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Explaining Enron

Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to care for them, and sells you the milk.|*|Communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them and you share the milk.

Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes both, denies they ever existed and drafts you into the army. Milk is banned.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

ENRON Venture Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank. Then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option for one more.

--provided by John van T.



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