Rob Bradley has an Econlib essay on Enron, and it’s a good one. He focuses on Enron’s particular form of crony corporatism, its ability to take advantage of regulatory complexity, and the lessons that we should carry forward from the experience:
Enron was essentially a political company, not a free-market one. Ken Lay’s creation would be unknown to history were it not for the distorted incentives from the government side of the mixed economy.
For classical liberals, Enron is a case study in support of the separation of government and business. There is egregious rent-seeking, whereby the company worked to shape political intervention for economic advantage. There is bootleggers and Baptist politicking, whereby Enron teamed with nonprofit groups to win support for what was in the company’s narrow self-interest.
There is the peril of half-slave, half-free. Partially deregulated markets (such as with electricity in California) created a devil’s sand box for profit-making that otherwise would have been absent in a free-market order.