Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years (1984–1996)

(Wiley-Scrivener, 2018)

Book Forum
September 20, 2018
4:00PM to 5:15PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute
Featuring the author Robert L. Bradley Jr., CEO, Institute for Energy Research; with comments by Jack High, Professor Emeritus, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; moderated by Patrick J. Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science.

In his sweeping 1996 Cato book, Oil, Gas and Government: The U.S. Experience, Rob Bradley described a century of political capitalism in the energy industry. In recent  years, leading energy entrepreneurs such as Ken Lay (Enron), John Browne (BP), Jeffrey Immelt (GE) and, most recently, Elon Musk (Tesla) continue the clammy pursuit of wealth via government subsidies and regulations, often perfumed with trendy environmentalism.

Now, in Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years (1984–1996), Bradley identifies a broader context for political capitalism—“contra-capitalism,” a repeating syndrome that links rent-seeking with corporate deceit and personal violation of bourgeois virtues.

From this new perspective, Bradley rebuts both the charge that corporate scandals reflect badly on capitalism and the apologia that they are merely committed by capitalism’s “bad apples.” As an alternative, Bradley lays out a well-developed mirror image of contra-capitalism—a suite of behaviors consistent with classical-liberal teachings for business management.

Jack High, professor emeritus at George Mason University, has published several books on business and regulation. During a visiting professorship at the Harvard Business School, High edited the Business History Review.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can watch it live online at www.cato.org/live and join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoEvents. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.