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What's the difference between an Albanian and a "victim" of Bernie Madoff? Plus, how Britain's politicians are shafting virgins

By Jonathan Ford   March 2009

Pyramids in Albania

One of the curiosities about finance is our inability to learn from past mistakes. If anything, as time passes we magnify them.

This is certainly true, as we know all too well, of financial manias and bubbles. But it applies equally to financial scams. Take the humble Ponzi scheme, which has been with us for almost 90 years. One might have thought we’d have wised up by now to this pyramid operation—what PJ O’Rourke once called “the old ‘send five dollars to the name at the top of the list, put your name at the bottom of…

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