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The Media's Fraudulent Accounting of Business Scandals

Alex Epstein

Presented at: OCON 2007

Date: Jul 06, 2007

In the late 1980s Drexel-Burnham Lambert was one of the most exciting, profitable companies in America. In the late 1990s Enron had earned a similar status. Yet both companies collapsed, just a few years after reaching stratospheric heights, amid scandal and infamy. According to traditional accounts, both companies fell due to hubris, greed and fraud. But Alex Epstein demonstrates that these accounts contain serious flaws and, in some cases, are outright unjust. They exaggerate and sometimes fabricate the sins of the companies, while virtually ignoring their productive achievements—and ignoring the role that the media and the government played in hastening the companies' downfalls. In telling the untold stories of Drexel and Enron, along with other stories of business collapses, Mr. Epstein explains how false philosophic ideas caused so many reporters and intellectuals to get these stories so wrong.

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