May 8, 2006

Monday 060508

Rest Day

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CrossFit Rockford - "Stick It" [video]


Charles Koch and private enterprise, Wall Street Journal.

Read and post thoughts to comments.



Posted by lauren at May 8, 2006 6:59 PM
Comments

Thank you. I enjoyed reading the article. Long Live Liberty!!

Comment #1 - Posted by: Skip Chase at May 7, 2006 7:46 PM

Coach, thanks for the article. thanks for all you do.

Comment #2 - Posted by: Rick A at May 7, 2006 8:06 PM

Excellent article. Thanks for making it available. It is great to read articles that reflect the best of our system, especially free markets. I have forwarded it to others I know will appreicate it.

Comment #3 - Posted by: Mark Konen at May 7, 2006 8:18 PM

Bitten by dog today. 7 stitches in left forefinger one day after coming back from a rest week! Talk about bad timing!

Comment #4 - Posted by: John Seiler at May 7, 2006 8:28 PM

Interesting read, Mr. Koch seems like the kind of open minded individual that would be willing to put himself through a CrossFit workout and enjoy it. Placing value on effort and efficiency over rapid profitability realizing that those things when put against the test of time are in fact profitable themselves seems in my eyes to be virtues. Wisdom I think I shall call this, yes wisdom.

"Oh whats that? It appears to be coming closer! What's the word, round, sounds like, round? OH GROUND yes GROUND its the GROUND I shall call you ground. Hello ground! SPLAT!" (A Whale meeting the ground; From: A hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy!)

Comment #5 - Posted by: Pierre Auge at May 7, 2006 10:16 PM

A pleasure to read about someone who has a passion for his craft, his work.
Having a passion and knowledge for something always pays of big time.

Have fun, Johan

Comment #6 - Posted by: Johan Nederhof at May 7, 2006 11:35 PM

A rest day question unrelated to today's essay assignment. Is there a CF recovery workout, for after contact sports? No doubt this should be on the Message Board, but I'm out of town and don't have my password etc with me, so thought I'd ask it here.

Rugby tournament last Saturday which went well (my team got to the final having not won a game in this tournament in the last 3 years). No particular injuries arising out of it, but the 45 year old body is generally sore and sorry. Tempting to just rest, but difficult to compete opponents in their 20's (and in some cases teens) if you do that.

Comment #7 - Posted by: John B at May 8, 2006 1:04 AM

John B (#7) How about a few cycles of the CFWU and a few run's through the Burgener warm-up. Light to moderate intensity movement along with some skill work should be a purposeful way to get an aching body moving.

Cheers, kempie

Comment #8 - Posted by: kempie at May 8, 2006 1:28 AM

What troubled me in this article was the second to last paragraph:

That task seems especially critical given that so many of the global superrich, like George Soros and Warren Buffett, finance institutions that undermine the very system of capitalism that made their success possible. Isn't this just the usual rich liberal guilt, I ask. "No," he says, "I think they simply haven't been sufficiently exposed to the ideas of liberty."

What? Did I miss something here? Who says that Soros and Buffett are undermining the system of capitalism? Koch? Or the reporter? Or is it just common knowledge? What are they doing that is opposed to Koch’s idea of liberty? Providing financing for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs? Advocating drug law reform? Opposing the very same Republican economic policies Koch criticized in the previous paragraph?

I wasn’t particularly surprised with the rest of the article. Well if I happened to be the CEO of a large corporation I would tell people that their earnings were proportional to their marginal productivity too. Sounds like a great motivator. And I would also find some arguments against additional regulations that might affect my cost of capital. Just more self-interest.

Comment #9 - Posted by: silly_rabbit at May 8, 2006 1:56 AM

Workin’ in the field till you get your back burned
Workin’ `neath the wheels till you get your facts learned.
Baby I got my facts learned real good right now.
You better get it straight darling:
Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be kings,
And a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything.

Bruce Springsteen, song "Badlands"
from Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Can't say it any better.

Comment #10 - Posted by: sgt feather at May 8, 2006 2:13 AM

Kempie - thanks for the suggestion. Getting more familiar with the Burgener warm-up is one of those things that always seemed like a good idea if only I could get around to it, and the CFWU covers enough to be valuable in itself (tougher than many people's workouts it often seems).

BTW, am I right in thinking you're a fellow Australian or at least in Australia?

