Why Americans Have the Right to Trust Business

Note to editors: In questioning a recent survey showing that Americans trust business more than any other institutional sector, columnist Nicholas Goldberg cites big corporations that betray their responsibilities.

Goldberg ignores that Americans work for or deal with companies of all sizes. Trust in business is high because this is where we make money, learn, try and fail.

We deal with people as colleagues and customers. We trust people and companies to build our homes, provide us with gas, cook our food, and many other things.

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

Rather than expecting corporate interests to always align with our own, we as employees and consumers need to understand where business leaders come from. We then decide how to trust them rather than flatly deny their motives.

Laura Curran, Newport Beach


Note to editors: Goldberg is sincerely surprised that the public trusts business more than it trusts government. He goes on to cite some examples of major industries that exploit consumers to demonstrate his point that governments (run by politicians) deserve a higher level of trust.

Yet the industries he cites — oil, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and autos — are among the most heavily regulated in the country. These industries are regulated by individuals appointed and run by politicians (guess who).

When their patrons are voted out, regulators often earn high salaries working in the industries they are supposed to regulate. Politicians could end this revolving door with the swipe of a pen, but they don’t because they also have the support of the industry they claim to regulate.

More regulation is not the answer. All that is needed is true, fair regulation.

Tom Cox, Westchester


Note to editors: Goldberg asks why Americans still believe companies are doing the right thing, then lists some businesses that clearly aren’t doing the right thing.

Goldberg didn’t discuss how these companies made decisions that led to the bad behavior he laments so much. These businesses are run by people who make and implement decisions, and then often justify those decisions later when they prove harmful to consumers and even their own workers.

People decide to hide, mislead, scatter and distort information, choosing to protect their work or share value instead of doing what is right.

Perhaps if more corporate leaders held themselves, their managers, their boards of directors, and every single employee to behave ethically and take responsibility when something went wrong, trust could actually be earned.

Les Birken, Northridge

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