07 March 2010
Selling America Short
The official publication date is late next month, but if you're impatient, you can read large chunks of it via the amazon webpage.
So: who is Richard Sauer? He is a very prominent securities lawyer, a partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP, who is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law. Most pertinent perhaps for the book, he was recently on the SEC staff. He was Assistant Director of the Division of Enforcement in the Securities and Exchange Commission.
So should the title of the book be: Why we didn't catch Madoff? Well, no ... his attention is elsewhere, and on another day I'll discuss his thesis. But for today, I'll content myself with quoting a brief passage relating to Bernie.
"Sad to say, it is not realistic to hope we can greatly improve the effectiveness of our regulatory agencies. Talent runs out of the government lke water through a colander, pulled out by the bigger dollars available, or pushed out by administrative folly. ...The SEC's failure to catch Bernie Madoff until he confessed was not a fluke. So poorly do government agencies understand the entities they regulate, they can sometimes be confounded by even thinly disguised frauds."
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.