Lifnei iver per H. Friedman (accessed today) refers to deceptive accounting / auditing practices, indeed. Generally, stumbling blocks functionally preventing individuals from obtaining the enlightenment of transparency in all material respects include (by way of illustration and not exhaustion) the following factors:
- The impracticability of verifying for oneself the true financial condition of reporting entities or the true nature of their underlying economic transactions.
- The impracticability of falsifying for oneself reportedly true but actually materially misleading presentation of financial condition or reportedly true but actually materially misleading presentation of the nature of underlying economic transactions.
- The publication biases of mainstream, if not also alternative, publishers, focusing on presentation of economic issues according to predefined objectives (e.g., maximizing readership, development of sensationalism, maximizing advertising revenue).
- The lack of standards of conduct (e.g., generally accepted government auditing standards – GAGAS) and the lack of principles of interpretation (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles – GAAP) that provide plain English statements of what is prohibited and permitted.
- The prevailing ethical norm of consequentialism (cf. deontology), commonly known as ends justifying the means (e.g., acceptability of enhanced interrogation techniques, some versions of earnings management) that readily allows principals and agents constructing reported economic realities to commit, among other acts, noble cause corruption.
- The unwillingness of many to utter quite simply but profoundly – I don’t know, as if it is better to create wordy demonstrations and writings founded on estimates and assumptions few have aggressively tested than to adapt to conditions of meaningful ignorance with demonstrations and writings demanding changes in policy remediating the (risk) factors above.