Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Smartest Guys.


We watched Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room last night. It was a fantastic look at a corporate culture of greed and deception. In this documentary, we are given the unique opportunity to witness the alpha male dominated environment that became part of Enron's undoing. Moreover, the movie clearly shows how Wall Street's largest firms played an important role in Enron's shady business practices. If you have two hours to spare, this movie is an investment well worth making.

This documentary certainly has its weaknesses. It is clearly partisan. For example, connections are made between Enron and both Bush Administrations, with little attention paid to the role the Clinton Administration played in the Enron scandal. However, this movie isn't nearly as biased as Michael Moore's work and should be watched for the Enron corporate culture storyline alone.

The unwillingness of Enron employees to prevent themselves from partaking in unethical business deals is highlighted in this documentary. The movie suggests that employees simply could not speak out for fear of reprisal. They also argue that Jeffrey Skilling established a cult-like environment that provided clear rationalization for shoddy business practices. For those of you working in corporate environments, do you feel like you are given a voice in your company? Would you be able to blow the whistle if you witnessed corporate corruption?

18 Comments:

Blogger SheaNC said...

They were part of the private-sector branch of our current presidential administration. Lovely.

Halliburton, etc., still rolls on...

1:17 PM  
Blogger dreadcow said...

HELL YES I'd be able to blow the whistle on any corporation.

I worked in the restaurant industry for 3 years before I joined the Army. 2 of those 3 years were spent in the service of a corporation.

As far as I'm concerned, the collapse of Enron has validated all my claims that corporations do nothing but screw up the system, abuse their employees, and operate under the guise of someone who "cares about their customers."

I hate corporations. Which is odd, considering I'm a pretty big capitalist. So yeah, if something was all jacked up, I'd blow the whistle.

I'd like to start my own business one of these days... Hard work, but it's better than being a yes-man.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Concerned Muslim said...

Thanks for the suggestion - it's been something I want to watch along with Kingdom of Heaven...

1:58 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

Cool, I hadn't heard of it but I love films like that. It's funny because one of the most depressing days of my life was November 1st of last year, then on November 2nd my mom called to tell me that she had accepted a position with KBR/Halliburton and was going to move to Baghdad. After spinning and being super pissed off about it, I have come around to understand that sometimes people do what they need to do. My mom is happier than she has been in years being able to finance her retirement, and the sidenote is that she also feels satisfied that she is "supporting the troops". Oy.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Danilo da Silva said...

I beleive that although we would say we would blow the whistle, at least thats my case, I think it all depends on the situation.

A whistle blower is generaly alone, theres no support. I really dont know what I would do if in a situation that my job, lifestyle and in some cases, my physical and emotion health would be placed in jeopardy. Of course, its for a greater good, but how much would I be willing to give to try to help others? If placed in such a situation, would someone (i.e. the government) help me?

Difficult decision...

7:58 PM  
Blogger thc said...

dreadcow: So when you start your own little business, if you have any success at all, you will most likely want to incorporate...hmmm.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Sounds interesting. But I won't lie and say I'm gonna watch it. Only because it's safer that way.

Vavoom! I just saw the comment that you left on the older post. And I literally said, "aww" and smiled! I know you're married, but it was hot! I like a man that can be rough. Rawr! Thanks for sticking up for me. Mrs. Vavoom, you're one lucky lady!

6:01 AM  
Anonymous little john said...

I am a capitalist and I cannot wait to see the movie. I am an independent contractor that works with a corporation (albeit small), but the goodwill of my business, and the corp I partner with, is probably our biggest asset. So, if anything even approaching unethical, much less criminal, comes up we elimiate it ASAP. We have been approached many times to do work in "grey areas" but we cannot afford to go down that road because once your credibility is shot, your over.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

dread: You're a military man -- If you saw corruption within your unit would you report it? Tough question, I know, but I'm curious.
LJ: Would you be able to blow the whistle if it meant your livelihood would be negatively impacted?
Helen: Yikes! How long will she be in Baghdad? What kind of work is she doing there?

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's working as a high level cost accounting person. Numbers geek. It's insane the money. But she's very safe (relative) on their large base w/ 14,000 soldies. I mean there's always a risk, but I just have to believe and trust that she is okay.

On another note, you should (if you want) email me at graceopenheart@ hotmail... I love your comments and I always want to respond to them!

12:42 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I know that I could be a whistle blower but I would really need to have a fall-back plan for employment as I work for a big company in the city. I'm definitely going to need to check out the film. I'm happy to see your unbiased critique. There always seems to be very few of those.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I did this weekend? I saw zoostation and tainted love play a concert at Bimbo's 365 club. It was an awesome show and I'm still coming down from the high. I really want to see this enron movie after reading your blog. please keep up the wonderful work so that I can be entertained.

4:57 PM  
Blogger dreadcow said...

Vavoom, I like to believe I'm a rather morally upright person. Being a trained killer, some would beg to differ. The fact remains...

Today when I got on the internet to see that PFC Lynndie England, otherwise known as Ms. Abu Ghraib, had pleaded guilty I did a happy dance. I hope she goes away for a long time.

Being an American, and despite the fact that I sometimes don't agree with it (ie Kosovo, Bosnia) I pride myself in the fact that for the last 100 years we have gone to the defense of those not able to defend themselves and never asked for anything in return.

I once mentioned in my blog that I want to be the soldier that a young kid from Iraq remembers 20 years down the line for giving him some candy, medical attention, and more importantly, freedom and opportunity.

I've never been one to get involved in the group-think mentality. I try to keep myself somewhat "cut off" from cliques and things of that nature. Corruption is hard to notice when you're smack in the middle of that kind of situation. Which is exactly what I believe happened at Abu Ghraib.

Would I have reported that kind of thing? Hell yes. But then again, I havn't been to Iraq yet. I havn't been shot at yet. I havn't seen my friends blown up and killed yet.

I would hope I'd be able to do the right thing and report any wrong doing of that manner to the brass. I pray that God will give me the moral stamina to go to war and hold onto my sense of right and wrong.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

This is a bit off on a tangent, but I do want to comment that anyone planning to be a whistleblower needs to realize that the government isn't always successful at protecting you if you face retaliation. Just because retaliation is illegal per the law, proving it is often very difficult.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Dread: That was a fantastic comment. Even though I do not support our venture into Iraq, it is soldiers such as yourself that keep my faith and support with our military.
Raine: How right you are. Workers are rendered powerless when faced with such corruption. The choice often is, your moral conviction or your livelihood.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

Dread: I just wanna "second" what V. said.

8:38 PM  
Blogger dahvid said...

well, i think you're only given a voice in the company you're in, if you're at the top of the food chain-because only people with power are allowed to voice their thoughts out loud.

and i think it would be difficult for me to blow the whistle if i ever were to witness a corporate corruption, because to do so would result me being side-lined, marginalised and discredited. (people in the media and lawyers are very good at this art) i would, however, tender in my resignation if i were to ever witness such accounts.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous little john said...

V- If I see something wrong at my work I would, and have, reported it to the supervisors. It's never been anything too serious, and nobody got fired but like I said, in my line of work credibility with customers is everything. You cannot risk goodwill. Dreadcow: Thanks!

8:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home