Couldn't help to make the connection. The very same week hunger-riots hit the headlines after a surge in food prices, the magazine Institutional Investor released its ranking of the top hedge-funds earners for 2007. The laureate is John Paulson, unknown to many (not anymore) who made $3.7bn (almost half a Kerviel!) last year by betting against complex mortgages securities that subsequently collapsed. Other winners include George Soros (net gain: $2.9bn), and James Simons ($2.8bn), a former military code breaker who is now taking care of his retirement. The fourth one is Philip Falcone ($1.7bn) whose fund, Harbinger Capital Partners is putting pressure against the New York Times. One interesting piece of data : six years ago, it took $20m to be in this top 25 earners ranking. Now it requires at least $360m, 18 times more. Oh, by the way, in this week's issue, The Economist reminds us that the World Food Program needs -- urgently -- $700m to avoid an additional 100m people to fall in absolute poverty. That's the decimal figure of Mr. Paulson's gain. Not his fault of course. As the French aircraft maker Marcel Dassault put it when asked about his wealth, "I can't take more than four meals a day".

Print Friendly