In much of continental Europe, there's a widespread belief that hedge funds and private equity firms caused the global economic crisis.
Which is presumably one reason why the European Commission wants much tighter regulation of both the hedgies and the buyout boys.
I've had personal experience of this, in a recent interview for French telly on how to prevent a repetition of the disaster: more-or-less all my interlocutor wanted to discuss was the alleged imperative of constraining the activities of hedge funds; there wasn't even a nod at the reality that far more of the real culprits were in the banks, including French banks.
To be clear, neither hedge funds nor the big private equity firms can be seen as innocent victims of the credit crunch.
They did make a contribution to the pumping up of the financial bubble that turned to bust.
As industries, they borrowed more than was healthy or sustainable (although within both industries, some firms resisted the urge to over-leverage).
Hedge funds helped to create a market for the toxic financial products - especially the collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps - which destroyed the balance sheets of the world's biggest banks.
In their buyout rampage of 2006 and 2007, private equity firms were generating the ingredients (debt) for constructing one category of the poisonous CDOs.
Then there were the mind-boggling sums earned by the partners at hedge funds and private equity houses, which spurred the banks into providing equivalent remuneration schemes to their own bankers, for fear that the brightest and the best would desert - and, as we now know, at the banks these remuneration schemes gave incentives to take crazy risks.
Also banks saw the sky-rocketing returns of hedge funds and private equity houses and wanted some of that for themselves. So they took risks on to their own balance sheets which they didn't understand.
All that accepted, the banks didn't have to behave in a herd-like way - a herd of lemmings perhaps - to pump up the hedge-fund and private equity booms or to mimic the behaviour of the creatures they created (but without the finesse of the best hedge funds and private equity firms to identify and control risk).
Which means that the European Commission's proposed crackdown on hedge funds and private equity firms should probably be seen as an attempt to treat the symptoms of the disease, rather than the disease itself.
The disease (and I oversimplify here) was an excess of cheap money married to the greed and stupidity of banks and bankers.
In fact, from 2006 to 2007 the eye-watering profits being generated by the hedgies and private equity firms - the pay-packets that bust their pants - were an early warning that financial markets were not working in an efficient way, with potentially lethal consequences (which, as it happens, is what I argued at the time).
Regulators in the UK and the US chronically understated the damage that would be done from the market correction that was inevitable. And in that sense, I suppose, the visceral hostility of the French and German political classes to hedge funds and private equity firms, which they perceived as the savage beasts of Anglo-American capitalism, was perhaps a saner evaluation than was acknowledged in London and New York.
But that would not be to argue that there's merit in attempting to drive hedge funds or private equity into the sea.
Private equity can be a valuable source of alternative funding for companies, especially small and medium size companies.
The best hedge funds serve to make markets more efficient, by identifying when assets are chronically over-valued or under-valued.
That said, a bit more scrutiny and oversight of the hedgies and the buyout boys probably wouldn't be such a terrible thing. The question that's more moot is whether the proposed harmonised European regulations are too clumsy and crude (especially in the treatment of smaller buyout funds).
Which would be to argue over the detail of the new rules, rather than to say - after the horrors we've seen and experienced over the past 20 months - that we can simply leave it to these industries to ensure that they never again play a part (even if it's not the leading part) in destabilising financial systems and economies.