Friday, January 25, 2008

French "Vanilla"

I read this story yesterday in the BBC and today the NY Times is reporting it: a junior trader at Société Générale (impressed by all those accents graves—thank god for a Mac!) in France lost $7.2 BILLION... and they're saying no one knew he was even doing it! In reading the Times version of the story, I kept thinking of what the neighbors always say about serial killers: "He was kind of a loner. Shy, quiet, a good neighbor... always kept his lawn neat. We never suspected anything." And to top it all off, it doesn't look like this guy gained financially from his crime (clearly he was getting something out of it, otherwise why do it?).

It also makes me think of all the movies where there's some master villain controlling the world (think every James Bond film ever), or all the conspiracies you hear about all the time. Personally, I think the world is more like the movie Brazil than anything else: some insignificant incident occurs that throws the entire apparatus of government to into a tailspin. It's not one of the Grande Ecole-educated Masters of the Universe who potentially bring about the destruction of one of the world's most powerful banks; it's some schmuck working in a low-level position from a regular college in southeast France.

The meek shall inherit the earth... but what do they want with it?

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