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Brokers Editorial: Did an HBO TV sitcom predict FTX Ponzi scheme?

Believe it or not, at one time, Sam Bankman-Fried received notable media coverage for his ethical approach to doing business, particularly “effective altruism”. New York Times, May 2022:

He lives modestly for a billionaire and has pledged to give away virtually his entire fortune, which currently stands at $21.2 billion, according to Forbes. A growing force in political fund-raising, he has a super PAC that recently gave more than $10 million to a Democratic congressional candidate who supports some of his philanthropic priorities. … a straight-talking brainiac willing to embrace regulation of his nascent industry and criticize its worst excesses.

Both Mr. Bankman-Fried’s parents are Stanford Law School professors who have studied utilitarianism, an ethical framework that calls for decisions calculated to secure the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. “It’s the kind of thing we’d discuss in the house,” said Mr. Bankman-Fried’s father, Joseph Bankman.

As might be expected for a young man raised on dinner-table discussions of moral theory, Mr. Bankman-Fried is also an admirer of Peter Singer, the Princeton University philosopher widely considered the intellectual father of “effective altruism,” an approach to philanthropy in which donors strategize to maximize the impact of their giving.

Mr. Singer, whose scholarship helped inspire the movement, said he has gotten to know Mr. Bankman-Fried over the years and called his philanthropy “wonderful and really quite amazing.”

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Real Estate Ethics

In reality, Bankman-Fried orchestrated a years-long fraud to conceal from FTX’s investors (1) the undisclosed diversion of FTX customers’ funds to Alameda Research LLC, his privately-held crypto hedge fund; (2) the undisclosed special treatment afforded to Alameda on the FTX platform, including providing Alameda with a virtually unlimited “line of credit” funded by the platform’s customers

Some politicians have received ill gotten gains from this Ponzi scheme. Will these politicians return their ill-gotten money so that the small depositors at FTX can get some of their money back? Perhaps this is why we didn’t see and congressional hearings.

Who could have predicted all of this? Well, the writers of the HBO series Silicon Valley! In Season 6, which aired in 2018 did.

Boston condo ethics

Boston Real Estate Brokers Ethic Guidelines

In case your wondering, Boston real estate brokers and agents have an enforceable code of ethics. In addition, to the Boston Real Estate Board that can hear complaints and enforce penalties. The state of Massachusetts can suspend or revoke a license for not paying taxes and other violations.

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