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To be killed not cured


So Madoff gets 150 years, the Financial Services Authority gets “tougher” on hedge funds and insider dealing, and stability returns to business and households, says Mandelson.

Messrs Branson, Gates and Buffet are suitably chastened having lost a third of their wealth, and the veil is lifted on the “fiscal paradises” [French for tax havens] of Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, Andorra and Aruba, Switzerland and Singapore, Monaco, Belgium, Hong Kong and the Channel Islands.

A miraculous cure is discovered for addiction to risk as the inmates take over the casino. Capitalism has learned its lesson and collapse on such a scale can never, never happen again. So Marx got it wrong...? On the contrary: he got it so right.

The lives of the next generation and beyond have been irreparably blighted – not because of Madoff (he wasn’t the first and won't be the last), but because of the system which permits a Madoff or a Goodwin (RBS) to operate.

Capitalism is like the many-headed hydra – it will recover unless we kill it off.