Thanks again,
John Biddle

Comment #11 - Posted by: John B at May 8, 2006 3:00 AM

Team Peleliu

21 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
3 pullups
18 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
6 pullups
15 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
9 pullups
12 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
12 pullups
9 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
15 pullups
6 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
18 pullups
3 DB thrusters, 35 lb DBs
21 pullups

Capt E - 21:09
Lt E - 14:31
Doc B - 11:00, 40 lb DBs
Lt D - 18:38
Lt M - 11:26

Comment #12 - Posted by: Mulcahy at May 8, 2006 3:15 AM

John B - Yep slightly dislocated Aussie indeed. Been in the UK for 4 years or so now but will eventually end up back in Sydney town. Where are you?

Comment #13 - Posted by: kempie at May 8, 2006 3:19 AM

Kempie - Laos, also for the last 4 and a bit years. Originally a Brisbane boy. Some from down your way might query how I can tell the difference.

Comment #14 - Posted by: John B at May 8, 2006 4:20 AM

What an excellent article on free enterprise and entrepreneurship. I find it amusing when many small businesses struggle to form themselves into the rigid model of big corporations while big corporations struggle to get those small business attributes of ownership and creativeness. What a "pair of ducks." ;)

Anyway, Mr. Koch is just one more example of what can be achieved with capitalism and free markets and a stubbornness to submit to the status quo...

Harrumph! Here, here!!


Comment #15 - Posted by: tenacious "D" at May 8, 2006 4:25 AM

Oh, and it's all the democrats' fault...whatever the problem was in the article. :)

Comment #16 - Posted by: tenacious "D" at May 8, 2006 4:29 AM

Unrelated question on pregnant women.

Watching Annie rip through SAT's XFIT was inspiring especially considering that she was working for two.

I bragged on her behalf and had a friend who has two children tell me that she takes a strong risk in depriving her child oxygen as her BP goes over 150 and she is depriving her own blood of oxygen. He said a Doctor told him that a women's heartrate should never exceed 140-150 while she is pregnant.

Is this true?

Comment #17 - Posted by: dave at May 8, 2006 5:57 AM

Great capitalist.

Terrible environmentalist.

Comment #18 - Posted by: matt at May 8, 2006 5:59 AM

I can't get the "stick it" video to run, just a blank white screen. Anyone else having this trouble?

Comment #19 - Posted by: Hampton at May 8, 2006 6:55 AM

Charles Koch is definitely an interesting guy, and his success at Koch industries is admirable. In the article, it says he's not too well-known--is that true? I certainly know about him, and he might not be as visible as Buffett or Soros, but he's hardly invisible. He funded the Cato Institute, he's behind the Reason Foundation, and he's a huge backer of Sam Brownback. I have huge respect for him as a businessman, although I don't agree with all of his politics.

For instance, I like the idea that new laws ought to be subjected to more rigorous questioning than they are now, but I don't agree that fostering a "culture of prosperity" should be the only litmus test.

Most interesting quote: "Laws and principles that facilitate the advancement of peace, prosperity and social progress are as immutable as the laws that work in science." I have to think about that one some more.

Thanks for the read, coach, and have a good rest day everyone!

Comment #20 - Posted by: bcf at May 8, 2006 7:04 AM

the video takes about 5 or 6 minutes to download and you have to have quicktime.

Comment #21 - Posted by: tim at May 8, 2006 7:08 AM

Great article. I must admit, before clicking the link, I thought his "industry" was referring to Heckler & Koch, the gun manufacturer. This man is very clever in the ways of keeping himself in low-profile for his business to thrive. It kind of contradicts the way we see industry today.

Comment #22 - Posted by: Joe at May 8, 2006 7:17 AM

I've long believed that primary texts are food, and their derivatives--the bulk of the business section in any bookstore--are second-hand pap with the nutritional content of cardboard. The people I see reading lots of the second-hand thinking do a lot of stupid things.

Schumpeter, Johnson and Hayek. That is food.

Most of this stuff isn't as complicated as people believe. There are just so many fools out there flapping their mouths for attention and money that it's hard sometimes remembering the basics.

Comment #23 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 8, 2006 7:43 AM

Coach

Thanks for coming up North - you and your crew were outstanding! You were true and professional ambassadors for not only CrossFit but the US as well. The self-effacing manner with which all your lessons were taught really reflected well on the pride and straight-up attitude you take with CrossFit. Everyday that I walked out of the gym after finishing a days worth of seminar - I felt more confident and like I had learned something new and invaluable. Mind you that last day my legs were like jelly.
Thanks again for the opportunity, I hope it becomes an annual event.

