the CAMP ENRON Report


CAMP ENRON:
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew's been smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.


For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

Submit Feedback To:
RonKsFeedbag at aol

Camp Enron Archives
01/01/2002 - 02/01/2002 02/01/2002 - 03/01/2002 03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002 04/01/2002 - 05/01/2002 05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003

NOTE to READERS:
(2) All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


OUR DEPARTMENTS:

the COGENT PROVOCATEUR:
free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading the tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.


For brief orientation, see this
Welcome to CP


CAMP ENRON:
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

OTHER GOOD STUFF:
Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

 
--- One Progressive Era, Coming Up ---

[Originally posted on The Fray, in re this Breakfast Table dialogue between David Brooks and Joe Klein -- with superficially-divergent opinions on who's right about what kind of story Enron is, and who gets to be the next Teddy Roosevelt.]

Brooks gets it. NYT gets it. George "Crisis of Capitalism" Will gets it. They don't yet get that they're all heralding the same big story. And of course everybody wants to skip to the end, like collapsing a gnarly mathematical expression to an elegant Q.E.D., but it's not in the cards.

Enron's multimodal, multinational scandals are part of a pattern of skid marks at a major turning point. [Only Sunday before last, though, the conservative consensus was "not much of a story".] With the nonlinear pendulum poised above the top of its natural arc, and a crew of geniuses working feverishly to rachet it higher, a big swing is coming down ... a Progressive Era, or a New Deal, or Something Wicked, or Something Completely Different. Enron is its timely harbinger.

As customary in the arc of history, a system emerged out of relative disorder, then the savvier players got together and gamed the daylights out of it. Institutional impropriety is now so fully normalized that none of our gauges read true. Fog on the windshield, steam under the hood, loose parts clattering to pavement, something dark and slippery oozing from who knows where ... faster. Faster!

Context: a reward-based system has slipped its value-added moorings. Billionaires lead the attack against income disparity. Industry, distracted by collapse in speculative "market cap", inadvertently destroys real capital in excess of a year's federal budget. Circuses of media excess front the breadlines of civics education. Lower quintiles are enlisted against their own interests -- 19% of households think they're in the top 1% -- while the best and the brightest aspire to careers of unjust enrichment. And the band plays on.

My guess, GWB will not play a TR, or FDR ... more likely a McKinley or Harding or Hoover. Bush's comfort zone is the intellectual bunker ... K.I.S.S., batten down the hatches, back to basics. Oblivious to the upheavals of the Sixties, Bush will just as easily miss out on the Ought's.

Who are the leaders, and what is the program? TBD. We are probably going to take a collective left turn somewhere up ahead, but it won't be a shortcut to any Old Left stomping grounds.

There is danger here for all concerned. A discarded watchword of the upper crust -- "enlightened self-interest" -- comes to mind. Reading too much into the Center-Left's victory over Marxism, the Right bet their birthright on a winner-take-all showdown. What happens when a populace fattened on self-indulgent ignorance wakes up and realizes "Hey, we've been had!"? What happens when a favored minority, steeped in rationalizing ideology of entitlement thicker than Soviet Marxism, realizes "We're losing it, boys!"?

And so, we live in interesting times. Faster!