January 26, 2009
Yes, it’s a play on words! There’s more to say about Bernie Maidoff and his scheme though I’ll leave to investigators, ultimately, to unravel the depth of the misprision. He will be found guilty, he will give up his lush and lavish lifestyle and spend a few years at any one of the minimum security compounds available.
Sadly though, none of this is new. The coming of age for high-risk, high leverage trading practices go back to the 1970’s and saw the light of day with the advent of Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky and the Drexel Burnham Lambert collapse in 1990. Then of course there are others: Jeffrey Skilling & Ken Lay (Enron), Bernard Ebbers (World Com), Charles Keeting (if S&L fame), Jack Abramoff (Lobbyist), George Soros (infamous Inside Trader) to name but a few.
The mistake one could make, on of many, is to make a blanket statement that “this is capitalism” to which, I would respond, no, this is what happens when capitalism and its ideals are suspended and replaced with the practice of faux-piracy.
When character and the concept of higher ideals is no longer the bedrock of a system then what moves in to take its place becomes the complete antithesis. We mistakenly expect the object of “the law” to be capable of protecting and prohibiting deleterious acts believing that, in effect, we can now “wash our hands” of expressing conviction and leave it to preemptive enforcement. Clearly, this is neither the case nor the reality of its practice!
This notion is best understood this way: If one is unable to defend themselves against the crimes of the perpetrator, what good are the police? If this is not sufficiently clear, then might I suggest you consult a murder or a rape victim. I trust I made my point.
This is one of the great tragedies of “practical-disengagement”, the idea that suggest we can absolve ourselves of conviction so long as we can point to a structured-form as being “charged” with the ultimate duty to preserve, protect and defend.
Mr. Maidoff is clear in his thinking and his approach. The system accommodates these practices and in fact, is structured as a form of survival, to insure they persist. Mr. Maidoff, like countless others, were and are only engaged in these practices for one very simply reason: they can!
The key to a successful run occurs, fundamentally, in two forms: (1.) You make the rules, And/or (2.) You fly under the radar or can maintain anonymity. Mr. Maidoff transgressed in both of these.
The very same practices, employed by Mr. Maidoff, are going on all around you. Being the stout practitioners of “practical-disengagement”, we can feel secure in our not having to think about it!
No where is life played more abundantly then when one is tirelessly in persuit of an ideal! To be sure, they are elusive as they know no boundaries yet remain willing should your desire be sufficient!
Curtis C. Greco, Founder