I drove home this evening from Newport-on-Tay where we have been discussing the appointment of a part-time Rector who will be paid in a year what a hedge fund manager would earn in a morning. I was moodily listening to a Radio 4 ‘talking heads’ discussion of the great future which lies ahead of us – particularly us baby-boomers who are starting to look forward to collecting our pensions. The consensus? That ultimately there will be inflation as governments print money to deal with the huge indebtedness.
I’ve been reading the paper every day – and I always read the financial pages. Interesting that there is a short of unreality about the financial mayhem – rather like a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico which hasn’t reached Texas yet. But it’s coming and jobs will be lost and young people will find it harder to get their first mortgage and ..
Scapegoat? All of us, in one sense. Any of us who has taken at look at the rising value of property and felt wealthier – even tho’ we weren’t. All of us who helped the bubble on its way by suspending disbelief – glad to think that money might be created out of nothing in particular and even by the trading of debt. And the bankers’ sin? Well the key human sin, I suspect, is almost always a variation on the self-centredness theme – in this case arrogance. Laced with no small amount of greed.
Excellent letter in today’s FT – it concludes:
Mr Willman’s hopes that would-be bankers will start turning to careers such as teaching for the greater societal good are almost certainly overly romantic.
As John Kenneth Galbraith observed: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
Well said, David. It’s fascinating (and disquieting) that the term ‘the real economy’ is now being used by commentators to describe everyday transactions like buying food and paying the electricity bill. What does that say about the ‘other’ economy?
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