Michael Milken — A Medical Research Innovator?

Ever since I read Den of Thieves two years ago, I thought that people like Mike Milken would be despised everywhere, by Wall Street, by the media, by the general public — He traded on insider information, he accumulated enough market power to inflate the junk bond prices, and many middle class who followed were left with worthless papers; he fostered corporate raids and destroyed many business. How can the public tolerate such a person?

I was so naive! My first surprise came from Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street. Obviously, Michael Lewis did not think Milken as a criminal when he wrote “Liar’s Poker”. And in some sense, Michael Lewis thought that Milken spotted a good financial innovation opportunity (junk bond) that Solomon Brothers missed.

My second surprise came when I was listening to the radio. The radio broadcasted an ad for Wharton economic summit , where Milken is listed as the number one keynote speaker, even ahead of the finance professor Jeremy Siegel. I can’t help to look for the ads and see how they advertise the “junk bond king”. And to my surprise again, now he is “The Man Who Changed Medicine”! And obviously, his name is what attracts people to come to the summit.

Obviously, he has many followers, particularly from Wall Street. Everyone can have his/her own take on Milken’s past. I am fine with that. But from what time he has become a Medical Research Innovator ? By giving some money to some medical research center to get tax deduction? This will be an interesting path to be a medical research innovator 🙂

And what’s more interesting is that he will team up with Professor Jeremy Siegel, the author of The Future for Investors: Why the Tried and the True Triumph Over the Bold and the New. He “is a buy-and-hold kind of guy who predicts that an unprecedented wave of discovery and innovation will fuel economic growth in the U.S. and provide superior returns for investors who are patient.” What is his take on Milken’s junk bonds?

Should be an interesting speech (at least to me). But $499 a ticket, plus travel expense… no way for a deal hunter like me.