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Don’t Blame Madoff

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Liel Leibovitz rarely fails to provoke in his weekly parasha column, and today’s in Tablet Magazine is no exception: In a phrase, he defends Bernard Madoff. Well, sorta:

What Madoff understood, the fundamental truth lying at the heart of his deceptions, was not that people are greedy, but that people would go to tremendous lengths to try and overcome the basic unknowability, the profound impermanence that is at the core of human existence. People invested with Madoff because he suggested that he could turn the market—tempestuous, unpredictable, sometimes vengeful, frequently wild—into a tamed beast that behaved just as you liked it to behave, a reliable animal that gave and gave and asked for nothing in return. And the banks collaborated not only because great wealth was being generated, but also because Madoff’s fantasy was too strong to resist.

In Defense of Bernie

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Conan M. Kaufman says:

No, not at all. Madoff simply had a good track record, and that’s why smart investors were investing their money with him. That’s all investors are looking for — a good return, a good track record, and where the smart money is going. Why philosophize (“the fundamental truth”)in order to make something that’s really so simple, so complex (“the profound impermanence that is at the core of human existence”)?

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Don’t Blame Madoff

Today on Tablet

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