Bethany McLean’s Weekend Reading List: Walmart, Opioids, Oil Prices (and Coronavirus)

Bethany McLean
Bethany McLean
Bethany McLean is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a columnist for Yahoo Finance, and a contributor to CNBC. Her 2001 Fortune piece, “Is Enron Overpriced?,” was one of the first skeptical articles about the company. After Enron collapsed into bankruptcy, she co-authored (with Peter Elkind) The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron. A documentary based on the book was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. She is also the author of All the Devils Are Here (with Joe Nocera), Shaky Ground, and Saudi America. She hosts the Podcast "Making a Killing" on Luminary

Also Read

Tech Monopolies Are the Reason the US Now Has a TikTok Problem

Tech platforms like Facebook say we should protect, empower, and celebrate their concentrated power for the sake of America’s national security. But...

Who Is to Blame for the 2008 Financial Crisis?

The IGM Center at the University of Chicago has asked its American and European economist panel to rate the main causes of the financial...

Friedman’s Principle, 50 Years Later

Luigi Zingales: In the mid-1980s, Milton Friedman’s view that the only social responsibility of business is to increase its profits became dominant...

Should We Defund the Police? A New Capitalisn’t Reading List

In this episode of the Capitalisn't podcast, Kate and Luigi take an economist's look at the concept of defunding the police.

Corruption, lobbying, corporate malfeasance, and frauds: a weekly unconventional selection of must-read articles by investigative journalist Bethany McLean. 


Oh my goodness, say it isn’t so: An excellent and important story that is NOT, I repeat NOT about the coronavirus. The cynic in me suspects that with the $2 trillion relief bill, there are going to be plenty more stories about the wonders that political influence can buy.

There’s also this, which is not coronavirus specific. But the pandemic certainly accelerated a massive change that was already underway. If oil was destiny, no longer.

While we’re on the subject of the relief bill (sort of!). Talk about “ever-expanding debt accumulation.”

The ProMarket blog is dedicated to discussing how competition tends to be subverted by special interests. The posts represent the opinions of their writers, not necessarily those of the University of Chicago, the Booth School of Business, or its faculty. For more information, please visit ProMarket Blog Policy.

Latest article

The ACCC’s News Media Bargaining Code: Experimenting with “Decentralized Regulation” of Dominant Digital Platforms

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently proposed a mandatory bargaining code to govern negotiations between digital platforms like Google and Facebook...

Market Forces Already Address ESG Issues and the Issues Raised by Stakeholder Capitalism

Eugene Fama: When do market forces push firms toward stakeholder goals, rather than just shareholder goals? When do market forces push firms...

Capitalisn’t Is Back: Can Economists and Journalists Work Together to Improve Capitalism?

Is capitalism the engine of prosperity, or is it the engine of destruction? On this podcast, we talk about the ways capitalism...

Missing in Today’s Shareholder Value Maximization Credo: The Shareholders

Luca Enriques: Today’s corporate world is very different from the one Milton Friedman wrote in. In a world where the question of...

Australia’s News Media and Digital Platforms Bargaining Code is Great Politics But Questionable Economics

If the Australian government wants to subsidize high-quality journalism then it should, well, subsidize high-quality journalism. The new proposed ACCC code would...