I became interested in the question of how an organization whose business plan is theft can go bankrupt during the Enron debacle. I was well aware that many companies are forced into bankruptcy so that the executives can loot the pension plan and that this has been an accepted business practice for many decades; out of fashion now that there are no pension plans to loot. However, the thefts were made possible by junk bonds that destroyed companies that otherwise were going concerns providing real products and services that had a genuine customer base. In other words, the executives looted the company as well as the pension plan. Grand theft indeed but Enron seemed different simply because its only evident product was illegally rigging the price of electricity to make a fortune buying low and selling high in that rigged market. In other words arbitrage in the energy market.
Enron was a bucket shop and bucket shops get shut down but they don’t go bankrupt. How can a successful thief have no money?
As with most mysteries once you stop looking for erudite explanations the answer is obvious.
The bankruptcy is meant to cover up the evidence of the real crimes. That is the purpose of bankruptcy. In the case of Enron it just didn’t work.