As the November 7 election is approaching, polls show Democrats running ahead of Republicans in the US. As father, the 82-year-old former president said he hates to think what life would be like for his son, if the Democrats win control of Congress in the upcoming general election. President Bush gently but surely admonished his father for such a comment his father had made. Although a power shift would end up with a political nightmare for Bush, this episode may offer us a moment to muse the father-and-son relationship and where his present fame and status stem from.
Also, as its collapse in December 2001 marked an epoch in corporate scandal in a highly effective market economy, the Enron case finally ended up sentencing its former CEO Jeffrey Skilling to 24 years and 4 months in prison for fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors for trying to fool investors into believing Enron was financially healthy before it crashed. Skilling, however, showed no remorse. Rather, he stoically said, “I believe I’m innocent. In the long run, we’ll prevail.” I’d like to note that Enron’s gamble on future energy prices resulted in losing money and it created a network of dubious “partnerships” to disguise the loss, as was the case of a true story, Serpent on the Rock.
The notable fallouts: Firstly, the US Congress passed a tough new law, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which imposes stricter rules on auditors and makes corporate directors criminally liable for lying about their accounts. Secondly, the case along with a wave of scandals of WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia and Tyco moved the balance of power away from company boards towards investors. Thirdly, ethics class became an integral part of MBA programs, including Harvard and Wharton. Fourthly, more than 4,000 employees lost their jobs and fortune, including their retirement funds, and investors lost billions. Last but not least, the case damaged the reputation of corporate America.
The afore-mentioned two anecdotes of this week incidentally dovetail with the following stories. Enjoy them and have a terrific weekend, you all!
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.
The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family, and for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives. The wise parent realizes that every day the building blocks are being laid for the child's future. Let's be wise builders and role models.
A city boy, Rodney, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day the farmer drove up and said, “Sorry, son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.”
Rodney replied, “Well, then, just give me my money back.”
The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”
Rodney said, “OK then, at least give me the donkey.”
The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?”
Rodney, “I’m going to raffle him off.”
Farmer, “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!”
Rodney, “Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he is dead.”
A month later the farmer met up with Rodney and asked, “What happened with that dead donkey?”
Rodney, “I raffled him off. I sold 5000 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $900.”
Farmer, “Didn’t anyone complain?”
Rodney, “Just the guy who won. So, I gave his two dollars back.”
Rodney grew up and eventually became the chairman of HIH and One.Tel. Rodney Adler, an Australian businessman, was sentenced to four and a half years jail in 2005 for his role in the collapse of HIH Insurance. His criminal charges were disseminating false information in order to support HIH’s share price and lying to obtain HIH funds to support his own business interests.
그 아버지에 다른 자식
11월 7일의 선거는 다가오는 데 여론조사 결과는 미 민주당이 공화당을 앞서고 있음을 보여주고 있습니다. 82세의 전직 대통령은 만약 다가오는 총선에서 민주당이 의회를 장악하는 데 성공한다면 아버지로서 자기 아들의 신세가 어떻게 될지 생각하기 싫다고 말했답니다. 자기 아버지의 그 같은 코멘트에 대해 부시 대통령은 점잖게 그러나 확실하게 아버지를 꾸짖었습니다. 권력 이동은 부시 대통령에게 정치적 악몽이 되기는 하겠지만, 이러한 얘기는 우리로 하여금 부자 관계와 현재 부시 대통령이 누리는 명성과 지위의 원천에 대하여 한 번 곰곰이 생각해보도록 해줍니다.
그리고, 2001년 12월의 엔론사 도산이 고도로 효율적인 시장 경제상 기업 스캔들의 신기원을 이뤘던 것처럼 엔론 사건은 마침내 제프리 스킬링 전 CEO가 회사가 도산될 때까지 투자자들이 엔론사가 재무적으로 건실하다고 믿도록 속이기 위하여 사기, 음모, 내부자 거래 및 감사인에 대한 위증 등을 한 혐의로 24년 4개월의 징역을 선고하는 것으로 끝이 났습니다. 그러나, 스킬링은 아무런 반성의 기미를 보이지 않았습니다. 오히려, 그는 “나는 죄가 없다고 생각한다. 결국 우리가 승리할 것이다.”고 태연히 말했습니다. 장래의 에너지 가격에 대한 엔론사의 도박은 손실로 귀착됐고, 실화소설 “프루덴셜의 뱀”의 경우처럼 그러한 손실을 감추기 위해 수상한 “파트너쉽” 망을 만들어 냈다는 점에 주목하기 바랍니다.
주목할 부산물들: 첫째, 미 의회는 감사인에게 보다 엄격한 룰을 강요하고 회계처리에 관한 기업 이사들의 위증에 대해 형사적 책임을 묻는 까다로운 신법 싸베인즈-