Saturday, 28 November 2009

Primordial soup kitchen

Just now, not two hours ago, I heard the economic heart of the culture wars beating in the ever-reliable BBC.

They had some professor on Radio Four's
Money Box programme who explained what was clearly startling news to both the programme's presenter Paul Lewis and to the interviewer: a generic metropolitan-accented woman whose name, alas, I did not catch. The professor (presumably of economics, and sorry again because I missed his name in the excitement of the moment) revealed on air that in fact the large pay packages and especially the big bonuses that banks pay to their highest-rewarded employees come from - wait for it - you and me.
Lewis had to step back from a moment to confirm for an eagerly attentive nation that, contrary to whatever he presumed the general public had previously believed, banks pay their employees from turnover generated by the lending and borrowing of our money. Our money.
I'm not quite sure where he imagined we think these remuneration packages come from but Lewis is nothing if not a consummate professional and so he restrained his shock and, (one suspects) his grief, well enough and let the recorded interview go on.

The professor explained quite calmly and without the slightest hint of sensationalism that the banks (and this is our own British banks, dear Reader: the ones we are familiar with and through which we do business every single day and that we had hitherto regarded as models of propriety and, via their local high street branches, as household words and even as neighbours and almost as family) charge fees to the corporations for whom many of us work, and from whom many of us buy our goods and services.

Now the interviewer had - as our own ancient ancestors did in the brutally competitive evolutionary crucible of the warm Silurian seas - developed a rudimentary brain, and so she asked the professor if, since there were winners in this remarkable and clearly quite savage process, surely there must be losers too?
The professor explained gently that yes, we may indeed find our wage packets a little light because our employers consent to pay bank charges and thus they make less profit than otherwise. Such bank-using companies have to compensate their shareholders by not increasing our wages quite as much. On the other hand, the firms we buy stuff from have to increase the prices of the goods and services that they sell to us.
And they still call this country 'England.'

But the interviewer had perfectly adapted to her Left-liberal environment by growing a thick, bony coat or sheath of stupidity and immediately asked the professor if he thought that bank workers' earnings ought to be limited or (by implication) forbidden, above a certain level.
He replied that he did not think such a thing should be done by statute, but I may never know exactly how he recommended top bankers' pay to be controlled because at that stage I felt an almost divine inspiration to go off somewhere and scream for a while and I can't listen to the interview again because repeats of it are constrained by the BBC's rights restrictions.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.
Our cosy and previously comforting notions about our homelands' financial life have been ripped asunder and exposed as a yawing chasm of bloodthirsty evildoing. The gallant but always keen minds of our cultural Marxist national broadcaster expressed quiet shock at discovering that the profit motive is even now reaching its deadly tentacles into the very heart of our domestic lives like some greedy archaic nautiloid feasting on trilobites and sea scorpions. These journalists can only imagine trade as a predatory zero sum game, and today they also displayed their firm conviction that the cure must, as a first resort, be regulatory.

But remember, don't have nightmares.

We now return you to our regular pogroms

Picture from here.


James Higham said...

If this is taken to its logical conclusion, then the world will be populated by little banksons and bankettes and all will live in a utopia of fat pay checks and bonuses.

North Northwester said...

It’s fortunate, if so, that they are in fact few and far between.
The banks didn't go 'phut' because of greedy salesmen hungry for commission, or even because of fat cats (whatever that actually means outside of a Disney film) but because the New Labour government said on the sly to their upper echelons “Go on, lend like crazy. We'll keep the Bank of England and the Treasury off your backs. You just lend cash beyond your power to recoup it if your customers can't repay and we'll tax the housing boom and spend its proceeds (along with everything else and more) on our favoured voters and supporters in the civilian bureaucracy which we shall expand beyond all sense and sustainability and everything will be alright."

Enter The Gods of the Copybook Headings and after a short time here we are.

Private companies own the spiffy new hospitals that New Labour boasts about, and my daughter’s kids will be paying the money back in poorer childhoods and fewer job opportunities for all their lives, and not one of the mainstream parties has the slightest intention of addressing that – let alone Gordon Brown’s very own pensions crisis.

Fairly soon, with the British Prime Minister reduced to a provincial satrap, Her Majesty’s Government will be powerless to go much beyond issuing stamps and passing our tax-payers’ contributions to the Colleagues in Brussels, and they for sure won’t care to solve our problems then.
James, you’d better help organise a conservative coup within the Tory party really, really soon, I think.

Anonymous said...

Anyone experience anything about the easy google profit kit? I discovered a lot of advertisements around it. I also found a site that is supposedly a review of the program, but the whole thing seems kind of sketchy to me. However, the cost is low so I’m going to go ahead and try it out, unless any of you have experience with this system first hand?


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