People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 05

February 02, 2003

New from LeftWord

 Signpost 6: Issues that Matter 

Enron Blowout 

Corporate Capitalism and Theft of the Global Commons 

Prabir Purkayastha and Vijay Prashad  

In one of the most spectacular bankruptcies of our times, the gas and energy giant Enron went bust in late 2001. Many thought that for India, this is the end of the Enron story, that we can simply get out of the disastrous Dabhol deal. They are wrong.

Did Enron, touted as a leading foreign direct investment (FDI) case, bring any capital into the project at all? What were the ‘errors’ in the contract, and how did each one of those errors benefit Enron? Why did Enron power, which was supposed to cost MSEB Rs 2.40 per unit, finally cost Rs 7.20? What has been the experience of privatisation in the power sector in the rest of the world? Are Enron’s sleazy business practices merely the result of the greed of a few corporate bosses? How did a company founded only in 1986 become, by 2000, a global giant claiming more than $100 billion in revenues? What ties bind the Bushes --- the father George H, along with sons George W, Marvin, Neil and Jeb --- and, indeed many others among the high and mighty in Washington, to Enron?

Power expert Prabir Purkayastha and commentator Vijay Prashad investigate Enron in India, as well as Enron’s global adventures. The authors show privatisation to be what it really is: theft of the commons by global corporations against the interests of the planet.

Prabir Purkayastha is an engineer and a science activist in the power, telecom and software sectors. He is one of the founding members of Delhi Science Forum and its Secretary. Vijay Prashad is Associate Professor and Director of International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, CT, USA.

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