Bernie Madoff's arrest could not have come at a more darkly poetic moment. Economic upheaval had plunged America into a horrid recession. Then, on December 11, 2008, Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme came to light. A father turned in by his sons; a son who took his own life; another son dying and estranged from his father; a woman at the center of a storm—Madoff's story was a media magnet, voraciously consumed by a justice-seeking public.
Bernie Madoff and the Crisis goes beyond purely investigative accounts to examine how and why Madoff became the epicenter of public fury and titillation. Rooting her argument in critical sociology, Colleen P. Eren analyzes media coverage of this landmark case alongside original interviews with dozens of journalists and editors involved in the reportage, the SEC Director of Public Affairs, and Bernie Madoff himself.
Turning the mirror back onto society, Eren locates Madoff within a broader reckoning about free market capitalism. She argues that our ideological and cultural tendencies to attribute blame to individuals—be they regulators, victims, or "monsters" like Madoff—distracts us from more systemic critiques. Bernie Madoff and the Crisis offers fresh insight into the 2008 crisis, whether we have come to terms with it, and what we have yet to gain from the case of the century.
About the authors
Colleen P. Eren is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College.
"Eren crafts a narrative of Bernie Madoff's crimes as a sweeping comment on our society at large, which created and upheld the kill-or-be-killed finance ethos, and thereby produced the twenty-first century version of a Wall Street serial killer."
—Erin Arvedlund, author of Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff
"There is important primary data here and a creative analysis. Eren makes a notable contribution to the literature on financial crime, as well as our understanding of the role that the Madoff case played during an unfolding financial crisis."
—Kitty Calavita, University of California, Irvine, author of Big Money Crime
"Eren uses massive amounts of media commentary and interviews—with journalists and Madoff himself—to reveal salient points about the contemporary economy, society, and its demonology. An easy read, and an informative one as we continue to sift through the ashes of the financial crisis and our societal stance on white collar crime."
—Michael Levi, Cardiff University and author of The Phantom Capitalists and Regulating Fraud
"Eren provides the first investigation of why the crimes of Wall Street and Madoff—though economically and legally dissimilar—were culturally inseparable to the public. Steeped in the voices of reporters, regulators, and Bernie himself, this book is a major contribution to the study of white-collar crime."
—Gregg Barak, Eastern Michigan University, author of Theft of a Nation: Wall Street Looting and Federal Regulatory Colluding