Monday, July 10, 2006

The Deadest Guys in the Room

In the movie, "Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room", Ken Lay is depicted as the disconnected fatherly figure who doesn't quite know, or want to know, what his son (Jeff Skilling) is up to when the son arrives with keys to a new Caddie (see scene where he is picking out the color of drapes for his private jet).

Lay was as culpable and probably more so than anyone at Enron for fostering the culture which ultimately resulted in bilking Enron investors and employees of billions of dollars. I think there is a danger in trusting one system (in this case the free market) to cure all ills. It reminds me of evangelicals who come up with crazier and crazier rationals as to why dogma is correct in the face of incontravertible evidence as the spool begins to unravel behind them.

Bottom line is that these guys believed what they were doing was good and their own hubris prevented them from admitting mistakes and adjusting their view of the world and their own business.

I believe the US and especially the US markets needed someone to go to jail and these guys were perhaps scapegoats to that end. But sometimes the goats are guilty, and for a brief shining moment, justice is served.

Ken, I hope you like the curtains for where ever the afterlife takes you :)

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