It begins with the story of Samuel Insull, a poor boy from England, who started his career as Thomas Edison's right-hand man, then went on his own and became one of America's top industrialists. But when Insull's General Electric's energy empire collapsed during the Great Depression, the hitherto Great Man was denounced and prosecuted and died a pauper. Against that backdrop, the book introduces Ken Lay, a poor boy from Missouri who began his career as an aide to the head of Humble oil, now part of Exxon Mobil. Lay went on to become a Washington bureaucrat and energy regulator and then became the wunderkind of the natural gas industry in the 1980s with Enron.
To connect the lives of these two energy giants, Edison to Enron takes the reader through the flamboyant history of the American energy industry, from Texas wildcatters to the great pipeline builders to the Washington wheeler-dealers.
From the Reviews...
"This scholarly work fills in much missing history about two of America's most important industries, electricity and natural gas."
—Joseph A. Pratt, NEH-Cullen Professor of History and Business, University of Houston
"... a remarkable book on the political inner workings of the U.S. energy industry."
—Robert Peltier, PE, Editor-in-Chief, POWER Magazine
"This is a powerful story, brilliantly told."
—Forrest McDonald, Historian
Now in its third edition, this fully updated classic from James D. Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, Dwight R. Lee, and Tawni H. Ferrarini reflects on the recession and the progress that's been made since the crash; it offers insight into political processes and the many ways in which economics informs policy, illuminating our world and what might be done to make it better.
This book examines the way in which China's enterprise-entrepreneur-government relationship helps enterprises develop in a transitional market. In the appendix to this book, one of the authors, Ming Lu, provides evidence, based on data from listed companies, that having political connections can help enterprises enter the markets of provinces other than their place of registration. However, this political connection also distorts the market by giving the entrepreneurs more opportunities to develop their business. At the same time, those entrepreneurs who face interventions from the government also shoulder greater costs in the form of loss of psychological happiness. The inference of this book is that at some point in the foreseeable future, China will gradually build its market system and integrate its domestic markets, so that private enterprises will no longer rely so heavily on their political connections.
Fusing theories from political science, management and linguistics, Dannreuther and Perren assert that the idea of the small firm is an important discursive resource used by political actors to legitimise their actions, influence their citizens and help sustain regimes of accumulation. On top of this, the authors also empirically test their claims against 200 years of UK parliamentary debate, from the Industrial Revolution to the Blair government.
The political construction of the small firm is shown not only to provide rhetorical mechanisms to maintain periods of capitalist accumulation, but also to increase the relative autonomy of the state and to centralise power to elite politicians. For a period of 150 years up to the 1970s, the small firm was an unexplored presence, below the political radar and resonant with poor working standards and extreme forms of competition. During the so-called Fordist period from the 1930s, the small firm was seen as the dirty, out-dated, contrast to the clean, modern future represented by mass production and corporations. The perceived failure of Fordism led to the invention of the small firm and its presentation as an ideal political construct. By fabricating assertions of what small firms are and what they want, frequently out of conjecture, the authors of this book show how political elites have been able to advocate radical reformist agendas since the 1970s in the name of a phantom constituency.
Enron Ascending explains the shock of the company’s fall by recalling the astounding achievements of Enron’s birth, childhood, adolescence, and early maturity. It sets forth the once-celebrated but now-forgotten industry and innovation that caused the company and its reputation to soar stratospherically. At the same time, always conscious of the company’s fate, the book highlights throughout the developing habits of thought and behavior that later evolved into self-destructive acts of desperation and deceit.
Written fifteen years after the firm’s demise, Enron Ascending offers the long perspective of a uniquely positioned insider, Robert L. Bradley, Jr., the company’s director of public-policy analysis and Chairman Ken Lay’s personal speechwriter. The book also offers a library of previously unavailable information, drawn from Bradley’s innumerable corporate documents and unrepeatable interviews, which he collected in his capacity as the company’s prospective historian.
Most important, however, Enron Ascending offers an antidote to the unending stories, studies, and books about Enron that are presented as just-the-facts but are in reality shaped decisively by the worldview of their authors. Bradley shows, beyond dispute, that the early habits which set precedents for Enron’s history-making demise were directly contrary to the free-market behaviors and capitalist attitudes generally blamed for Enron’s fall.