Criminals And Moralists Working Together

While looking into into the Enron CO2 trading swindle I found this interesting tit-bit.

The expressive term 'Baptist-bootlegger' derives from the days of prohibition. Under prohibition bootleggers and those who transported and supplied illegal alcohol made fortunes. One such entrepreneur was Joseph Kennedy whose second son, John, became US President in 1961. The bootleggers had allies in the Baptists and other teetotalists, who believed that alcohol was a deadly threat to the social order, and had worked for decades to get prohibition onto the statute books. The Baptists provided the political cover and the bootleggers pocketed the proceeds. In public the two groups maintained a great social distance from each other.

Now Enron had positioned itself at the centre of an awesome Baptist-bootlegger coalition. The gargantuan rents which Enron energetically sought could be realized only if the Kyoto Protocol became established as part of US and international law. Ken Lay, Enron's CEO saw Enron as not only making billions from sales of the natural gas which was to displace coal as the preferred fuel under the Kyoto commitments, but he realised that as the main if not the only international and domestic trader in the new barter world of carbon credits, Enron could realise hitherto unimagined wealth. Such credits, of course, would only become bankable pieces of paper if governments, particularly the US Government, established and policed a global policy of decarbonisation under which a global tax on carbon was to be enforced.

As the movement to establish the Kyoto Protocol developed momentum, it was necessary for Ken Lay to build up alliances with the green movement including Greenpeace. A 1998 letter, signed by Lay and a few other bigwigs asked President Clinton, in essence, to harm the reputations and credibility of scientists who argued that global warming was an overblown issue, because these individuals were standing in Enron's way. The letter, dated Sept. 1, asked the president to shut off the public scientific debate on global warming, which continues to this date.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 10.08.07 at 08:07 AM


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