The truth is that life today looks refined but behind the facade it is a jungle. As the saying goes "Civilisation is a thin veneer". Outwardly everything looks honourable but behind the scenes deals are done and then made to look innocent.
The downside to all this is in most cases cheating pays. Playing by the rules gives you a good conscience but if your opponent isn't, then you are at a disadvantage. Ideally authorities step in and make sure all things are done fairly but this world is anything but fair. Those at the top are often the best cheats who work the system best.
On to the motor industry. It is no different. It is part of the world we live in, where winning by fair means or foul is the modus operandi more often than we care to believe. Added to that government officials stick their beaks in and try to get what is politically desirable.
VW got caught because it went too far, for too long. The more it got away with it, the more emboldened it became. Perhaps it thought German politicians would 'sort things out' if necessary. I expect there are readers from Germany who cringe when this sort of issue is raised. It isn't about nationality and people shouldn't feel they carry the weight of others misdemeanours on their shoulders. As I see it there is a culture in Germany that puts winning above fairness, that success in the end justifies the means. That can and should be changed.
I am apolitical because humans get corrupted by power. However, another issue I mentioned was government interference and I reluctantly go there. All politicians meddle at times and when it comes to business, it is rarely successful. France is a leader in this field. The degree this is currently taking place with regard to the Renault / Nissan alliance is breathtaking in its arrogance. This could get ugly and I feel for the car makers involved.
OK, the French government has a share in Renault, but that share gives it powers beyond what its percentage should allow. Such meddling does more harm than good. It puts national interest above business common sense, and surely makes doing business in that country undesirable. Some countries could scare off business investment.
Doing things by the book is the fair way, that is playing by the rules. However, if others aren't so inclined and no one enforces the rules, then unfairness will win. I think these lyrics sum up how business is done:
Where hustle's the name of the game, And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain. There's been a load of compromising, On the road to my horizon. But I'm gonna be where the lights are shining on me.
Have we got to the point we don't care anymore? Should we defend cheating and/or manipulation for self gain because we like the result? Does it matter that when people do things right, they are disadvantaged and 'get washed away'? We should never get tired of hating injustice. It's bigger than we can fix, but wrong is wrong and always will be.