Thursday, March 3, 2011


To anyone being honest, it is clear that world capitalism, especially at it is practiced in these United States, has evolved into a model far different than anything Adam Smith or David Ricardo ever imagined.

With that in mind, let us celebrate the anniversary of the birth of modern capitalism's spiritual father.

Charles Ponzi was born this day, in 1882. While there have occurred a number of refinements since his time—we can only imagine how impressed he would be with the idea of credit default swaps—I think it's fair to say that whenever suckers are being screwed anywhere, old Charlie's in the room.

His were different times, of course, and poor Charlie spent some time in prison, and was ultimately deported. Today, of course, he would work for Goldman Sachs, probably as chairman. Instead of strutting around with a gold-tipped walking stick (per the photograph, at right), he could gird himself in his golden parachute, and tell the rest of the world to go fuck itself.

Yeah, happy birthday, Charlie. You're being feted in boardrooms all over Wall Street, I'm sure.

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