Retiring hedge fund manager: Idiots made me rich
"May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established," wrote a multimillionaire retiring in his 30s in an open letter to those "stupid enough" to make him rich, which condemns the practices that did so and the system whose injustices he struggled with to get to where he is. Furthermore, he's leaving the business, content to "sit on the sidelines" and wait to see how the markets play out through the crisis, noting that "sitting and waiting" helped the subprime crash prove profitable.
"Today," Lahde Capital Management's Andrew Lahde wrote on Friday, "I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye."
"I was in this game for the money," he continued. "The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government.
"All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."
Lahde has enough money of his own to manage, he said, and furthermore, he'd be forgotten in fifty years like those who seek ever greater wealth, but whose lives "suck." "Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices."
"Give up on leaving your mark," he added. "Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life."
Lahde also called on billionaire George Soros to start a new system of government. "Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country," he wrote, "at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt...My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man’s interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken."
Lahde closed by advocating hemp as an energy source. "The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp," he said. "It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won...At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country?
"Ah, the female. The evil female plant – marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other addictive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources."
"I now have time to repair my health," he added, "which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life – where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management – with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not."
The entire letter is available to read at the Financial Times.