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Friday, October 31, 2008

Wally of the Week: Seth Freedman

No, this week's Wally isn't Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross (that would have been far too obvious), but a creature named Seth Freedman (pictured above).

Seth who? I hear you ask. Seth has written a quite hilarious- and at the same time disturbing piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free website in which he berates the British public- and the media - for taking delight in the plight of hedge fund managers who lost billions by short-selling VW shares.

The media have seized with glee upon the plight of hedge fund managers who have lost billions by short-selling VW shares. knowledge and comprehension of the events at hand were sacrificed in favour of uncontrolled delight at the outcomes.
The background to the VW affair is simple enough; what is less easy to comprehend is the kicking the press and public have meted out to the losing traders whilst they were down......
much-maligned minority of hedge fund managers – widely believed to be the root cause of all evil by arch-socialists, archbishops and politicians alike – are treated as social pariahs, mocked and ridiculed at every turn, whether they make or lose money.

Freedman whinges.

Then, in an extraordinary paragraph, he writes:

The public's refusal to acknowledge that traders and fund managers have also suffered during this spell of market turmoil means the market players are unlikely to feel compelled to offer much sympathy to the public's plight in return, sympathy that many commentators are demanding be extended by the City on an almost-daily basis.

So there you have it. Unless the public (that's you and I, dear reader) show more sympathy to the plight of those poor, poor 'market players', they're not going to show much sympathy to us.

Freedman, a former City trader clearly sees it as a battle between the Masters of the Universe-ie 'the market players' and the rest of us. We'd better show them some respect and stop laughing at their misfortune, or else.

I don't think any article I have yet read on the financial crisis demonstrates the extraordinary arrogance of those who 'play the markets' as much as this one.

They really do think they are a breed apart from 'the public' who instead of spending their days 'short-selling' companies actually do things which add to the wealth of the country.

It's good to see Freedman's disgusting article receive a mauling from CIF readers.

But I'm pleased he's written it: as it shows quite clearly the arrogant, elitist mindset of those who have it all their own way, for far too long.

UPDATE: It seems that Seth Freedman is carving out quite a lucrative little career for himself writing about such matters. report:

Viking have signed the former stockbroker turned writer Seth Freedman for "an insider account of greed, corruption and excess in the City", due next April. A mix of memoir, reportage and interviews, Viking hopes it will reveal the extent to which risking millions every day can be addictive, as well as explaining the inner workings of the market from short selling to bonds swaps.

Editorial director Joel Rickett paid what he described as a "healthy five-figure sum" for the book


Anonymous said...

You're right Neil, the article is a shocking display of arrogance.

One thing you haven't picked up on though is the ending.

The writer, who is Israeli and who has served in the IDF, sneers at "the great British tradition of sticking the boot in without a second thought". Imagine the outcry if a British writer made a similar comment on Comment is Free about "the great Israeli tradition of sticking the boot in without a second thought"?

I'm sure Harry's Place and co would have been on to it like a shot, calling for the writer in question to be sacked (and hung drawn and quartered) for 'antisemitism'.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean, Neil. When I heard the news about this I (literally) wanted to sing and dance!

These greedy disgusting bastards lost TO Porsche - and now they'll be losing THEIR Porsches too!

Doesn't it just make your heart bleed for them? :-)

Let's just hope that Oliver Kamm was one of the ones who got smashed up and ruined by this!

Schadenfreude! Pure Schadenfreude!

olching said...

This is a great choice for wally of the week, and richly deserved!

I did not know that Freedman was a former city trader himself.

Good stuff, Neil.

abitofamasaryk said...

but he's my friend

Anonymous said...

The article, much more, Freedman's cosy relationship with CIF is pretty disgusting given his views, which in reference to the I/P, he has managed to moderate somewhat. (now claims to be anti zionist preferring one state. Bet the Palestinians feel all warm inside at the thought) despite freedmans piss poor article the vast majority believe Porsche took the hedge funders on at their own game and gave them a pasting, and good on 'em. Can't afford a car but I'll proudly sport a Porsche 1 Parasites 0, T shirt in their honour.
Freedman was actually born in England, he left to live in Israel and join the idf. Asked if he would hand over his British passport, which he called his "golden ticket" he said more or less, on no terms would he give up British citizenship. Makes you wonder why, what with his disdain for our British traditions. He obviously thinks we're good enough for somethings.

Anonymous said...

abitofamasaryk turns up where
ever, whenever, Freedman gets a mention. Bit Creepy really.

Anonymous said...

"He obviously thinks we're good enough for somethings."

yeah, a fucking good laugh at our expense.
Neil, who let abitofamasaryk in? Stick the "no wankers allowed" sign up please.

Neil Clark said...

thanks for the comments.

'abitofamasary'- are you, I wonder, one of the City trader 'friends' Freedman talks about in his previous piece on CIF on how 9/11 was a great day to make money?

'Cynical as it may seem, some of my friends from my City days still recall 9/11 as one of the greatest sessions of their trading lives; the day that they cleaned up in spades on the back of the misery and massacre of thousands of others'.

Anonymous said...

"abitofamasaryk said...
but he's my friend"

That's one each then.

Anonymous said...

