Alpha magazine dropped its first shoe when it released the salaries of the top 100 hedge fund managers, with the top master of the universe, James Simons, earning an astonishing $1.7 billion in 2006 and the top 25 an average of more than half a billion. In 2006, the compensation of this top 25 soared 57% from the year before and 127% from 2004.

A handful of news outlets ran the story, many condemning the nine- and 10-figure salaries as "obscene," "sheer avarice," "incredible greed," "inequality not seen since the 1920s"-and even "inherently immoral." The New York Times referred to this elite group of hedge fund managers as "alpha males...winning the Darwinian competition for capital."

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