emperors without clothes

The Dow Jones and other indexes fell over two percent today in the midst of a growing and deepening "mistrust about Corporate America's top management and finances," reports the Reuters wire.

Investors' widening distrust helped overshadow a raft of robust economic data, including a new report on Monday that showed U.S. manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in two years in May. Wall Street's faith in corporate management has eroded after the implosion of energy trader Enron Corp., one of whose executives committed suicide on Jan. 25.

Faith misplaced? Where have these investors been up until now?

I worked for large corporations for many years and never had any illusions about the general competence of management, in my own companies or any others with which I became familiar. I was often simply astounded that things held together at all. Eventually I concluded that certainly within a corporation, and to a large extent even within an industry and throughout the business world, the old boy networks of small minds and smaller imaginations held each other up. The smart or imaginative people weren't let in, or certainly weren't let upstairs.

I fear the consequences for the country and the world of what appears to be a snowballing recognition of the emptiness at the top.