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On Markets, Morals and Misconduct
“Put your money to work for you.” That is what any investment guru would tell you. You can retire safely if you just invest your savings and there are an endless number of investors, market specialists and/or bankers telling you just that. They are also ready to offer you endless options on how your money can “work” for you and “multiply” itself.
I first realized the gravity of the situation when the story of Bernard Lawrence (“Bernie Madoff”) appeared in the mainstream media. I am sure everyone is familiar with how this maggot stole around sixty-five billion dollars through his “Ponzi scheme”. All sorts of people lost-out. Elderly couples lost their retirement money; some lost their homes and some were left out on the street.
Bernie was not the only crook out there taking advantage of people’s ignorance, instability and weakness. The Texan, Sir Allen Stanford was charged with investment fraud in a case where he is supposed to have defrauded investors of over eight billion dollars. Just a month ago Goldman Sachs was charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, this is no longer a case where there are a few bad apples … this shit is chronic. It is as if we live in a world where we hand our money to magicians: “poof” … it’s gone.
I suppose the people that lost money should go to the mirror and slap themselves a few times. Just because everyone is doing something (investing their money), it does not necessarily mean that “something” is something good. If that was the case we would all be crack-heads after the 1980s.
Placing your life savings in the hands of some sort of a banker/investor to me is not very much different than taking it to a casino. You are gambling with it. There are of course secure investment options; you can put your money in a savings account but there is no significant return on it; no way that you can retire by doing that. Thus, most people making investments could eventually lose their money one way or another. Of course, a financial advisor will never tell you plainly that you can lose all your money if the “conditions” of the “markets” are “right”. They will tell you that “there is very little risk” or something along those lines to get you to give them your money as fast as possible and to get you out of their office so they can go play their eighteen holes.
We all want to see the heads of people such as Bernard Lawrence on a post and sure, why not … I would too. Yet, it seems highly possible that another “Bernie” will come around who will somehow “beat” the system and steal people’s retirement or college money for example. As long as people are ready to hand off their money to someone else on the promise that the money will multiply itself, these types of scenarios will most likely continue.
I am addicted to news and what I have realized lately is that the `markets` are really `getting to us`. I see business news commentators saying things such as: `The markets are really worried about the situation in Greece` and I am not sure if I should burst out laughing or go in a corner and cry. These bloody markets have acquired human attributes, `they get worried`. I wonder if they get thirsty too … someone go give the `markets` a beer to relax a little `cause they’re stressing us out.
This seems to me like a gigantic issue which is not being talked about. It is really our misconduct that has led to this. We have allowed `the markets` to become more important than ourselves: we follow and serve the markets, not the other way around. We are the casualties when the well-being of the markets is in question. Just think of the `bail-out` …