Like Nocera (and as a rather conservative investor myself) I find it hard to be too sympathetic with Madoff’s victims. Certainly not sympathetic enough to want to write them a check.
â€¦ [After Madoff’s guilty plea], the TV cameras surrounded a woman named Sharon Lissauer. She had not been wealthy, she said, but sheâ€™s lost everything. She didnâ€™t know what she was going to do. She was weeping. It was hard not to feel sad for her â€” indeed, for all the victims of Mr. Madoffâ€™s evil-doing. But one also has to wonder: what were they thinking?
At a panel a month ago, put together by Portfolio magazine, Mr. Wiesel expressed, better than Iâ€™ve ever heard it, why people gave Mr. Madoff their money. â€œI remember that it was a myth that he created around him,â€ Mr. Wiesel said, â€œthat everything was so special, so unique, that it had to be secret. It was like a mystical mythology that nobody could understand.â€ Mr. Wiesel added: â€œHe gave the impression that maybe 100 people belonged to the club. Now we know thousands of them were cheated by him.â€
And yet, just about anybody who actually took the time to kick the tires of Mr. Madoffâ€™s operation tended to run in the other direction. â€¦
via Brad DeLong