June 6/14: Bernie Madoff

Rolling into June, it’s time for another post.  Bernie’s been on my mind ever since the news broke around ’08 or ’09.

How have you been?  The weather’s been summery here for weeks now.  The kids’ piano season ended with their recital last Sunday; they’re in summer swimming now at the outdoor pool.  School continues, but not for long.

The yard needs attention that I can’t give it right now.  My business is academic; this is a busy time of year.  I even have a lawn mower to fix when I get a chance to go find the part.  Pas aujourd’hui.  However, over the last couple of weeks, I have managed some mowing, some weeding, and even some liming.  With everything taking off so fast, I just can’t keep up.

I guess my older son has moved up into competitive dance starting this summer.  He sure wanted it, so I’m happy for him.

We still work around the demands of my wife’s college courses.  However, courses are good things, in my opinion:)

Bernie Madoff caught my attention when North America seemed to be going down the tubes back in ’08-’09.  Why he merited so much attention is a question I ask today, but I guess he made a good story.

Madoff started an investment firm in 1960 with money he’d earned lifeguarding and installing sprinklers.  His firm was a pioneer in at least a couple of different aspects.  According to him, the questionable activities did not begin until the early ’90s.  By ’99, there were doubts about the legitimacy of some of Madoff’s claims.  Possibly because he was well connected and trusted, many people preferred to give him the benefit of the doubt.  In the end, they probably didn’t help him much by doing so.

The phrase Too Good to be True (Arvedlund, ’09) has been related to the hopes of Madoff’s investors.  Obviously, such a comment makes sense.  However, there is a more philosophical point of view:  I’ve heard it estimated, from a fairly good source, that one in ten adults in North America need never work again in their lives.  Such people are called “independently wealthy.”  To a struggling member of the working class, being independently wealthy is probably “too good to be true.”  Yet, it is true, for some.

In the Old World, the acceptance that some people have, while others don’t, is also old.  Yet, in North America, there endures the ethic that anyone can be rich.  Indeed, some people enter life poor, but accomplish wealth.  From the wholesome perspective of the American dream, is anything “too good to be true?”

Here’s Bernie.
Bernie Madoff

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