Thursday, February 23, 2006


The 1990s stock market boom was partly fueled by fraud, most famously the Enron criminal enterprise. It has become clear that Enron never had a viable business plan. Headed by a Bush best friend, the Texas company prospered extravagantly for a time by executing not a business plan, but rather a crime plan.

There was one analyst, the story goes, who refused to recommend Enron stock and was fired for it. (Partial interview with John Olsen below.) The reason he gave for withholding his approval was that he could not understand Enron’s financial statements.

Of course, no one understood Enron’s financial statements, they were incomprehensible by design.

Before judging the rest of the genius analysts, (whose defense against a charge of complicity is that they were bamboozled), consider the predicament of the courtiers in the old fable, when their emperor so proudly displayed his new (birthday) suit.

The kind of personality that would pipe up “That bloke’s fucking starkers!” could never have gained admittance to the Imperial presence in the first place. He or she would have been de-selected, if not de-headed, early in a career at court.

So there they are, pre-screened for prudence, nodding when the first sycophant praises the cut, the color, the fabric of the non-existent garment. They even murmur some compliments of their own, as necessary, they calculate, to maintain their pampered but tenuous positions.

My hero is the young brokerage underling, Douglas Faneuil, in the Martha Stewart case who refused to support his boss’ and Martha’s lie, and testified against them (told the truth). Presumably he’s blackballed from Wall Street forever; and he knew that would be the price. I salute him not for his supposed sacrifice but because his choice was a wise, joyous one. Who the heck wants to spend his life in the company of liars and thieves?

And he’s cute, too. He can bag my groceries anytime.


sfmike said...

A beautiful debut.

sfmike said...

Oh, and dude, you are not only officially bookmarked, but you're going to the top of the pile.