The week's strangest banking story appeared in the crime section of Maariv.

The paper's reporter for southern Israel, Shimon Ifergen, related the tale of a manpower company owner who claims to have had an open credit line with his banker. In exchange, the branch manager and his friends received a unique service. The manpower executive would arrange orgies with foreign workers at his villa in Arad. This cozy arrangement lasted three years, Maariv reported.

The manpower manager explained that the deal with the bankers was simple. You organize the orgies, we'll give you credit with no securities. When the foreign workers were expelled from Israel, the bank cut off the credit, and the manpower executive complained to the bank's auditor. The bank confirmed that the affair is under investigation.

The size and nature of the grain of truth in the man's offbeat complaint remain to be elucidated. What's sure is that the story pricked up ears throughout the banking establishment, not to mention the business community.

While discoursing on banking and sexual escapades, we felt it our duty to inform our readers that there are colossal, perfectly legal orgies happening in the global capital markets, over years, in which millions of investors and lenders take part.

Greenspan and Bush: This is the central orgy that's rippling around the rest of the planet, triggering mini-splurges. Even after the interest rate hikes, real interest in the U.S. is practically zero, after two years of being negative.

Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave America's economy tremendous shots of steroids in the last couple of years. It worked magnificently. Alan's cocktail of bottom-crawling interest coupled with inflated public expenditure and tax cuts sent the American economy rocketing out of the Nasdaq crash, the Twin Towers, Enron and Iraq.

The consumption orgy: Spurred by the low interest rates, America's consumers ran amok, despite the rise in unemployment. America's economy has never been that dependent on low interest rates before.

The borrowing orgy: Greenspan created tremendous surpluses of money in the financial markets, lowering the spreads at which high-risk companies could borrow. The spread is supposed to reflect the degree of risk in a loan, yet it narrowed to the point of barely distinguishing between high and low risk. High-risk companies are borrowing at ridiculously low rates, not only in the U.S., but also throughout emerging markets. Money has never been cheaper and more available.

The funds orgy: The low interest rates set the institutional investors, the billionaires and the mere millionaires into a frenzy for returns. For three years, they've been racing about as if possessed, looking for more lucrative options.

The result has been an explosion in fundraising by hedge funds, which usually leverage their investments to increase returns. U.S. hedge funds raised $120 billion, while Cayman Island investment vehicles, also mostly funds, raised $450 billion.

In parallel, private equity funds took off. They have become quite the latest darling, although their managements are having difficulty finding worthy targets. In the last year, they've been selling each other companies to drum up action.

The real estate orgy: The above two orgies are highly exclusive, but this one is open to all. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is welcome: you take a loan, you buy apartments, their price rises, you take another loan using the same asset as collateral, etc. Returns are dropping, this is true, but interest rates are low, and everybody expects more and more capital gains as real estate prices continue to climb. In the last 10 years, American property prices have doubled. In really hot places, prices have been soaring by dozens of percent a year.

How financial orgies end: Fast and furious, usually. The Nasdaq orgy in the late 1990s is still etched in our memories. The emerging markets orgy of the mid-1990s is more distant, and only the hoary remember the S&L meltdown in the 1980s.

Naturally, there are differences between the orgies of yore and today.

Today's is global in scope, and rooted deep in America's budget and trade deficits and in worldwide low interest rates.

Hundreds of millions of consumers, investors and borrowers have become addicted to the global liquidity orgy. It is what dictates their financial behavior.

Can our global economic leaders defuse the bomb? Can they gradually reduce leverage, ease dependence on low interest rates, without sparking a meltdown? Are they even trying? Or are they relying on the markets to solve the problem alone? Good questions one and all. Frightening ones.