Thursday, December 18, 2008

Madoff, Regulations, & Jews

The Wall Street Journal today seems to be dedicated to discussing Bernie Madoff's $50 billion scheme, and a few pieces are particularly interesting and worth reading by readers here:
  • To Catch A Thief details how regulation upon regulation missed Madoff (and the confidence in regulation let many investors assume they were safe), while the only ones who were wary were investors who did their own digging. We see over and over that it is not regulation which stops frauds but investors who don't rely on regulations to catch it.
  • Madoff exploited the Jews discusses how he took advantage of trust within the community to avoid hard scrutiny. Sad but important to recognize.
  • The Madoff Inheritance utilizes the play The Voysey Inheritance to note that the past year, from the housing mess to Madoff, teaches us a lesson:
    A big lesson of the past year is that we all should be talking more about money. One reason we don't talk about money is we are afraid of what we might learn. Mr. Madoff's contented investors are hardly different from the apparently uncountable number of people who put down 5% for a large mortgage without wondering, How does this work?
    I love this last line:
    "It's strange the number of people who believe you can do right by means which they know to be wrong."
Check them out.