I have seen the movie The Wolf of Wall Street and enjoyed it quite a lot, though that loud brash generation is more muted these days. But it made me wonder, have we seen the last of the scam artist investor?
Commodity market manipulation is fundamentally different and far more dangerous than the garden-variety manipulation of financial markets such as in single stock pump and dump schemes, or even the brazen manipulation of LIBOR. Nobody eats LIBOR.
There was something refreshing about Bernie Madoff. He robbed Peters to pay Pauls and it worked well until there were more Pauls than Peters. That is the difference between him and large financial institutions that cheat those with whom they deal. Bernie was not subtle.
A number of people have begun wondering what the difference is between Jon Corzine and Bernie Madoff. The answer is that Mr. Madoff knew exactly where his clients' missing billions of dollars went. Mr. Corzine is still trying to figure that out.
Madoff lived high and mighty as a billionaire as long as he kept his Ponzi scheme afloat. Greenspan was revered as long as he kept the party going for the ultra-rich, as long as he kept one bubble after another inflated.