Brian Holmes on Sun, 10 Feb 2002 19:37:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Enron's Matrix

A wonderful coincidence in names, or perhaps what Hegel would have called
the ruse of reason, links the popular film Matrix, with its Baudrillardean
simulacra-theme, to the popular disaster of Enron, the occult engine of the
virtual economy that sucked all our blood in the 1990s. The matrix, as any
movie-going adolescent could guess, is a computer that adjusts reality to
serve the needs of a few very powerful postmodern vampires. The endless
numbers churned by this machine may have proved Hegel's old dictum, that
the rational is real. But does anyone still believe that the real is

_Hard Money, Strong Arms And 'Matrix' 
How Enron Dealt With Congress, Bureaucracy_

They called it "the matrix" -- a computer program that brought a scientific
dimension to Enron's effort to seduce politicians and sway
With each proposed change in federal regulations, lobbyists punched details
into a computer, allowing Enron economists in Houston to
calculate just how much a rule change would cost. If the final figure was
too high, executives used it as the cue to stoke their vast
influence machine, mobilizing lobbyists and dialing up politicians who had
accepted some of Enron's millions in campaign
"It was a new thing to be able to quantify the regulatory risk," said
economist Gia Maisashvili, who helped Enron develop the system.
"We were the pioneers."
The matrix illustrates the brash, calculating methods that Enron managers
used to play Washington politics. The company that made
headlines by erasing rules and ignoring convention in the business world
applied the same principles in Congress, state capitals and the
administration, bragging that its shrewd political tactics blew past
customary constraints.
Enron's lobbying techniques grew so aggressive that a key member of
Congress reportedly exploded in anger when the company's
chief executive pressed him on deregulation matters. They began, however,
with a vigorous application of the most time-proven
method: lavishing campaign money on politicians.... [snip]

By Joe Stephens
Washington Post
Sunday, February 10, 2002

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