Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dickens and Financial Scams

I've never read Charles Dickens, but, I enjoyed watching the BBC series Little Dorrit. One sub plot was about a super rich Mr Merdle who was well renowned as being the peerless investor of his time. Mr Merdle never had to offer a sales pitch to anyone. People merely begged his indulgence to be taken into his financial scheme, which year after year gave unimaginably impressive returns. As the series progressed, the impending collapse of Mr Merdle finance schemes became blindingly obvious to all - except the main characters who were taken in by the prospect of easy money.

A couple of days after the last episode was screened, we find we have our modern day - real life Mr Merdle - Bernard Madoff - Feted by the Rich - Madoff was schemer supreme at Independent.

The sheer scale, size of the $50 pyramid scheme beggars belief. It is not without irony that Bernard Madoff originated in Florida. Many of those worst hit by the scam are his Florida neighbours - who have been frantically selling their multi million pound houses (in an already stagnant market). It is of course in Florida that the misselling of subprime mortgages was the most prominent, leading to the current credit crunch and financial turmoil

What Florida has given to the world in the past couple of years:
  1. A very dubious election victory for George Bush by a few hundred 'dimpled chads' - Giving the world, the most contentious US president for many decades.
  2. Subprime mortgage crisis which continues to cause misery.
  3. Bernard Madoff $50bn pyramid scheme.

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