The Ponzi-Scheme Meme

Profit-motivated designer viruses, many of which are completely legal and aboveboard today, have their shady origins in the crooked Ponzi scheme.* Charles Ponzi was an Italian immigrant who opened a business in Boston in 1919 called the Securities Exchange Company. He offered to repay people's investments in 90 days with 50 percent interest: an investment of $10 would bring $15 in three months.

His story was that he bought international postal reply coupons in Europe and, due to currency fluctuations, redeemed them in the United States at a profit. People started to get suspicious when a newspaper discovered that, with $15 million invested in Ponzi's firm in eight months, only $360 in postal reply coupons had been sold-in the entire world!

Ponzi's scheme was simple: as long as his base of investors kept growing, he could pay off early investors with the cash pumped in by later ones. When the newspaper story broke and people stopped investing, Ponzi was found to owe $ 7 million and have only $4 million in assets. The later investors were out of luck.


How it works and how it spread.

Folksonomies: economics memetics

/finance/investing (0.490505)
/technology and computing/operating systems/mac os (0.432335)
/business and industrial (0.173303)

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Charles Ponzi (0.949462): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Investment (0.862538): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
International reply coupon (0.720971): dbpedia | freebase
Ponzi scheme (0.719840): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Finance (0.583850): dbpedia | freebase

 Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Brodie , Richard (2011-02-15), Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme, Hay House, Retrieved on 2011-05-29
Folksonomies: memetics memes ideas