Pointing the finger, but at who?

If Enron never would have happened where would we be today? That is the biggest question of all, in order to learn from mistakes we have to have made mistakes. As much as Ken Lay and all the executives at Enron have been criticized for their business practices or sometimes their lack of; they are a company that in the moment was cutting edge and creating one of the most powerful companies in the United States if not the world. The fall of Enron was devastating to millions that were involved directly and indirectly. But to put the blame just on Enron seems to be unrealistic.

 In American society we always want to point the finger at someone else when something goes wrong, we are not taught to accept our mistakes and learn from them. Going back to the discussion in class today in regards to the Gaming California chapter, and the discussion on deregulation of electricity; I find it fascinating still that so many involved with Enron point the finger at Enron for the cause of the rolling blackouts and deregulation in California between 2000 and 2001. It is fascinating because so many others had their “hands in the cookie jar” and were also in support of deregulation and where not supplying electricity to hundreds of thousands of consumers in California during this time as well.

 The main issue with the deregulation of electricity in California should be that Enron single handedly caused the bankruptcy of two huge electrical companies, Pacific Gas & Electric, as well as Southern California Edison, a fact that is not always spoken about. The main focus is about electricity and deregulation, which is interesting since when deregulation occurred in California and the electricity stopped for periods of time; the Governor had to step in and declare a state of emergency. Just ironic that deregulation is limiting government control over a business or individual and here the “government” had to step in and help out.

 As discussed in class as well; it seems easy to point the finger at those at the top, but where they CEO’s that were involved in the end or just there collecting a pay check? Where others running the company at this time that single handedly ran it into bankruptcy, or was it a group effort of a failed system? It is easy to want to pin point it to one person or one thing; but maybe we should step back and really look to see who was involved that may not have made their way onto the pages of The Smartest Guys in the Room.

3 Responses

  1. This is interesting since during the time indictment of Enron executives, the the world was in a frustrated state (9/11). It seems that Enron could have been a place where many pointed the finger and took out their frustrations. What would have been the outcome if the debacle happened when the economy was riding its high. Would the authorities have been more forgiving to the Enron executives?

  2. Geoff, I like that you brought up how the country as a whole was going through some difficult times and many individuals were frustrated with what was happening due to September 11th. I would hope that even if we had not had to go through September 11th, and the economy had been in a better situation; the authorities would still have handed down the sentencing that they did to Enron executives. It is interesting because during the events of September 11th the attention was actually taken off of the Enron scandal so, maybe things would have been different; maybe more upper administration such as Rebecca Marks would have been sentenced as well.

  3. I disagree because it does not matter what’s happening in the world, it does not jsutify unethical behavior. Just like a bank robber cannot said to the judge he did it because he does not have a job. If anything, the country was looking for its best citizens at that time and we found Enron…

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