Over the past week or so I’ve had an illuminating assignment at A Company Called Malice, Inc. I’ve been working on a marketing thought piece on Distressed Debt investing. Finance is not my field of expertise. I don’t do content. I’m the design/layout make-it-look-pretty guy. I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about Distressed Debt investing. But what I’m reading makes my flesh crawl just a bit.
As I understand it, Distressed Debt is the opportunity to invest in companies that are in the final stages of life. They invest in companies that are faltering because of financial and/or operational difficulties. This is, on the surface, an almost benevolent act. They are giving troubled companies a cash infusion with the hopes of profiting on their recovery. What a great bunch of altar boys.
But it’s the tone of this piece and my conversations with the authors that irks me. The message is that, while it’s a damn shame that small business are failing at record rates and unemployment is above 10%, hey, fraternity brothers, let’s not weep in our beers over these losers because guess what? There’s lots and lots of money to be made on their failure. Let’s not pass up an opportunity to cash in.
The piece practically celebrates the fact that we are not at the end of the current distressed cycle and stresses that there’s going to be plenty more meat and bones for the Golden Boys to pick over and profit from.
It’s a terribly cold and calloused piece, especially when you consider the fact that this is the same bunch that got us into this mess in the first place. But business is business. And while it eats at my guts just a bit to be associated with this industry, I’ve got a mortgage to pay and two children to feed, so I’ll keep my mouth shut and do what I’m told. Yessah! Whatever you say sah! I sho hopes you admires mah work.
You don’t have the link to that paper you’re reading, do you?
Very poignant, and sadly so very true. I point blank refuse to be polite to my bank manager. He was caught rubbing his hands together over the sale of repossessed houses that he handled last year.The evil that men do…
Hope you’re able to turn it all off when you go home at night UB. Must feel quite soul destroying at times
I fear ‘profiting from other’s misfortune’ has been, and will continue to be, with us for a long time!
Socialism may be utopian (in the original root meaning of the word)….but capitalism is fueled by one man’s willingness to screw over another…..The terms to which we agree to operate in ‘organized’, ‘cooperative’ society sometimes leaves me baffled…..
Sid: I think it’s probably not a good idea to link the piece. God forbid my taskmasters find out I’m disparaging their motivations.Jimmy: Hasn’t it been like this throughout all of human history, though? Mankind never disappointments me.Nurse: I’m trying to focus on the cold hard fact that without the cash infusion, many of these companies would go belly-up. It’s just a hell of a way to turn a profit.Map: It seems no matter what form of government is in power, this is a reoccurring theme.JZ: You should see the view from inside the belly of the beast. It’s a wonder that I can eat my lunch on some days.
it’s disgusting, certainly, when the tone is celebratory. as if buzzards could have conversations during a terrible drought…”the perils of benefactors, the blessings of parasites”…but it’s part of the cycle of life. carrion fowl serve purp ose…
so where is the “Mufasa” to stand up for these companies? certainly not the government. they’re more interested in protecting the huge companies than the little guy. yeah, wash your hands well after doing this job.
Daisy: The Circle of Life! You picked up on my Lion King metaphor. Well done.Gnu: There are no Mufasas. Certainly not where I work. That’s only in the movies, my friend.
One reason I got really disillusioned with advertising was because my job was to sell people things they didn’t need and couldn’t afford. Now I work at a nonprofit and I can assure you that the hyenas are abundant in the ivory towers as well.