The answer to the question in the title is patently obvious. It just depends on which side you fall.
The Wikileaks website has been in the news recently for its data dump of sensitive (if not all that secret) information from the U.S. government. Site founder Julian Assange has been unrelenting in exposing the government's inside dealings. Now, he's announced that Wikileaks has potentially embarrassing information on a big U.S. bank, which many sources say is Bank of America
So what's Assange's end game?
The Wikileaks site says that the organization's aim is to increase transparency. And in a recent interview with Forbes, Assange suggests that by exposing bad corporate behavior, he could aid ethical organizations to flourish, creating a "reputational tax on unethical companies." The Christian Science Monitor states that while Assange adheres to no economic or political ideology, he "is close to libertarianism in the American sense. He appears to be obsessed with rooting out institutional corruption."
Transparency has been a huge buzzword in the last 10 years, to be sure. And it's hard to argue against that goal, given no other constraints. Indeed, a focus on transparency has been a key strategy of Elizabeth Warren, who long campaigned for the creation of a consumer financial protection agency. Warren has taken on big banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo
The sudden attention that Wikileaks has now achieved shows again the power of social media. And this social media poses risks to established organizations. Earlier this year, consumer-goods giant Procter & Gamble
But if Wikileaks is waging war on unethical companies, might that open up an era where ethically focused companies can thrive? Already, businesses such as Chipotle
So what do you think? Are Wikileaks and Assange a potential opportunity for American business, or are they simply a nuisance? By exposing the shenanigans of corporate America, can Wikileaks help consumers and voters make better choices?
Chipotle is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Whole Foods is a Stock Advisor pick. Chipotle is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Procter & Gamble is an Income Investor selection. The Fool owns shares of and has written covered calls on Procter & Gamble. The Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Chipotle, and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Jim Royal, Ph.D., owns shares in Bank of America. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.