Comment #24 - Posted by: Kevin P at May 8, 2006 9:25 AM

interesting article. unfortunately most of our work force just "takes" without giving back or thinking about the company that is supplying them with a paycheck. Possibly this attitude is a product of the environment however our society is no longer based on "survival of the fitest", especially whan you can make money by sitting at home, unmarried, with multiple kids, and no job! It used to be the strong surive and multiply, or the innovative survive, now it is who can work the system the best, or who can get the ACLU to support them in a lawsuit, or who can demand rights in this country even when they are not a legal citizen!

It seems that Mr. Koch is on to something however is it too late, is our society to far gone? I sure hope not.

Comment #25 - Posted by: gina at May 8, 2006 9:29 AM

Anyone notice that CF Rockford is on a corner featuring "Sundae" Drive?

Sort of ironic. Or would that be absurd? Just a coincidence?

One ponders when one turns 44.

Comment #26 - Posted by: Ron Nelson at May 8, 2006 9:32 AM

Hi all,
Workout
{Pull-upx20; Rope jumpx200; Ring dipx20; RJx200; DB swing (2 35#er's)x20; RJx200}x3. Eight misses in the RJ and 16,4 for the third set of RD's.
Duration 21:40
Bdw. 82 kilos.
Deads and presses tomorrow...

Comment #27 - Posted by: Jonathan Jensen at May 8, 2006 9:33 AM

one last thought on the article......easy to stay a private company when you walk into a 177million dollar company which is already solely owned by your dad. Harder for the little guy with a big idea but no family money to stay private.....just a thought

rested yesterday (too busy to do wod) will do wod today and go for a 3 mile run

Comment #28 - Posted by: gina at May 8, 2006 9:37 AM

#26
And we're next door to a Pizza Shop! Our people know all about avoiding temptation.

Comment #29 - Posted by: dan colson at May 8, 2006 11:06 AM

Dave #17
Miss Annie herself told me that she does not push herself as hard now that she is pregnant, and does not get her heart rate up as high as she did before she was pregnant. Her doctor gave her advice similar to what your friend got. That said, she can do more work at a lower heart rate than most folks can when redlining, so your friend is making unwarranted assumptions about her heart rate being too high.

Comment #30 - Posted by: Dan MacD at May 8, 2006 11:12 AM

#10-Amen.

OK article, totally agree about public companies being a breeding ground for lawyers and lawsuits. If we really wanted to start fixing things, we'd start throwing those bastards overboard.

Comment #31 - Posted by: rpo at May 8, 2006 11:14 AM

What an excellent and timely article. It nicely illustrates my comments on oil in a couple of posts for the last rest day.

How nice to be handed a $177M company, especially an oil company on the verge of the big OPEC production squeeze. No wonder Koch loves free markets!

And that is why I am not a fan of free market capitalism. It becomes the worst of monopolistic practices. I might have been a free-marketeer, too, if only my dad had been more thoughtful.

In my book, the opposite of socialism is capitalism, not monopolism.

And what did Koch do with his immense profits ripped off from the public? Did he invest back in the oil business? Well, maybe a little -- jet fuel, asbestos. But he invested big time by acquiring Dixie Cups, Georgia Pacific (a record-setting acquisition), Brawny Paper Towels. (He seems to be drawn to paper.)

What such wheeler-dealers are doing is bidding up business unit valuations at the price of innovation. Companies that responsibly set aside seed money for new product ventures get gobbled up, and the deal makers convert the seed money into their private family fortunes. Publically held companies are extremely vulnerable, in part just because of the screwy way we keep books. This disease of acquisitions is creating a hidden inflation, not yet registering in the CPI. It is at least immoral, if not criminal. Thanks, Milkin.

And so here come the Japanese: Electronics, cameras, autos, steel.

In Koch's case, it started with a cartel squeeze on competition. But however it begins, it spreads like a cancer into other markets.

These predatory practices might end someday in a resurrection of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, lying fallow since the Reagan administration. And my favorite prisident, too!

Comment #32 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 8, 2006 11:26 AM

What are the post-workout stretches?

Comment #33 - Posted by: Alan at May 8, 2006 11:37 AM

just got back from a 3 mile run....have been doing CF WOD religiouly with the CFWU and a few other body weight strength exercises since April 11th of this year......no running other than what the WOD prescribes.....cant believe the improvement in my running (i hate to run!) and the increased leg strenght I felt during the run......thanks Coach!!!!

