Thanks to a star-quality cast, the Enron wreck has been riveting theater. ... Yet while all eyes remain on Enron, a tragedy of identical plot but with far more damaging implications has been playing out on another stage. Unlike Enron's saga, this drama is not about a single, rogue company operating to enrich its executives. This tale is about an entire industry -- telecommunications -- that rose to a value of $2 trillion based on dubious promises by Wall Street and company executives of an explosive growth in demand for telecommunications services. When that demand failed to materialize, the companies were left with mountains of debt and little revenue.
... It is unclear whether many of these interlocking relationships served any economic purpose. ... There is no doubt that the mess is large ... some $1.4 trillion in investor wealth has evaporated ... 400,000 jobs in the telecommunications sector have vanished ... 61,000 jobs in the first two months of 2002 ...
"The underpinnings of the emerging telecom bubble were a phenomenal miscalculation. At the time it seemed like a logical progression of history: cellular, the Internet, the new thing. It was bold, it was risky, it was expensive. And it was wrong."
Telecom, Tangled in Its Own Web