Jeff Aldrich's book "The Responsibility Era" is
slated for publication during 2004. In the meantime we invite
you to read a short paper of the same name that outlines some
of the keys elements of the book. Following is the Abstract
for the paper followed by links to the full document.
The Responsibility Era: Abstract
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act mandates that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of all publicly traded
companies in the United States sign personal liability contracts vouching for all financial filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. I argue that if responsibility by contract is good for corporate America and good for the American public as we meet our
responsibilities in modern American life, responsibility by contract must also be good for political America, and good for American ideals of
representative government. In addition to being good for America and the American people, the political theory and tactics presented in this
paper provide CEOs, CFOs and directors of publicly traded corporations with the tool necessary to rebalance the business/political equation
in the wake of Sarbanes-Oxley.
This theory was tested in a 1989 congressional election and further tested successfully in 1994 by scores of incumbents and challengers
seeking election to the US Congress. Imagine, an America where politicians at all levels of government include in their campaigns for office
a new social contract, a Microtution, that includes a handful of action items they choose to offer voters: all nicely wrapped around crystal
clear language that says that if they fail to do these few items they will not seek re-election in the next election cycle. Rather than force
compliance through the power of law, such robust change in American politics must be voluntary and constitutional. I propose the structural
framework to make such a social contract a reality, and argue that the necessities of practical politics, coupled with the marketplace of
ideas, will drive these new contracts into the American system of government.
The Responsibility Era