Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Take some responsibility ...

When I was at graduate school in 2001/02, Jeff Skilling spoke to us from a packed auditorium .... a hero to the crowd of business students. He was cocky, confident and energetic. Skilling was an alumni and seemed quite pleased to be back at his alma mater.

Later on, when Skilling was facing legal proceedings and the evidence was clearly against him, I was furious at the utter lack of responsibility. This guy helped ruin countless lives, yet he sat smugly by proclaiming innocence. (contrast this to Scott Waddell, captain of the US Navy sub that sank the Japanese research vessel - he took full responsibility). I wrote to a contact at my alma mater saying that if the school could grant a graduate degree, it should publicly take it away if someone didn't live up to our code of conduct; The school found the idea "interesting", but it never went anywhere.

Today one of the bit players in the Enron scandal, Causey, agreed to testify. I hope he finally provides the ammunition to put more of these people behind bars.

I agree that one of the things that makes American capitalism great is a "pushing the boundary" mentality. Derivatives, hedging, creative financing, etc, would never happen in a strictly regulated system and our country would suffer from it. The byproduct of this deregulated economy is illegal activity. I don't want government overseeing every aspect of our economy, but I would at least like to see it be effective at dishing out justice when it is clearly due.


Anonymous said...

I think a fair number of people have a natural inclination to take some responsibility and then the lawyers get their hands on them and all that righteousness is lost.

Rob said...

True. Scott Waddell went against the advice of his lawyer when he took responsibility for the sub accident and shut down some legal avenues he had. Not sure how many other people would ignore the advice of their lawyers.