Friday, November 28, 2003

“Mum and dad” investors and Henry Kaye

James Button writes today:

The rise and fall of Henry Kaye says a lot about the fears of ordinary Australians worried about the future and captivated by a dream of instant wealth.

Actually, it says a lot more about the stupidity of, and herd instinct among, large swathes of baby boomers – whose only relationship to “ordinary Australians” is that the greedy dumb boomers thought they could all be landlords to the less fortunate rest of the population.

Henry Kaye was, of course, an oily, smooth-talking spiv. But journalist James Button is not far behind him is the overvaluation-of-a-crock stakes.

In August, Button had a piece in The Age hand-wringing over the plight of a couple of Henry Kaye victims, Irene and Bruno Francescutti.

Then today:

But one couple, remarkably, escaped [the Henry Kaye collapse]. Irene and Bruno Francescutti paid $25,000 for a Kaye course. A few days after signing up [in February 2003] they tried to get out, arguing they had a strong case under a "cooling-off" clause in the contract. The company rejected their case. But this week, out of the blue, a letter arrived providing them a refund.

“Out of the blue”, eh James? While I would certainly like to think that a journo (and baby boomer, of course) going in ferociously to bat for a couple of foolish victims (also boomers) does not give the latter a privileged shortcut – otherwise known in insolvency law as a “preference” – who am I kidding?

As to why James Button is being so modest about his own role in rescuing the stricken Francescuttis – well, he’d already forsaken objective journalism in his earlier story (by not canvassing the couple’s own responsibility for their actions), so why not compound the crime?

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