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The Enron Collapse

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Created: February 7, 2002
Latest Update: February 7, 2002

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The People: Andrew Fastow

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, February 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Andrew Fastow: Former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Enron

This is the second in a series of files based on several articles that struggle with explaining to us who the actual people are who took part in the Enron Collapse. Just as the lawyer interviews clients and comes to know the stories about what happened in order to adequately argue his/her case, the sociologist needs to know these local narratives to adequately study the combination of agency and structural context that led to the ultimate social problem under discussion. There is considerable interdependence between the actions, behaviors, and motivations of the individuals involved and the corporate and social climate in which their interpersonal relations were acted out. Although local stories, such as we look at here, may not provide data that will enter our arguments, they do provide a background that permits us to understand those whose validity claims we must judge.

The discussion topics below are based on THE FALL OF ENRON: Former Enron Exec Expected to Stay Silent By David Streitfeld and Jeff Leeds. Los Angeles Times. February 7, 2002. At p. A 1. backup

  1. What is the significance of Fastow's argue with a cabbie over a seventy cent tip?

    Consider these excerpts: "The last time Andrew S. Fastow got in a public brawl about money, it was with a cabdriver and concerned a 70-cent tip. The cabbie got so upset he punched Fastow in the face." and " Overall, according to Enron, Fastow made about $30 million from LJM. That's in addition to the $23.4 million he made in stock sales in 1999 and 2000. / That's a lot of money even by the standards of the late-'90s boom, especially to a guy who would be willing to confront a cabbie over pocket change. In that 1985 Chicago incident, which was confirmed by a Fastow spokesman, Fastow expected a driver to give him 70 cents in change. The driver claimed he couldn't, so Fastow took back $1 and replaced it with the 30 cents due. The cabbie, who had previously been suspended 14 times, threw a punch, for which he was suspended again."

    Goes to credibility and character. Martins asked about why the court system goes to records. Records establish patterns of behavior. More on this soon. Meanwhile ask questions of this article as I did of the one on the Congressional Committee

    Here are some possibilities:

    1. Why is Fastow described as having a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde character? How does the cabbie story contribute to that? Is the cabbie story a resort to records? Whose record is it? And what kind? How do you suppose the paper knew about it?

    2. Would Fastow's identity, as his character is described in this article, fit into a colonial pattern? Would he likely feel that he was entitled to the profits from someone else's labor? Would he likely share an ideology that emphasized equality and social justice?

    3. Does his character seem to fit with some of the principles of democracy and capitalism, that profits are permitted to individuals so that there will be venture capital accumulated to turn back into investments to create new jobs and growth and improve the productivity of the whole community?

    4. How do you think I would conceptually link each of these questions to a sociological analysis of what we should learn from and do about the Enron collapse?