Birdman : The Pigeon King and the Ponzi Scheme

In a typical Ponzi scheme, like Bernie Madoff’s, the scammer moves money between investors, to pay what he claims are dividends on an investment that doesn’t actually exist. But Galbraith didn’t have a fake investment as a front. He had birds — lots of birds, and those birds created more birds, which he, in turn, was obligated to buy, then house, feed, water and medicate at considerable cost until he could sell them off to someone else. He appeared to miss the whole point of a Ponzi: He took the hidden, fungible fictions that give the scam its power and turned them into tangible liabilities.

→ The New York Times