Madoff Scheme Not Much Worse Than Legal Ones

End of communism let Wall Street become unhinged: Friedman
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2008 10:30 AM CST
In Hong Kong, which once saw Wall Street at a model to be emulated, Chinese capitalists now consider America corrupt, writes Thomas L. Friedman.   (©das farbamt)
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(Newser) – Wall Street used to be the epicenter of capitalism that the whole world wanted to emulate, but, on a trip to Hong Kong, Thomas Friedman discovers that the American financial establishment has lost its credibility. "We don’t just need a financial bailout," he writes in the New York Times, "we need an ethical bailout."

Bernard Madoff is "only slightly more outrageous" than the "legal Ponzi scheme" where banks bundled up bad mortgage debt and sold it, Friedman observes. And these days China seems more stable that the US, which has no strategy for ending the crisis. Madoff, he says, "is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations, and common sense."