Comment #34 - Posted by: gina at May 8, 2006 11:38 AM

nevermind wrong day.

Comment #35 - Posted by: alan at May 8, 2006 11:38 AM

Here is the Marine "CORPS" obstacle challenge course we did for those who were asking: Two competitors at a time.
Event 1: Pugil Stick Joust. Loser has to do 10 pushups while the winner continues. Then he/she can continue.
Event 2: 12 foot wall climb using a rope.
Event 3: 6 hurdles, 30 inches high.
Event 4: 12 foot cargo net climb.
Event 5: Tire run, 12 tires.
Event 6: 50lb sack carry of 20 yards.
Event 7: Run about 75 yards around course.
Event 8: Balance beam walk, about 35 feet.
Event 9: High Bar (4ft) jump.
The course is all continuous, no breaks.

Each time a competitor could not do an exercise, or faulted by falling off beam, missing tire, knocking down hurdle etc., they had to do 10 pushups. Fastest time for course was about 1 minute, 26 seconds by Jon. Not a long course, but tapped us out physically. Could definitely be changed into a better course for future challenges. Fun though. Thanks Marines!

Comment #36 - Posted by: Jeremy at May 8, 2006 12:19 PM

Re: Jeff #32: I couldn't agree more or be more surprised to hear this thinking expressed by a Glassman. The economic tragedy of our time is the way economic interests have so overpowered the political system that they have eliminated real competition in so many markets. The legitimate role of government is to try to level the playing field and open up competition.

Comment #37 - Posted by: groon at May 8, 2006 1:40 PM

Thanks Milken indeed. For one thing, the competitive telecoms and cable industry might never have taken off without the junk bond financing he pioneered. If this was Jeff Glassman's world we'd still be using the pre breakup AT&T for phone service and paying long distance by the mile. We would also be restricted to over the air VHF and UHF on the TV. We wouldn't be having this discussion because we wouldn't be using the Internet, though some of use might be using proprietary phone company terminals offering a severly limited set of "infoservices" that look like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minitel

Oh, and our cell phones would probably be the size of car batteries.

Fortunately, that's not the world we live in. I'm personally delighted by the innovations brought to me by wheeler-dealers. Sticking with the telecommunications theme: I've got Verizon expensively tearing up the neighborhood right now installing fiber optics to the home so they can offer me affordable 30 Megabit Internet service and digital TV in order to remain competitive with the debt fuelled wheeler-dealers at Comcast and out in front of up and coming wheeler-dealers like Clearwire who deliver wireless broadband Internet service. Clearwire, by the way is run by Craig McCaw who worked closely with Milken in the '80s to grow Cellular One which became AT&T Wireless. If you don't think what Cellular One did was innovative or what McCaw is currently doing with Clearwire, then we've got some definitional problems. Same goes for the original MCI, another big Milken client along with a slew of other companies.

Comment #38 - Posted by: Brian Mulvaney at May 8, 2006 2:08 PM

I love it when Jeff and Brian square off on rest days. We're all better off for it (no sarcasm intended).

Mike

Comment #39 - Posted by: Mike Minium at May 8, 2006 3:03 PM

Doing a 5 on/2 off split with the WOD; did Saturday's WOD today

30 double unders/ scaled down to 20 w/ one single skip in between

30 wall ball shots w 10 lb (heaviest my gym has- lame!)

25 push-ups (still laying off pull-ups while bicep injury heals)

18:34

Did 15 X 5 light towel pulldowns after WOD

Comment #40 - Posted by: Nick at May 8, 2006 3:09 PM

Hey-

Rest day - technique day
CFWU x 5
Jump rope
HSPU
Burgener WU
C&J
Power Snatch
250m x 4 rower

I lost the clean at 180lb while pulling myself down under it and it made alot of noise when the bar hit the platform and I did a backward somersault. It wasn't bad except for hitting the metal frame of the platform with my aft.

It certainly woke up the customers.

Good luck in your training,

-K

Comment #41 - Posted by: Kevin Rogers at May 8, 2006 3:39 PM

Great article about Mr. Koch. I was fortunate enough to receive a Charles G. Koch Fellowship from his non-profit organization. His ideas about liberty, knowledge, and decentralized management are similar to the values and work practices of the Marine Corps. As a second lieutenant, I must say that the Marines share a similar work efficiency and view of decentralized leadership with Mr. Koch and his business.

