Public Disdain for Private Gain

There's no reward without risk; winners without losers. As we noted weeks back, hedge fund manager John Paulson is getting hammered for his Goldman Sachs ties. A number of news outlets reported he made billions while "investors" lost billions. A curious take on free market investing. In media parlance, hedge fund investors are not really investors, and it's somehow wrong that Paulson and his shareholders bet in a way that eventually came out as the winner.

As Paulson was taking ever-increasing amounts of risk against the mortgage market (thought of as madness at the time) he took lengthy runs in Central Park to deal with the stress of increasingly skeptical clients and his own insecurity. But patience prevailed, to the tune of $15 billion for those who stuck with him.

At another time, his courage and ingenuity would be celebrated and replicated by other investors and entrepreneurs. In today's America, it's anathema to the greater collective good and to be disdained, if not criminally prosecuted. A scary sign of the times, and with what's happening in Europe, sure to get worse.

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