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The Interconnectedness of Corporate Malfeasance. Posted on 08/04/2002.

In reading Linked, you develop a sensibility that *everything* is a network. And just as I'm reminding myself not to get carried away with such notions, because, really, the world is a more multifaceted place, along comes this diagram depicting the links between various elements in the current corporate misconduct game.
Thanks to David for posting it, and to Jeff for pointing it out to me.

7 comments so far. Add a comment.

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i just have to laugh when looking at that diagram. i really like the fact that renoir and monet both made it on there -- oooh, the scandal!

seriously, though -- i don't think there's any interesting connections laid out in the diagram that hasn't already been explored in the headlines. so, waskal and martha shared a broker. we knew that. and andersen was the auditor of both enron and msl omnimedia. we knew that too -- and so what? andersen was the auditor of record of hundreds of publicly traded companies.

the chart tells individual stories (ooh, worldcom floated ebbers $400 mil!) but the "connected" story here is weak. the hubby nodes are "bankrupt" and "congressional investigation." well, yeah. so?
Posted by michael @ 08/04/2002 11:15 PM PST [link to this comment]

Sure, it's kind of weak, though I think there are two strong points to it.

The first is the Hub that is Merrill Lynch. They've had the finger in many wayward pies.

The second are those cute little heart graphics between Waksal and both Stewarts.
Posted by peterme @ 08/05/2002 07:06 AM PST [link to this comment]

Maybe it's my personal bias, but diargams like this confuse me.

In a book, it is nice to have something like this layed out all together on a page, so that one can take about 10 minutes to figure out what's going on without flipping.

However, wouldn't it be simpler to break this diagram up into a series of smaller "graphs" which follow about two links out from the main centers of focus: Merrill, Martha/Sam, Enron. The nodes which glue two graphs together could be made clickable so to allow the user to jump from one to the other.

My point is that in the dynamic, non space constrained medium of the internet this would be a much faster way to take in the info.

... Or is the diagram drawn in this way to intentionally create an illusion of interconnectedness? I agree with Michael that it mostly it seems that auditors are the only "actors" holding the map together.

As far as the little hearts, it did grow to be fun to read the map while forming a criticism of it.
Posted by Alex_S @ 08/05/2002 08:09 AM PST [link to this comment]

Aw, c'mon! Since when didn't you know that all things, natural and social, are linked? And in any specific habitat, neighborhood or discipline the functional networks are absolute and essential to survival. Given this requirement of indispensability, each individual link can then be diagrammed as the Hub of the network. Are not we, each and every one of us, the center of our network?
Posted by BJMe @ 08/05/2002 09:12 AM PST [link to this comment]

ok -- i'll give you that the little hearts are really, really cute. were both stewarts involved with that guy? how, um, interesting.
Posted by michael @ 08/05/2002 10:27 AM PST [link to this comment]

Yes, I'm the guy who made the diagram. It evolved over time and that's why it's somewhat complicated. Initially, it was a "simple" Merrill/Martha-Stewart/ImClone graph, with a dash of Enron/ArthurAnderson. But that was back in June. Since then, additional news came out and I tried to fit it in in a reasonable way - although the earlier graph(s) tended to constrain its development. What was originally an easy read has deteriorated as more and more and more stuff has been crammed in - but that's part of the fun.

And yes, the hearts are an important and integral part of the diagram. Let's not forget that!

The diagram's message, if there is one, is that there are lots of insiders (analysts, investment bankers, CEOs) who have a tremendous advantage in the alleged "free market" that is Wall Street. Some of it is connections (watch the Jack Grubman story play out) and some is simple greed (e.g. the Rigases).

The diagram continues to be updated. It can be viewed at

Posted by Mark Poyser @ 08/07/2002 12:11 AM PST [link to this comment]

Readers who liked this diagram also liked the work of Mark Lombardi - fantastic hand-drawn, obsessivley researched diagrams of political influence:
Posted by Phil @ 08/07/2002 04:26 AM PST [link to this comment]

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