This article sets out with remarkable clarity the rise and fall of Enron: how a firm was able to base its fantastic growth on the privatisation of the energy market, lie, deceive and betray all its partners and end up in total bankruptcy.
Jean-Marie Chevalier shows how Enron grew thanks to its exceptional "economic intelligence of arbitrage", or the way it fulfilled its ambition to become the most efficient energy provider in the United States and in the world by means of extremely complex legal and financial manoeuvres. He sets this against the broader background of the dismantling of public monopolies and explains how the firm managed, by constant use of imagination and innovation, to dominate all aspects of the energy market, both real and intangible.
But Chevalier also highlights the dangers of these manoeuvres based on the right combination of physical means of production, transport and storage with the totally unscrupulous use of commercial, financial and legal expertise, relying on an incredible level of compromise, deceit and corruption. "The way that Enron ran the firm's business was intrinsically bad from the very outset", he writes, criticizing the absence of checks and balances, the abuse of trust and the huge frauds perpetrated by the executives.
"Capitalism has always been in a constant state of creation and destruction, but the collapse of Enron is not like any other bankruptcy", Jean-Marie Chevalier continues. It shows that we need a fundamental rethinking of capitalism and the global economy.