While I am appalled by Madoff's (pronounced Made-off--as though he were a Gilded Age character concocted by Twain), I find the lack of outrage at how Madoff swindled so many to be more indicative of the moral bankruptcy of this moment. Madoff was considered exclusive, a man to curry favor with to be invited into his investments, someone with a magic secret. Is anyone else appalled by the notion of black box trades--the idea that an investment banker approaches clients and they in turn place money into something about which they willingly do not ask, save but to read their quarterly earnings statements? The Madoff scheme went a long way to expose the enthusistic participation by many elites in such secret dealings, not out of "trust" as the NY Times is choosing to spin it, but probably something more corrosive and sinister. Swindling is swindling only when it happens to you, right?
Nor am I sorry for many of the "victims." Some who built businesses and invested to retire on the money (including a man ill with cancer), and the charities, yes, but for many in this luxuriant, over-privileged class (how does a former mayor of a small city retire with $5 million?) I feel nothing.
South Pasadena, CA
Dec 23 2008 - 5:04am