Economic Downturn: The U.S. economy goes into recession. (11/14/01)
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"In a year or two, we'll all be laughing at this."
Those words of optimism came from Kenneth Lay, former Chief Executive Officer of Enron, just months before Enron completely collapsed and sent shock waves through the American media, economy, and politics.
Many are familiar with the Enron debacle/scandal and how corporate executives made millions, while trusting employees lost their life savings. It's astonishing to believe a company could stab their employees in the back so blatantly and maliciously.
Even more astonishing is that questionable accounting and shady business tricks could occur within many other businesses we don't know about yet.
Just as in classic tragedies, such as Antigone and King Lear, the desire for power consumes people. As a result, they commit acts that are not only dishonest, but also life changing. Power allows people to believe they can get away with things when they have a large presence over people.
In the case of Enron, its corrupted executives thought that cashing in their stock while continuing to urge employees to continue buying it would go unheeded and unpunished until it was all over. Unfortunately for them, they were wrong.
There were employees who did see through the disguise Enron executives wore but little was done after their honorable efforts.
Sherron Watkins was a brave Enron vice president who noticed their shady business dealings and wrote two letters to Lay last August. She was courageous and bold to blow the whistle on Enron, a Goliath in the U.S. energy and stock markets.
Cliff Baxter, the former Vice Chair at Enron who committed suicide recently, should be considered the first whistle blower when he disagreed with Enron's improper business deals and resigned in May.
If I was in a similar situation, and the company I worked for was involved in questionable dealings, I would bring the issue up to appropriate management. It is the duty of the company to practice what is best suited for its employees and stockholders.
And if I were an executive at Enron at this current time of pandemonium, I would want current Enron employees to know it's imperative for them to continue working even with all the tumult surrounding the company.
A lot more needs to be done for the many Enron employees who have been let go as a result of the bankruptcy. I would do whatever possible to help in the recovery movements for laid-off employees that have already begun.
Even though my sincerity would probably seem false and inappropriate after the actions of myself and other executives, I would do my best to give closure to these shocked people by helping them find employment again by hosting job fairs exclusively for them and sending out resumes to other corporations.
Right now, the media and Democrats are trying to pin Republicans to Enron, hoping to find that someone did something illegal in an attempt to bail out Enron.
The truth is both parties received almost six million dollars from Enron since 1989 and both parties share responsibility for the failure of Enron in a market where there is little regulation, and overseers failed to notice the company's deception.
My trust in the government hasn't diminished as a result, but my trust in corporate America has.
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