It’s thanksgiving this week and naturally our thoughts turn to what we are grateful for – and yet on this site – thanks isn’t exactly at the forefront of our minds.
It would be easy at this point to look at Mr. Madoff’s behavior and reflect that he handed society a much needed lesson in greed and personal ethics. The scores of people who handed over their money weren’t exactly uneducated – the “don’t ask don’t tell policy” relieved the investors of any potential knowledge of ethics violations while at the same time allowing Mr Madoff to relieve them of their money.
But that doesn’t make it any easier for the victims: the foundations, their employees, the intended recipients – all of whom now have nothing. Unfortunately the money is gone – long ago transferred to another broker’s account or shoved up Mr. Madoff’s nose and no amount of vilification will make it reappear.
Much as we would like to think otherwise, Mr. Madoff was able to get away with his fraud because we allowed it – we didn’t ask questions, we took risks with our money and our livelihoods without understanding what we were doing. We gambled because we thought we had an inside edge – make no mistake – if we were going to be winners – there had to be losers somewhere out there. It is our desire for quick, undeserved and unearned wealth, that enable figures like Bernard Madoff to succeed.
None of this is new, frauds come and go every decade, every century and we always seem to forget the lessons – who now remembers Nick Leeson?
So thank you Bernie, our hope is that through sites like this, we can keep your name and actions in the public consciousness. By writing about you and reminding people of your wickedness, maybe we’ll be a little slower to jump on the bandwagon when the next trickster comes along. Somehow though, I doubt it…
Photo Credit: AtomicShark on Flickr
It’s quite an interesting process this blog – coming up with new ways that would deliver some reciprocity for Bernie Madoff’s actions. Again – the more we think about it the more it is just maddening that he can wreck and ruin numerous charities, destroy people’s lives and yet his punishment is a gentle incarceration. And sure, we recognize that many of the investors were greedy sods who weren’t exactly concerned about the ethics of Bernie’s operation – and sure, we don’t exactly aspire to an orange jumpsuit – but there’s just that feeling that, relatively speaking, he got away with it.
One of the things about being locked up is that it removes the perpetrator from society – which if you’re Bernie Madoff – is exactly what you want. Financial fraud is all done remotely, you don’t see the faces of those that you’re stealing from – you don’t have to stare the poor mug in the eye as you rob them – you press a button and hey presto – their money is gone. So – today’s idea is this:
Let’s take some of the money recovered from the sale of Mr. Madoff’s assets – enough to pay for a car, gas, salary and accommodation for three guards / drivers – say around $400k a year – and let’s have Mr. Madoff driven to meet all of the people he’s swindled. Let’s take him to the annual meeting of the charities he’s ripped off, let’s put him in front of the University students who will miss out on new facilities because of him, let’s take him to the grave sites with family members – instead of keeping him locked up – let’s take him out and get him in front of those who’s life he irrevocably changed.
There’s nothing inhumane about this – sure it costs a little – but if there are a couple of thousand investors who lost money – (and assuming no proportional distribution of recovered revenue) that’s $200 each. Is $200 worth it? We think so – hell, we’d even write a check!
Posted via email from Get Even With Bernie Madoff
Photo Credit: cathleenritt on Flickr