Crime in the Suites

Crime in the Suites

Though Enron earned the limelight for its financial impropriety,
William Greider shows how many other corporations deserve the same
attention. In The Nation magazine, Greider argues
that Enron and its banking, accounting, and political counterparts
uncover a deeper scandal – ‘the failure of market orthodoxy
itself.’

Corporations such as IT and Telecom giant Global Crossings, and the
baby Bell Lucent Technologies should certainly be counted alongside
Enron. Right before Global Crossings’ stock tanked CEO Gary Wincing
cashed out for $600 million without a word to the shareholders —
many of whom were employees who accepted stock as part of their
retirement packages. At Lucent, employees suffered a similar fate
with executives who sold $12 million of their shares back to the
company before their stocks crashed.

So are all major corporations doomed to be corrupt? Maybe, but even
if that were the case, Greider argues that employees (unionized or
not) should have the ability to supervise their own pension funds
and 401 (k) plans. At least they could help protect their own
investments.

But more than just swindling their employees, many of these
companies with close ties to politicians in D.C. and bankers in New
York have contributed to ‘the insidious corruption of democracy by
political money.’ How do we right this wrong? American voters will
have to demand campaign finance reform, because, as Greider puts
it, so long as democracy is for sale, the looting is unlikely to
stop.
–Sara V. Buckwitz
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