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Betting on Zero

This documentary tells the story of Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager, who shorted Herbalife shares with the intention of demonstrating that the company is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. It was interesting to have a glimpse into the daily activities of a billionaire who considers himself to be an engaged activist. The film provides a critical examination into the practices of Herbalife and the people’s lives, primarily low-income Hispanic, who lost their investments in the company. For many, the money invested primarily went to those higher in the hierarchy, while the smaller investors failed to realize profits from the products. Ultimately, the federal government indicted Herbalife for misleading advertising schemes (Herbalife settled by paying 200M), but the victims of its marketing ploys realized no return from the company for their failed investments. Thumbs up for a film that provides examination into how pyramid companies operate and how the uber-rich can be positive forces for change.

About Gary Burkholder

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