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How your bank measures up against Louie the Loan Shark

The predictive power of literary devices

After Bernie Madoff’s high-flying investment business proved to be a giant Ponzi Scheme, investors learned the hard way that you don’t put your money in the hands of a guy whose name is a homonym for “made off.”

And don’t forget the fate of Bear Stearns, whose name is a Wall Street allusion to lousy marketing conditions.

When MF Global declared bankruptcy after “misplacing” an estimated (nobody seems able to figure out the exact amount) $1 billion of investors’ money, should there be surprise that this happened at a company whose name is an acronym for … ?

So what if other literary devices are applied?

  • Irony: Rabobank and any firm using the words “Trust” and “Securities”
  • Anthropomorphism: Lazard
  • Anagram: Morgan Stanley becomes  Mangle A Snorty

The upshot? Symantics matter.