Thursday, October 02, 2008

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, redux

Equity Private, the pseudonymous new editor of Dealbreaker (and one-time James Bond movie villainess) has posted a cautionary tale of high finance that reminds us that some schemes really are the oldest trick in the book.

Dealbreaker: Word To The Wise

Were not the fact stated by scores of credible witnesses, it would be impossible to believe that any person could have been duped by such a project. The man of genius who essayed this bold and successful inroad upon public credulity, merely stated in his prospectus that the required capital was half a million, in five thousand shares of 100 pounds each, deposit 2 pounds per share. Each subscriber, paying his deposit, would be entitled to 100 pounds per annum per share. How this immense profit was to be obtained, he did not condescend to inform them at that time, but promised, that in a month full particulars should be duly announced, and a call made for the remaining 98 pounds of the subscription.

This is a trick that has been played over and over, in both high society and low.

In in my dissolute youth I lived for a brief period at a ski resort. The skiing was fantastic, but eventually I tired of living on Kraft Dinner, and grew up. But one incident that I recall involved a Quebecois labourer named Guy who quit and left the hill mid-season. Over the following week, a lot of ski bums started enquiring about his wherabouts. Suddenly, it seemed that everyone was looking for Guy. When people finally started talking to each other, they learned that he had told over a hundred resort staff* the same story: that he was going to drive to Banff that weekend and score a big bag of weed, and if that person gave him $20, $50 or $100 he'd split his score with them.

Contrary to what his erstwhile partners believed to be the plan, he moved back to Quebec.

There's a lesson there.

*and no, I wasn't one of them. I'm more of a beer guy.

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