This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Equal Opportunity Betrayal

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, a highly esteemed, trusted and prestigious investment firm had a multitude of trusting clients. Not only individual and family clients of social distinction and great wealth, but charitable institutions whose philanthropic work went a long way to increasing the quality of life for many.

And then there are the financial institutions who took their clients' funds and invested them with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. What explanations do these financial wizards, these experts in money management now advance to their questioning clients reeling under the discovery that their wealth is exponentially diminished?

The colossal losses that resulted from Mr. Madoff's puzzling and reckless scheme represents a mind-boggling disruption of peoples' lives and expectations, and the loss to society of organizations whose purpose has been to enrich peoples' lives through their charitable work.

At a time when the world's economy has been in free-fall, to have a financial catastrophe of this magnitude erupt is simply unimaginable in its scope and destructive fall-out.

On the other hand, one can only wonder at the immense failings of financial overseers. And investment experts. And academics who proclaim their knowledge of global financial institutions and best practises in the world of global finance. Has no one the capability of engaging their professional and academic experience to detect these high-grade and slow-simmering malfeasances?

And the investors themselves and their advisers, complacent that their investments invariably produced puzzlingly large returns on an annual basis, irrespective of the general economy's performance. Mightn't that alert anyone with a modicum of common sense that something was fundamentally awry? Seems not; as long as those nice hefty returns kept rolling in, Mr. Madoff was considered a genius and no one wanted to ask questions, delve into the mechanics, and possibly upset the apple cart.

The goose that lays golden eggs doesn't take kindly to being lifted from its nest so the curious can satisfy their desire to understand just how it is possible for a bird to divest itself steadily of a precious metal, a gold standard recognized and valued the world over. It hisses when anyone comes too near and in the process makes it sufficiently nervous to halt production.

Overnight, billionaires rendered penniless; at the very least, reduced to the meagre status of a millionaire. Charities so dependent on the goodwill of supporters, satisfied that their charity of choice knows how to handle their generous donations, and then suddenly, all to naught. The funding collapsed, nothing left, the charity incapable of producing the social goods that charities are tasked with. And in these financially thin times where will further donations come from?

Peoples' cherished ideals of responsibility to the community, trust in those who present as bursting with integrity and purpose, summarily dismissed, dashed in the reality of human avarice and cunning schemes to deprive others of their wherewithal.

But in the final analysis, a question: Why? Why would any man who has earned a coveted place of respect in his society, world-wide acclaim for his creative money management, descend to such a low place?

And finally, will public trust in financial institutions ever fully recover? Will we be wiser for the experience? Doubt it.

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