The American Scheme

I don’t think The New Yorker’s Sheelah Kolhatkar set out to write a story that, to a great extent, explains modern day America. But she may have done just that. Her absorbing look at a hedge fund’s repeated attempts to make big bucks by short-selling Herbalife (a company it viewed as a pyramid scheme) has it all. Big money financiers pulling economic and social levers like slot machine handles. Consumers determined to believe in the health benefits of products despite evidence to the contrary. An army of salespeople selling to other salespeople, all of them so desperate for a glimpse of the American dream that a joining multilevel marketing company seemed like a good a career move. And through it all, a trail of money that changes hands over and over until eventually landing in the bank accounts of those at the top of the food chain. On the surface it’s a Wall Street story about a short sale gone wrong and the near impossibility of bringing down a company that makes money for investors. But, if you read between the lines, it’s a Main Street story about a lot more than that. Financiers Fight Over The American Dream.

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