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Planet Ponzi: Gloomy economic predictions

The hedge fund manager Mitch Feierstein contends that the scams orchestrated by convicted fraudsters like Bernie Madoff are small fry compared to those being perpetrated by the powers that be.

As proven by the Texan businessman and one-time cricket impresario Allen Stanford's recent conviction, the gullible are still fair game for the get-rich-quick allure of a Ponzi scheme.

Yet in his new book, the hedge fund manager Mitch Feierstein contends that the multi-billion dollar scams orchestrated by convicted fraudsters like Stanford and Bernie Madoff are small fry compared to those currently being perpetrated by the powers that be.

He argues that the mountain of debt acquired by governments from private firms in 2008 means they are now struggling for survival by selling bonds that, lacking the quality assets to underwrite them, are essentially worthless.

So although Feierstein writes witty and accessible prose, his gloomy predictions of looming economic catastrophe make for a largely disheartening read.

According to the author, the only way to resolve the current financial mess is to treat it as you would a Ponzi: cease its operation, clean up the damage and bring the perpetrators to justice. However, don't count on seeing any officials joining Stanford and Madoff behind bars any time soon.

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