“Crashes and panics often are precipitated by the revelation of some misfeasance, malfeasance, or malversation (the corruption of officials) that occurred during the mania. One inference is that swindles are a response to the appetite for wealth (or plain greed) stimulated by the boom; the Smiths wanted to keep up with the Joneses and some Smiths engage in fraudulent behavior to do so. As the monetary system gets stretched, institutions lose liquidity and as unsuccessful swindles seem about to be revealed, the temptation to take the money and run becomes virtually irresistible.”
– Charles P. Kindleberger, Manias, Panics and Crashes
This quote was recently brought to mind as a result of the sheer volume of fraud that has been uncovered recently.
It’s a testament to just how much greed has been stimulated by the boom and validates the fact we currently find ourselves in the midst of a mania. Most recently, I was struck by the blatantly fraudulent photo released by a space-focused company looking to cash in on the recent boom in speculative interest in that area of the stock market.