I hope this doesn't blow my New Dem credentials (on many issues at least) but I must confess that the Enron gÃ¶tterdÃ¤mmerung is filling me with no end of schadenfreude.
Partly, this is simply due to my belief that most energy deregulation is a bad idea. But more than that it stems from what always struck me as Enron's gargantuan corporate arrogance, best typified by their Ask Why ad campaign ...
It is a small word ...
but it can bring years
of conventional assumptions
to a jarring halt.
Find out how we're changing
the way industries think.
The ethos behind the campaign was best captured by this TV ad (needs Windows Media Player) which has a hapless man in a metal business suit laboriously walking through various cityscapes amidst spryer go-getters on the rapid rush to the global marketized utopia.
You can just hear "metalman" saying in a stilted, half-computerized monotone:
I am the welfare state; I am the old-fashioned, outmoded command economy relying on regulation and bureaucracy, immune to the liberating force of efficiencies and the invisible hand. Help... I am lame... I've fallen and I can't get up... Deregulate me... Please!!!
The point was that people who didn't buy into the Enron-ian model of Sis-Boom-Bah, rah-rah free-marketism were stodgy cowards who were just afraid to think anew, to ask why? The commercial fades out with a half-computerized, half-female voice repeating ... why, why, why, why ...
Well, of course, now it turns out that Enron was basically a house of cards. Its business model turned to be, if not a scam, then at least, shall we say, rather unworkable.
It seems these wise-asses weren't so sharp after all.
By the way, if want to check out the ad, which I strongly recommend, don't wait too long! I'm sure Enron's bummin' creditors will be there any day now to repossess the servers and every last pixel.
Why, why, why, why ...