Seth Freedman recently had a spat with the Jerusalem Post (Freedman linked to it on one of this threads) anyway, someone commented (on an article/thread critiquing Freedman) about wanting to kick Freedman in the nether regions. Freedman complained to the JP editor, gets an apology and some compensation sent to a charity of his choice, think it was B'tselem. Big argument ensues, readers crying foul cos of Freedman's aggressive behaviour on some of his CIF threads - Who do you suppose jump in to back Seth Freedman up in this matter of 'to apologise or not to apologise no matter, how big a case of pots and kettles' ?
Non other than David Taube (Harry's Place) and Alex Brummer (City Editor of the Daily Mail) in an article in the Jewish chronicle.
I've never known Zionists and anti Zionists be so supportive. Funny old world.

Martin said...


Freedman that

"The machinations of the market are, as always, best left to be devoured and digested by those who properly understand its intricacies and idiosyncracies, rather than served up to a poorly-informed public for their unsavoury enjoyment."

I have rarely seen elitism expressed more arrogantly.

Nick said...

Fallen angels with broken wings? How sad - doubtless they're all down to the last couple of million in their bank accounts. Now let's see, how much have I got in mine, and how much is it earning in these new, low interest times? Ah yes; up you and yours, Mr Freedman.

Anonymous said...

Freedman may be a wally, but judging by his book deal he's going to be a very rich wally.

Anonymous said...

"Freedman may be a wally, but judging by his book deal he's going to be a very rich wally."

The mean dispirited glibness of this retort sounds familiar, but in answer - that's because there's a sucker born every minute, his threads are littered with them. IMO, he's a salesman. Go back to what he was selling initially, not much comfort in there for the Palestinians or foreign nationals flattened by a bulldozer or shot while trying to save Palestinian kids. Freedman's always talked about his religion a fair bit, now he says it isn't compatible with zionism. Obviously he thinks it is compatible with making money from money (or to be precise, other peoples money/enterprise) no matter the global chaos and human misery and suffering it causes.
I'm always dubious about people who bring god into it.

Anonymous said...

"I've never known Zionists and anti Zionists be so supportive. Funny old world."

Think Labour and Conservative or Republican and Democrat, basically joined at the hip "where it counts"
I believe the word you're looking for is "triangulation."

Anonymous said...

This man is a joke, his views changes very quickly.
He is pro settlers, but against settlements, against check points but served on them as an Israeli soldier.

I bet he writes as he grows up.

Anonymous said...

This might interest some of your readers

"I'm speculating (!) that the secrecy that invested the hedge funds carried over to the neoconservative political ideology these men funded. And so the Bill Kristols and David Frums of the world did not feel that they owed personal transparency to the world. I always compare Kristol's father's and uncle's openness about their Jewishness in their politics to the subterfuge that Kristol engages in. In that link he seems paranoid about such exposure. Frum has radiated the same vibe at times. Everyone says, well that's Straussian. Maybe it's hedgeian."

Anonymous said...

This made me chuckle, because Toube, ( who gave Freedman a shoulder to cry on) according to this off JSF, tried to claim he wasn't a zionist either.

"It could be that David Toube has genuinely been misled by the propaganda that has it that Israel is just another state and not the colonial settler state it clearly is. But then we come to the other story of conversion. In the thread, an anonymous commenter has this to say: Is this the same David T who, only a few months ago on the Socialist Unity blog, complained that “Everybody calls me a Zionist, even though I’m in favour of non-ethnically based states….”?"

"What there is in David T’s current politics that justifies the assertion that he is not a Zionist certainly beats me."

David Toube of Harry's Place (sic) fame. Interesting place to work in these Global times

Anglonoel said...

I'm not so sure about hedge funds, but from that pic Seth sure looks like he sleeps in a hedge.

jock mctrousers said...

This has created quite a stir on this sleepy little blog.
It's a sad comment on what's become of the Guardian under Riceburger and Kettle. It was never very convincing as a 'left' outlet, but now it's just plain nauseating, probably the most right-wing of the lot, in keeping with their support for NuLab, who are, as someone pointed out to me, to the right even of Mussolini.

I don't look at CIF anymore, since they barred me for insufficient adulation of 'a certain group'. But I remember that guy. NICE, liberal, rich, fashionable, humane, tolerant of gays, mixes with all the kosher techy millionaires in that pub on Hampstead Heath, got an iPod, we should treat the Palestinians better, or maybe not, a perfect advert for a holiday in Israel, or a home in Golder's Green. The Guardian, like NuLab, are 'intensely comfortable' with people getting stinking rich, and even being murdering racists, as long as they have a nice, fashionable PR smile, and attract some advertisers.
And the Guardian has a name for being antisemitic - if you didn't laugh you'd cry!

Anonymous said...

you're all a bunch of pauper morons, with little understanding of finance or the world around it. I look forward to you all working for my tax avoidance schemes, every single comment here is factually incorrect and shows a complete dyslexia prevalent amongst wannabe political retards

Big J said...

What about Lawyers, Estate agents etc etc....we live in a capitalist state, the markets are the heartbeat of the economy. The public dont understand the markets and are envious of the money generated. If you dont like capatist thinking and arent smart enough to understand the markets please go live in a communist state and whine about not having any food to eat. You all got your home loans, car loans and pension funds through the market....noone whined on the way up, but when it falls everyone has an opinion. Pathetic, misinformed public idiots.