Jim Chanos: The Catastrophe Capitalist

I have a piece this week in New York Magazine that profiles renowned short-seller Jim Chanos. In the rarefied world of global finance, candid opinion is a rare commodity, discretion is prized—ask a question about Goldman, and you’ll be greeted with a silence bordering on omerta. But Chanos, whether responding to petty zoning disputes or exposing market bubbles, does not subscribe to this code. Ever since Bear Stearns blew up last March, Wall Street’s beleaguered CEOs have accused shorts like Chanos of manipulating the media, leaking damaging rumors to journalists and profiting off their banks’ demise. Chanos, in addition to posting returns of 50 percent, has been waging a public battle to clear short-sellers’ name, and prove that inept Wall Street CEOs are the ones we should be taking down.

From the piece:

As a short-seller, Chanos earns a living by borrowing and then selling shares of a company he thinks will experience trouble. When the stock tumbles, he buys back the depressed shares and returns them to the lender, pocketing the difference. In other words, Chanos is a financial undertaker. He makes a profit when companies die. And when there’s an epidemic, he gets richer still.

Read the full story HERE:


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