Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Greed Gets a Bad Name


What can Bernard Madoff tell us about ourselves?


Circa 1987, Hollywood fictionalized greedy Wall Street bad guys like Gordon Gekko. They did this because, while we all suspected they existed, we didn't know their names or see their faces. Filmmakers had to embellish to encompass the prevailing greed and selfishness that drives the fortunes of Wall Street.

No more. Thanks to the likes of Bernard Madoff, everyone from Hollywood moguls to billionaires to philanthropists to treasurers of national economies are throwing up their hands and saying, "You can't make this stuff up."

But, mirror, mirror on the wall, Madoff isn't the baddest of them all.

We are. The face in the mirror. It's me. It's you. It's our sainted little old mothers. It's charities dedicated to world peace and the eradication of hunger in our time. Madoff couldn't have done squat without the money we so anxiously handed over.

Did he actually steal the money with which we entrusted him? A jury of his peers will decide that. Did he do a bad thing? Probably. Did he bring the current cauldron of seething economic turmoil to a boil? Did he cause an even more acrid stench to waft from the cesspool of greed?

Ask Thierry de la Villehuchet, a hedge fund adviser and investor who lost $1.5 billion investing with Madoff. His body was found in his New York office as last-minute holiday shoppers scurried on the sidewalks outside. Madoff took Villehuchet's clients' money down the rat hole to a place it won't soon be recovered.

None of this diminishes the fact that we gave Madoff the money -- freely, eagerly, practically -- and begged him to invest it as only his mystical genius could do. Why? Ask Gordon Gekko.

"Greed is good." That was Gekko's mantra. Indeed, it can be. Greed can fuel the engine of economic growth and prosperity - which will cause all the boats in the harbor to float higher on the tide. Greed can spur investment that produces new technology, chemistry and innovation that improves the quality of our lives.

< Previous
No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Featured Videos