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Rogue Christian Leaders

bambooconspiracy

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THE SKILLING TRAP (Published in BUSINESSWEEK 12 JUNE 2006) Jeffrey Skilling (born November 25, 1953) is the former president of Enron Corporation. In 2006 he was convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron's financial collapse, and is currently serving a 24-year, 4-month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, near Littleton, Colorado. Skilling had a startling confidence in what he thought of as "the system," a strange and even endearing belief in the mechanisms -- the letter and only the letter -- of the law. The Enron trial was at heart about the difference between the letter of the law and its spirit. It was the most complicated of the half-dozen or more big corporate corruption cases that have come to trial, not just because of the scope of the meltdown, but because the fraud at Enron was accompanied by the most obsessive and careful concern for the letter of the law. The people who ran Enron did back flips and somersaults as they tried to stay within the law's lines. Looking at the trial transcript, it's possible to suspect that Skilling lost his case in the first moments of his cross-examination. "The bottom line of all this, Mr. Skilling," demanded prosecutor Sean M. Berkowitz, "is that you and Mr. Lay were the captains of the ship at Enron, weren't you?" "Yes," Skilling meekly answered. You almost wish that he'd have put up more of a fight, because to bring the case to a "bottom line," a simple decision about right and wrong and responsibility, represents the very opposite of the Skilling philosophy. A trial by definition is about the letter of the law, but in starting the way he did, Berkowitz pointed out that you can't reliably interpret the letter without talking about its spirit as well. That was the thing Skilling couldn't see. In the wake of Enron, there has been an overhaul of the securities laws. Enron is the reason we now have chief executives lining up to sign sworn certifications of their financial statements. But what made Enron possible was not a lack of rules. It was an unwillingness to think about regulation and responsibility in any but the most legalistic terms. Enron came out of a market boom in which we started mentally dividing our neighbors into Suckers and Players. The Players were the ones who could score big in the equity markets and the Suckers were those who couldn't, or didn't try. After Enron, those who go that route will be more cautious in interpreting the law. Can that prevent the next wave of scandals? No, because no reading of securities law is so careful that it avoids the Skilling trap: When you try to keep to the letter of the law while undermining the spirit, you are likely to violate the letter in the end.

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Speaker/Artist: bambooconspiracy
Video title: Rogue Christian Leaders
Category: Church and Ministry
Views: 1227
Submitted by: bamboo conspiracy