Finally, I Know
But no-one I have heard cared to explain what these beasts are.
Finally tonight I decided to do a bit of research, and I found this page about hedge funds, from a company specialized in hedge funds. I have also consulted a lecture that is part of the curriculum at New York University.
What strikes me is that hedge funds are very big, and subject to much less regulation than other investment funds. They are permitted to use aggressive instruments not allowed for other funds in fact.
I am wary of governmental regulation, but that does not mean I want no regulation at all. Put in a different way, a game needs rules to be played. Because without rules it's back to lying, cheating and stealing, and in the case of global finance on a scale that can influence the destiny of whole countries.
So I agree with the idea of more regulation for hedge funds. As with all regulation, tho, the never-answered question is "Who watches the watchmen?".
A discussion that pops up on the internet from time to time (latest example here) is whether the nuclear bombing of Japan in 1945 was a war crime or not (my opinion in condensed form: No, and don't bore me with asking the question).
But it led me to finally formalize a thought that has been around my head for some time: the Americans kinda shoot themselves in the foot with the Nuremberg Trials.
There were quite a few questionable aspects regarding the International Military Tribunal, but in my opnion the worst was the creation of a new set of crimes that nowadays are being used liberally to bash past and present conduct of war of Western countries*.
Of course, what I wrote about must not be misconstrued as simpathy for the Nazi leaders. In fact, I think the vile beings should have been executed summarily. Because the winners can do that, and nobody would have missed those executed. And even if some innocents had been killed... that would have been only a few more drops in the most horrible sea of blood.
* Not only western countries, I have to admit. But see how well the international organisms are working against the Sudanese regime for example.