Sam Bankman-Fried

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Myths and legends of the market
The JC’s guide to the foundational mythology of the markets.™
Sam Bankman-Fried, yesterday.
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Named after the character Chance the Gardener, in Hal Ashby’s 1979 film Being There in which Chance, a mentally-challenged, sheltered gardener who has never left his house (Peter Sellers), accidentally becomes an trusted advisor to a powerful tycoon and a powerful insider in Washington politics, and impliedly president.

The Sam Bankman-Fried story was spookily presaged, by almost a century, in the form of Otto Büchstein’s story of Little Nick-A-Fund, from his 1891 collection Cruwwelpeter.

The Story of Little Nick-a-Fund

One day Mother said, “Samuel dear,
I must go out and leave you here.
But, ‘mind your clients’ is what I say:
Don’t use their cash while I’m away.
The great tall regulator comes
To boys who nick their clients’ funds;
And ’ere they dream what he’s about,
He takes his great big baton out,
And bops and carts them off, toute suite
That’s what happens to boys who cheat.”

Mother had scarcely turned her back,
Sam took the lot: Alack! Alack!
The door flew open, in he ran,
That great, red-legged enforcer-man!
Oh! Children, see! The bopper’s come
And caught our dopey Nick-a-Fund.
Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! The truncheon goes;
And Samuel cries out “Oh! Oh! Oh!”
Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! It goes so fast,
Both Sam’s wrists in cuffs at last!

Ma posts bail, and there Sam stands,
He looks quite sad. He shows his hands;
“Ah!” said Mother, “I knew they’d come
For naughty little Nick-a-Fund.”
Now obedient children, wish to soon —
To hold for dear life to the moon,
And you may lose what little sum
You took from bank of Dad and Mum:
They pay no interest nor respects
To those who punt on FTX.

See also