MARK BARNES: Cheaters aren’t clever, they’re liars
Premature, undeserved and over-obvious wealth is easy to spot, and yet we seldom question it
It’s perfectly okay to make a lot of money. Some of my best friends know people who have made a lot of money. It’s like winning a race, someone’s got to do it. But there’s a difference between winning by running faster (whether that’s a result of natural talent or dedicated training) and coming first by cheating or breaking your opponent’s legs. Cheaters aren’t clever, they’re liars, but not everybody agrees with that. Many incisive articles have been written about the recent collapse of Steinhoff. The quest has been to understand how it happened, to diagnose, to unravel, to explain, to provide some sort of solace, I suppose, for how everyone was swept along, and off the cliff. It may bring some closure, but it won’t bring the money back, and it won’t prepare you for the next scheme, that’ll be a little different. There are however some common themes, mindsets, root causes and lessons. The economic ones are easier to distill (with the benefit of hindsight, of course). In Steinhoff’s...