Question;Was Michael Milken a friend or foe to the financial markets, is definitely a question thatsparks much debate. I tend to take a utilitarian approach to most things in life and this question isnot an exception. While there are always lines in life that should not be crossed, I do think that ifsomething is going to benefit more people than it will hinder it most likely is something thatshould be done. With that said my position is that Michael Milken was a friend to the financialmarkets.Michael Milken was an innovator in the financial world. He took the path less traveledand helped to jumpstart thousands of businesses in multiple industries that might not have beengiven a chance otherwise. This led to thousands if not millions of jobs being created helping togrow the U.S. economy. Not only did he take on risk that most others would not, he createdfinancial tools that had a great impact in the world of finance and are still in use today. Along with his contributions to the financial markets during his time at Drexel, hiscontributions to charity and medical research over the years have been great. The work that hisfoundation has done to promote community and learning in schools has undoubtedly helpedcountless numbers of people and the cancer research that the foundation has funded has assistedin the medical community making great strides in treating cancer.With that said Michael Milken has obviously contributed a great amount of money, timeand resources, to improving the financial markets, the U.S. economy, charity and medicalresearch. He has made a positive impact in all areas and still continues as a philanthropist andspeaker continuously spreading his wealth and knowledge.However, my opinion is not based solely on the great things that Michael Milken hasdone. The downfall of Michael Milken seems sketchy to me at best. He originally had 98charges, to include insider trading, fraud and racketeering. However, according to a multitude oflawyers that have studied this case there was little to no evidence that supported any of thesecharges. The six charges that Milken did plead guilty to were upgraded to felonies, when prior tohis case these would have been trivial offenses. According to those who worked with him,Milken might not have liked the rules and regulations that the government handed down but hewould follow them. Overall, this is all a matter of perception. What one might consider ethical another willconsider unethical it all depends on how someone looks at things. In my opinion, again using autilitarian approach, I think that all the good Michael Milken contributed to financial marketsand to society, outweighs any of the negative things he was accused of or possibly did. If therewere stronger evidence to back up what he was charged with my opinion might be different.However, with little to no evidence for the charges and with what he did plead guilty to beingtrumped up to felonies for effect, I don?t believe he did anything that had a substantially negativeimpact on the world of finance.Michael Milken was the king of the stocks back in the 1980s and early 90s, but that doesn?tmean he was looking out for the best interest of those around him. Personally, I believe he was afoe in this industry. Even though he helped other companies make millions, he was doing itwrongfully. Essentially Milken got caught and did time for his misbehavior in the finance world.Ethically, I believe he was only looking out for himself and in the long run but got bit inthe butt when he ended up getting caught. He was doing what any other finance professional wastold to do, which was to gain money and respect, yet he was doing it illegally. Once Milken wascaught, it put the finance industry in a magnify glass to make sure everything was being doneperfectly and by the book.Milken was making millions a year, he approximately made over $1 billion dollars in afour year period and was living the high life. He was also making many charitable donations toprostate cancer, but in actuality that was stolen money. So even though it made him look good todonate to charity, it technically wasn?t his money to begin with. Moral sensitivity (recognizingthe presence of an ethical issue) is the first step in ethical decision making because we can?tsolve a moral problem unless we first know that one exists. I believe Milken didn?t even know hewas ethically doing something wrong or he wouldn?t have gone as far as he did.Problem recognition is something that requires that we consider how our behavior affectsothers, identify possible courses of action, and determine the each potential strategy. Empathyand perspective skills are essential to this component of moral action. If we understand howothers might feel or react, we are more sensitive to potential negative effects of our choices andcan better predict the likely outcomes of each option. Milken kept going with all his stock marketescapades well over a decade so in the end I don?t believe he cared for anybody but himself.Finally, paying attention to our emotions can be an important clue that we are faced withan ethical dilemma. Moral emotions are part of our makeup as humans. These feelings aretriggered even when we do not have a personal stake in an event. Even though Milken wascharged with many counts of felonies, after he got out he still contributed to cancer research. Ifonly he would have been trust worthy the entire time, I would have never considered him a foe.
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