Alex Massie

The Lessons of Madoff

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Actually, as Megan explains, the lesson of Bernie Madoff's scam is that there really aren't any lessons that can be drawn. As she puts it, "Everyone just screwed up". That leaves us in the unsatisfying position of having no-one, apart from the remarkable Mr Madoff, of course, to blame. Sometimes stuff really does just happen and there aren't any deep and meaningful lessons to learn or "underlying" or "contributory" villains to blame. As Megan says, this disconcerts, since it deprives us of the endlessly satisfying consolations of sweet vindictiveness and righteous indignation.

A con-man is a con-man is a con-man. His status as such does nothing to advance the case against George W Bush or Milton Friedman or the market or anything else.

Me? Like Chris Dillow, I find it hard not to "laugh like a drain" at it all. Still, I'm just looking forward to the movie - The Man Who Madoff With The World - directed by Steven Spielberg, I presume.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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