Comment #42 - Posted by: Mark at May 8, 2006 4:45 PM

Good to know that Ayn Rand lives. She wrote a book "Altas Shrugged" in the 1950's. It is a book about a pure capitilism and was very influential.

A key to understanding capitalism is it's amoral. Whether guns or vaccines are being traded there is no right or wrong. However, even the staunchest capitalist will invariably pass a moral judgement on some trade e.g.drugs, porn, restrict it's trade, establish a heirarchy of law enforcement, drive up the price of the elict trade, and make the elicit trade even more desirable thus ensuring it's perpetuation, and bending capitalism to his/her own moral bias--at public expense.

Pure capitalism may be the best world possible, but it's not a very pretty one. What's worse, the "moral" capitalism of this country is truly ugly.

Comment #43 - Posted by: Ken Davis at May 8, 2006 6:55 PM

bw198
44yr
eliptical 40 min
Abs: flutters, med ball toss, L hold and 3 min. plank.

Comment #44 - Posted by: Rick A at May 8, 2006 8:57 PM

Koch's business philosophy is typical of many but if you are looking for a REALLY interesting libertarian who also happens to be a successful businessman turn to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, the $4 billion natural foods retailer. That guy rocks!

Comment #45 - Posted by: carl at May 9, 2006 4:14 AM

Did Painstorm today
Porch Rx'd 43:37 Should have observed rest day!

Comment #46 - Posted by: Dan S at May 9, 2006 8:22 AM

Carl: You'll enjoy this matchup between Mackey and Milton Friedman and T.J. Rogers on the social responsibility of business if you haven't seen it:

http://www.reason.com/0510/fe.mf.rethinking.shtml

Comment #47 - Posted by: Brian Mulvaney at May 9, 2006 10:06 AM

Hey, Brian (#38)!

Now you seem to be on the side of anti-trust actions. Telecom OK, Oil no, eh?

It’s a shame when corporations act out so irresponsibly. They just provide fodder for the anti-corp lefts (i.e., most dems.)

The justice department filed suit to break-up AT&T in 1972. They reached an agreement in 1982, and it was finalized by the court in 1984.

Five years later, and for acts quite unrelated to the shattering of AT&T, in March, 1989 Milken was indicted on 98 counts of RICO violations and such things, maybe all committed in the '80s. In a big plea bargain deal, he copped a guilty plea to some other charges, and was sentenced to 10 years. He bought it down to two years for about $600 million, agreeably keeping a family fortune of about $700 million.

Milken used junk bonds. He didn’t invent them. And he had nothing at all to do with the breakup of AT&T or its high tech outgrowth.

Milken, like Al Capone, was a big time crook who got sent up on charges quite tangential to his crimes.

What Milken did was use his knowledge of bookkeeping to liquidate public corporations through a series of leveraged deals in which the company was progressively drained of its assets. As Milken became aware, American business practices place no value on intellectual property, and book value is far below liquidation value.

So, the assets went to the deal makers. Seed money went first. A company that had saved for new product development was a pigeon for the takeover.

Then credit rating was sold off in big chunks. At the final stage, all the intermediate “risk takers” and bond dealers had been paid off.

The target was left thoroughly drained in favor of hapless holders of the lowest rated junk, it’s credit rating was the worst possible (is M-Blank still used?), and it was struggling to keep afloat. Many went under. S&L managers stepped up in the end to buy the last garbage bonds wholesale, and then to foist them off on their vulnerable depositors in the S&Ls, the last in the queue.

That’s not why the S&Ls went under, though. That’s a different story that has to do with other bookkeeping nonsense, but no more to do with Milken than he with the AT&T breakup.

Al Capone spend eight years in jail for income tax evasion, where his syphilis bloomed. Michael Milken did 22 months for relatively minor security violations, where his prostate cancer developed. The real similarity is that both are arch criminals. Milken out-stole Capone, but to Milken’s credit, he was a serial killer only of public corporations.

For groon (#37):

I don’t agree with you that there is an economic tragedy. Nor do I agree that economic interests have overpowered the political system, unless by that you mean that capitalism and the market place have shown some leverage over populism and socialism. We could use a lot more of that.

Our economy is doing surprisingly well in spite of the diseases of acquisitions and take-overs, MBAs, the lack of new product investment, and the miserable petroleum market.

I disagree, too, that the government has any role in leveling the playing field. It’s the tilt that drives our economy, and that makes everyone better off than he would be on a leveled field. That concept is pure socialist bunk. The only way the playing field ever gets level is when everyone’s broke, save for the socialists in charge.

