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The Andersen collapse and its side effects



Like John Heelan, David ("Bert") Westbrook brings up the question of trust: "I agree with Cameron (and I grew up in Atlanta -- Powell, Goldstein is indeed a very fine firm). His important point is that capitalism requires a degree of trust. Because it works on the transmission of information, we place great reliance on the trustworthiness of the information. Though it may be less dependent on the transformation of information, direct government regulation requires if anything even more trust in both the wisdom and goodwill of officials. In the U.S. (and in Europe), most regulation of financial markets is in fact the regulation of the flow of information, that is, the construction of disclosure systems and so forth.

Incidentally, my former firm, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, was counsel for (i.e., wrote most of) the "Powers Report." Powers is the Dean of the University of Texas Law School, and was the chair of the special committee appointed by the Enron board of directors to find out what happened. It is available on the WSJ's website, I think. It is very well written, and highly recommended reading, if tough going for non-lawyers. I teach it".

My question: I was impressed by the performance of Dean Powers, but have WAISers become more or less trusting as a result of the Enron affair?

Ronald Hilton - 3/29/02


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