A magician puts $50 into an empty box, puts the lid on, and offers it to the audience for $20. He gets a taker, who discovers $1 in the box. Is this fraud? Should magic be regulated? Is a sucker born every minute?
I watched a recent documentary (Inside Job) on what is called a financial crisis. And, after feeling that some on Wall Street appeared a little shady, went to the grocery to get a prescription filled. I patiently walked the aisles (waiting for the filling of the prescription) only to discover that their computers were down and they didn't know what to charge me. The pharmacist said we could pick a number... like 20. I said I like 6. He said no so I left. (Note: when I got home I looked up the drug and saw that it should have cost me $35! I decided I wasn't worth that.)
Anyway, after hearing how fraudulent the Wall Street guys were (in the movie), I wondered if everyone is equally fraudulent, i.e. not really caring about their customer. I started looking at the cereals and reminded myself that they are selling very little nutrition (and lots of calories) for lots of money. Whom can you trust?
We do have government organizations watching over food. Food that is not our friend. Why do we think that the government will run (i.e. regulate) Wall Street any better?
There is an adage that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Or that as interest increases, so does risk. Lots of people didn't watch what they were doing on Wall Street and got in trouble. Unfortunately some of those who probably deserved to get in trouble were able to exit smelling like roses.
Now, back to fraud. It is real, it does exist, and the awareness of fraud is the basis for making Wall Street honest. One problem with regulating (or over regulating) is that sometimes it justifies actions that shouldn't be justified.
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