be shared as common spoil. Each member
reaps the benefit, and lays the blame, if there is any, upon the rest.
The esprit de corps becomes the ruling passion of every
corporate body, compared with which the motives of delicacy or decorum
towards others are looked upon as being both impertinent and improper.
Since I can only
do so much, having
ME, I will have to portion it in doses, so to speak, but in case
you're interested (and you should be, if you want to understand the
social and personal backgrounds of the current crisis), I'll provide
some more links:
It seems much of
the academic work that Mr Boddy and Mr Basham based their articles on
is the work of the Canadian professor emeritus in psychology
This is by
Katherine Ramsfeld and is in 11 pages (chapters) and seems very well
done. Here is a quotation from the last chapter, that also has
compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years
of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly
describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other
predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life.
Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how
can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and
surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating
if terrifying, look at psychopaths....Hare makes a strong case for the
view that psychopaths are born, not made....A chilling, eye-opening
report--and a call to action."
For that last
quote, also see my About "Evil Genes". Finally,
since you probably have met psychopaths, as I have (there are quite a
few in Amsterdam, in business, in law, in politics, and in the drugs
mafia), here is some learned advice by Ms Ramsfeld and dr. Hare, from
the former's chapter 10 in the above linked series by Ms Ramsfeld:
Cognizant of the
fact that there are few formal survivor groups for victims of
psychopaths—although there are several chat groups online—he believes
that people need to know what to do to protect themselves in the event
they find themselves involved or associated with a psychopath.
Among his steps are the following:
- Try not to be
influenced by "props" – the winning smile, the promises, the fast talk,
and the gifts meant to deflect you from the manipulation and
exploitation that may be occurring. "Any of these
characteristics," he writes, "can have enormous sleight-of-hand value,
serving to distract you from the individual's real message."
Close your eyes, look away and concentrate on what's really going on.
- Don't wear
blinkers – Anyone who seems too perfect, is likely far from it.
Psychopaths hide their dark sides until they get their target person
deeply involved. Too much flattery, feigned kindness, and cracks
in grandiose stories should provide clues and put you on your
guard. Make reasonable inquiries.
- Know yourself
– or you might be vulnerable at your blind spots. Psychopaths
know how to find and use your triggers, so the more you realize what
you tend to fall for, the more closely you can guard against
- Set firm
ground rules, and thus avoid some power struggles that you can't
win. Psychopaths tend to like control, so if the rules are
unclear or weak, they'll take advantage. Be clear, and establish
and maintain firm boundaries.
- If necessary,
get professional advice. Too often people wonder if they're just
seeing something that's not real, or they dismiss the lies because they
don't know what else to do. Listening to an expert may not only
support their suspicions but provide a way out.
Hare admits that
even he, with all his experience, can still be duped—at least
temporarily--by a psychopath. "In short interactions," he says,
"anyone can be duped."
In a related
publication, Hare notes, "We must find ways of studying psychopaths in
the community if we are ever to provide some relief for their
victims—which is to say, all of us."
threats to health care's core values, especially those stemming from
concentration and abuse of power. Advocating for accountability,
integrity, transparency, honesty and ethics in leadership and
governance of health care."
and seems to be
written by MDs.
Perhaps I also should add not all leaders are psychopaths, just as not
all psychopaths become leaders: In fact, as to the last group, most
certainly don't. As to the first group, the problem is that "all power
corrupts" and that the corrupt most want power and are most prone to
use any means to achieve their ends.
P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made
-- Jan 8, 2012: Straightened out some
Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about
maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter
of one's beliefs:
7. A space-
and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.