Made Off

So everyone’s heard by now of the confession and sentencing of Bernie Madoff, his 150 -odd years of light time (come on, does anyone actually think he’ll be shackled and cast down with the Sodomites?) and the rousing cheers of the offended masses whom he bilked out of billions of bucks.

I was listening to a part of his statement yesterday, though, and something struck me.  All these people, calling for blood; caling for his head- all of them were greedy enough, and naive enough to believe that he actually could “guarantee” the sorts of paybacks that they expected and demanded of him.  Don’t misunderstand me- what he did was obviously illegal, and a ponzi scheme, and morally reprehensible.  But isn’t it just a bit akin to someone hiring a hit man to off someone for them?  Sure, Madoff pulled the trigger and did the deed- but if there hadn’t been a demand for what he was doing, he likely wouldn’t have done what he did.  In his statement, he mentioned that when he started this whole thing, back in the 1980s, his clients were making money, big money, and the expectations rose and it became harder, and then impossible, for him to continue.  He got caught up in it and eventually “knew” that the only way out was when he would eventually be caught.

Twisted?  Yes.  Does Madoff deserve prison time?  You bet.  Do these greedy, short-sighted investors who played along with his schemes have a right to be pissed at him?  I can’t answer that as succinctly.

One Response to “Made Off”

  1. matt says:

    I don’t know if you read “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” on the ESPN web site, but it’s a football column that ranges over a lot of other topics. One of his recurring themes this year, week after week, was that there is no such thing as a magic formula for investment that will yield huge results. And if there was, why its inventor someone share it with you?

    File this under “it’s impossible to cheat an honest man”.

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