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Was Sam Insull the System Architect of the IOUs-AF and the First Victim of the Great Depression?

Jose Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio | Jun 16, 2009

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As I am researching on complex systems and trying to come up with examples of their architects, I started to search the Internet for supporting information on Sam Insull as the architect of the Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) Architecture Framework (IOUs-AF). This is one remarkable quote that I found:
Power Superpower (Samuel Insull). Born in London, began working for Edison at 21. Eventually turned Chicago Edison into ComEd. He monopolized public utilities and began using public money to spread his empire. Here's a quote of his: "My experience is that the greatest aid in the efficiency of labor is a long line of men waiting at the gate." At one time he controlled 1/12th of the power output of America. Cyrus S. Eaton was the David that brought down the Goliath. He started buying up stock in 3 Chicago utilities, scaring Insull into buying. When the price rose, he sold out, shaking down Insull for $20 million. Then the stock market crashed. Then it was found he was using public money to pay off his brother. He ran from prosecution to a number of European countries, eventually being extradited, tried and exonerated.
Please help me on the inquiries, giving supporting details on both theses: (1) Insull as the system architect of the IOUs-AF and (2) Insull as the first victim.
Thank you!

Comments

Mr. Vanderhost-Silverio,

These three resources may be of interest:

Cudahy, Hon. Richard D. and Henderson, William D. ,From Insull to Enron: Corporate (Re)Regulation After the Rise and Fall of Two Energy Icons(March 2005). Energy Law Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 35-110, 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=716321

Platt, Harold L. The Electric City: Energy and the Growth of the Chicago Area, 1880-1930. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Wasik, John F. The Merchant of Power: Samuel Insull, Thomas Edison, and the Creation of the Modern Metropolis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Regards,

Beth Arthur
Exelon Library Services
Chicago, IL
Beth Arthur

Thank you very much!
Jose Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio

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