This week's Business Week just showed up at the house and I read the article.
Your title is rather incorrect, as a matter of fact, it is far from the truth. This article was about how Boeing was suffering severe production problems in the 1996-1997 timeframe. This led to huge costs that were initially hid from the public and investors in order to soften the reaction on Wall Street and to allow the MCD merger to occur. There were problems in all divisions of the commerical aircraft group. The 737 & 757 lines are notably mentioned in the article. Boeing was stuggling to handle the boom in aircraft orders as demand picked up when the economy turned around. Basically the article was questioning whether these type of things relating to hiding financial information such as this could occur in the current business climate.
There was also mention about how the true development costs of the 777 were masked by drawing from other projects such as the 767 group. It also gave insight into the complex analysis of airplane market forecasts and how Boeing predicts they will be able to regain all of their costs down the road. It also made clear how with a project of the type like the 777, nearly all the costs occur in the first few years (development, prototype, tooling, etc) while all income occurs years down the road (production and selling of the product). The 777 was never in jeopardy during this timeframe. Keep in mind, the 777 was already well in production and revenue service during the timeframe this article was talking about.
This incident at Boeing is far, far different than the Enron situation. These accounting practices are very normal, and there was no off-balance accounting practices in this case. No dummy corporations and accounts were created. No political figures were involved either. Plus, no bankruptcy either. Sure the courts were involved, but that happens alot in big business.