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I guess that conclusion would depend on whether the upper managers expected to better off (a) by staying at the same company for life or (b) by pumping the short-term returns and then using them as a shortcut to a better position at some other company, where the long-term consequences won't be felt.

Well, from what I have seen about the business people, their preferred method is b. Since by going to some other company, they can get higher salary, usually higher than the raise they'd be getting.

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