Looking at my most recent posts, I notice a distinct tendency towards the banal. I suppose it's because everyone is so busy at the moment, including myself, getting ready for Christmas, that it doesn't leave much time for pondering the Bigger Questions.
I have been wondering about one Big Question, however: Why did he do it? Who? Mr Madoff, of course. There's been lots of reporting about what he did, who's lost what, and why didn't anyone dig deeper into the inconsistencies that came to light over the years. For the moment though, I haven't seen anything on why he did it.
I have come to the conclusion that he was taking the piss. Basically he could have done anything he liked. He was a respected businessman, had a reputation you could frame and hang in the loo, and wasn't short of a bob or two. It can't just have been about greed because I'm sure he could have come up with many ways to make money without dicing with death on a precipice.
Yet he decided to set up a scam, lure in the greatest and wealthiest, including highly successful business people, like Nicola Horlick who is as savvy as they come, and fleece them for vast sums of money. He could have done this perfectly legally, by becoming a consultant, or a banker, or board director for example, but he chose to take the conman route. Doesn't anyone else find this fascinating?
He was courted by those who wished to invest with him. Some spent thousands on fees to join clubs he belonged to in the hope they could meet him and then do business with him. He must have been laughing all the way to the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.
He has exposed the folly of greed, humiliating those who believed that some things aren't too good to be true because they are the Chosen Ones, accepted into membership of his exclusive club.
What happened to those who dared to question his results? They were ignored, or written off as party poopers because they had probably tried to join the club but had been rejected. Jealousy is a terrible sin... So is selective blind smugness, especially when it comes to investing in a scheme that is opaque to say the least, with other people's money.
So Mr Madoff goes down in history as the greatest swindler of all time. He had fifteen glorious years of taking the piss out of the West's richest, most naive and smuggest set. He's now 70 so can sit back and enjoy a snug little cell for the next ten years or so, maybe write that autobiography he's not had time to attend to yet what with keeping tabs on all that money he was deluding people into paying, and, hopefully, tell us why he did it.
Basic truth: if it looks too good to be true, it is. No exceptions.