The following secret recording of the first and only meeting of Greedaholics Anonymous was smuggled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, stuffed down the bra of the attaché working as a “comfort girl” to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“Welcome, everybody to the first meeting of … uh … hey, will somebody tell Rajarantam to stop shoving food in his pockets? Come on, Raj, the donuts are for everybody.
“And Bernie, take your lips off the coffee spigot, it’s not sanitary. Use a golden chalice like everyone else.
“Now, where was I? Oh yes. Welcome all, to the inaugural meeting of Greedaholics Anonymous.
“We are here today because our souls are hurting; the terrible damage we’ve done with our insatiable greed ruins our relationships, endangers our health and torments our consciences.
“All our lives we’ve felt alone, the whole world a stranger, good only for feeding our huge, gaping maws. But we’re not alone. Here, in this haven, we are not fraudsters, currency manipulators, company killers, pension raiders and widow foreclosers. Here nobody will call us rainforest-destroying, reef-raping, toxic-sludge dumping scum.
“Here we are among friends.
“Before we begin, it will be necessary for us to learn a strange new skill: It’s called ‘sharing.’ Now don’t be scared, it’s got nothing to do with money. It’s just a word twelve step programs use for talking about everyone’s favorite subject: themselves.
“Robert, do you want to go first?”
“Hi, my name is Bob and I’m a greedaholic.”
“I need help, I’m a sick man. The other night, after playing Liar’s Libor at the Viper Room, I got so geeked up on my power that I blew out a disk having sex with a posse of hookers in the back seat of my Lamborghini. Next day I expensed the whole deal to The Royal Bank of Scotland and they covered it! I was so ashamed I couldn’t touch a derivative for a week.”
“Thank you Bob, you’ve shown a lot of courage tonight. Who’s next?”
“Hi, my name is Ivan and I’m a greedaholic.”
“I’m having problems with step 8, the one that says we should ‘Make a list of the persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.’
“I was wondering, would it be okay if I made a list of those I didn’t harm instead? I mean, for the sake of efficiency.”
“I don’t see why not, Ivan. But what have you done about the amends?”
“Plenty! I just made a huge contribution to the women working at my Foxconn factory in China.”
“Good for you, Ivan! Did you raise their pay?”
“Uh … that never occurred to me. But I did fund a new suicide net out of my own pocket and it’s already caught six girl missiles. Does that count?”
“Sure it does. You kept those girls from hitting rock bottom.”
“Hi, my name is Donald and I’m a greedaholic.”
“I can’t help myself; I still want all the money. I live in constant dread that someone, somewhere, is a dollar richer than I am. Am I going to hell?”
“Maybe, but you better clear it with Bernie first. He owns it.”
“Hi, my name is Dick and I’m a greedaholic.”
“This one time … funny story, actually … I was the market maker for a major drug company. We were deep in clinical trials on a new compound, supposed to make your eyelashes longer. Thing is, we already blinded like nine women and I’m stuck in a heavy long position. So, I’m on the phone to the lead doc screaming ‘Don’t tell ‘em yet! I gotta dump my options. Can you wait until the strike date?’”
“Well, did he?”
“Yup. I cut him in for half. But I felt so bad about it I snorted up all the profits.”
“You’re a hard case, Dick. But we all have our sad stories and the answer for all of us is the same. We must put our fate in the hands of a higher power.”
“I want to do that, I really do. But what can possibly be a higher power than money?”
“Uh …that’s a tough one…. How’s about a little help from the group. Anybody?”
“Credit default swaps?”
“Dark pool trading algorithms?”
(The tape goes silent here for several seconds.)
“I’m sorry everybody, but there’s no getting around it. Cash is king. This meeting of Greedaholics Anonymous his hereby adjourned. Forever.”