And I’m not so sure the government’s role is to open up competition. I am sure I don’t want bureaucrats coming anywhere near making such decisions on a day-to-day basis.

On the other hand, I want our government to wake up to the fact that the oil business is being throttled at the well and to fix it.

And I want the government to realize that Islamic terrorism comes from Muslim clerics, and to fix it.

And I want the government to lay blame for the invasion of illegal immigrants on the Mexican government policies, and to fix it.

And I want the government to realize that the illegal drug problem is economic, and to fix it.

We let problems fester, and wind up in the perpetual, unstable state of either throwing the ignoramuses out or giving them tenure.

Comment #48 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 9, 2006 12:49 PM

Good to read the article, but knew alot about Koch as my dad works for the former G-P. It is the largest mill in the south and employees thousands that keeps the little small towns and people in the area employeed and surviving. As this is the only large corporation or job opportunity for hunderds of miles (all other business are always somehow dependent on the mill), this could potentially destroy an area. Am anxious to see how his acquisition is going to effect the communities and workers once everyone is fully trained in the "Koch" method of business. Many rumors abound about how many will now loose their jobs or be forced into early retirement. Could absolutely ruin an entire region and force more on "government paychecks" instead of creating more jobs and opportunities for our working class citizens. On the other hand, the mill could flourish and many keep their jobs longer, it's just a waiting game.

Comment #49 - Posted by: mo at May 10, 2006 6:13 AM

Good Morning Jeff (#48):

I would find your economics arguments more compelling if they weren't conflated with oil production, Islamic terror, Mexican immigration and drug prohibition. Are you prepping us for Glassman's universal theory of what's wrong with the world and how Government can fix it?

Regarding Milken:

Of course he didn't invent junk bonds. Milken did his homework and determined that the risk premium for non-investment grade debt was greatly disproportionate to the actual rates of default. In other words, he identified an enormous market inefficiency in how capital was allocated and built an organization to exploit that opportunity by matching up investors and borrowers on terms that were beneficial to both. Entrepreneurs with big ideas and previously limited access to capital benefited hugely and built major new industries. These include companies built by Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Craig McCaw, Barry Diller, Summer Redstone, Gerald Levin, Bert Roberts and others. You'd be hard pressed to turn on the TV, visit a major website, make a phone call or watch a movie without interacting with one of the resulting businesses.

This Forbes prison interview with Milken from 1992 is a good read:

http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/1992/0316/078.html

The man was a financial genius who significantly changed the American financial landscape. (I think this was for the good; you clearly disagree.) Junk bonds were just one of the instruments he worked with, but their importance is not to be underestimated in supporting economic growth which disproportionately comes from non-investment grade companies.

I don't buy the trumped up RICO charges. I think this was more about Rudy Guliani's political ambitions than about fraud and malfeasance. We are seeing a very similar pattern today with Elliot Spitzer and his pursuit of AIG.

I like David Frum's 1990 retrospective:

"The Drexel era was one of the great creative moments in the history of American finance. Never before have new companies found it so easy to raise capital; never before had corrupt and stupid managers been less secure. But, as always, the greedy and the credulous turned a cleaver and useful innovation into first a fad and then a craze. The result was, as it always is, that sharp market correction known as a crash. In other words, what happened is exactly what advocates of open financial markets should have expected: With the usual noise, mess, and confusion, we are stumbling toward the efficient outcome. "

(http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n5_v42/ai_8782359/print)

And on a similar note, I encourage you to have a look at this "Decade of Greed" piece from Reason's Feb '93 issue:

http://reason.com/9302/fe.dk.gekko.shtml


Regarding Anti-Trust:

I think much Federal anti-trust action is irrelevant at best and counter-productive at worst and serves mostly to crystallize market dominance and introduce wildly unnecessary levels of regulatory involvement. Given a chance, the market does a better job of promoting competition than most government intervention. Google is doing today to Microsoft what the DOJ never could have.

Can't comment on your anti-trust prescription for Big Oil as I don't know what it is. I do think you have a disconcerting faith that the guvmint can "fix" things for us.

Comment #50 - Posted by: Brian Mulvaney at May 10, 2006 11:39 AM

It's interesting that some posters feel that inheriting $177 million invalidates his success. Just to put it in perspective, to take a $177mm company to $60 billion, he has grown his company by about 33,000% in just under 40 years. How many people could do that with an inheritance of any amount?

Comment #51 - Posted by: Stephen Francis at May 10, 2006 1:50 PM
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