If the deregulation zealots had their way, we’d be left with tainted food, unsafe cars, bridges collapsing into rivers, children’s pajamas bursting into flames and a host of corporations far more rapacious and unscrupulous than they are now.

Enron manipulated the energy markets and cooked its own books in ways that would not have been possible if its operations had had a reasonable degree of transparency. But Enron operated in what has been widely characterized as a “black hole” that left competitors and others asking such basic questions as how the company made its money.

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