Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Prince of Poyais

"I think that this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s..." uttered Ed Balls, U.K. Cabinet Minister.  If you would like to read more, look here courtesy of the BBC.  The Prime Minister's office explained he was talking about the global financial economy, not the real one in the U.K.  Oh.

Well then.  Time for a resurgence of that amusing aptly-named genre, Rogue Literature, popular pamphlets published in Elizabethan times.  How does one keep from being conned or taken advantage of?  Small booklets on the seamy side of life provided amusement to all kinds of readers back in the days of old.  Many of them were written by the upper classes and provided the sensationalism of the day.  Samuel Rid, a man with no apparent biography wrote a pamphlet entitled "THE Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine" which detailed common con art tricks of the time.  

That was street crime.  But what about big schemes?  Gregor McGregor was the Bernard Madoff of his time, though far more romantic.  McGregor invented an island named Poyais and wrote an amazing book about it entitled "Sketch of the Mosquito Shore, including the territory of Poyais".  McGregor proclaimed that the islanders had declared him Prince of Poyais, and, were eager for settlers to join them.  He gathered investors, issued shares and minted his own fictitious island currency.  He sent ships of investors and settlers to the island.  This true story ends in a bad way as one might imagine.

There must be a good combination of the Gregor McGregor scheme and the world financial system rescue that could be hatched... 

No comments: