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Center for Economics and the Environment: Policy Series


Capitalism took the fall for Enron. Yet it is largely forgotten that this company had been a favorite of the environmental Left and an advocate/practitioner of the trendy notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Nonetheless, when the company collapsed in December 2001, Enron and its once-iconic chairman Ken Lay suddenly became Exhibit A against the teachings of Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and other proponents of self-interest and voluntary exchange.

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Robert L. Bradley Jr. is chairman of the Institute for Energy Research, a visiting fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, and an honorary senior research fellow at the Center for Energy Economics, University of Texas at Austin. This essay is adapted from sections of his forthcoming book, Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy (M & M Scrivener Press), described in greater detail at

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