I hate fat cats but love their salaries
The banking crisis caused us to focus on the contradictions in our society whereby we tolerate what is generally accepted as greedy by behaviour, greedy because the beneficiary does not deserve the reward. It is rather like borrowing a friend’s money and betting it on a horse. If the horse wins you give the money back or bet again and retain further wins. If the horse loses well – you have lost a friend.
There is underlying anger and frustration whereby the incompetence and cavalier attitude of part of commercial society has caused innocent parties to have to make financial sacrifices. The blameless do not enjoy losing their job because the banking sector decides to run amok without financial expediency.
It does not help when banks use strange terminology: ‘swaps’, ‘puts’, ‘call’, ‘caps’, ‘vehicles’, ‘instruments’ terms which have nothing to do with cars or saxophones and they also seem to use complicated mathematical computations: and up until the credit crunch there was a: ‘well they know best’, ‘my pension is being carefully managed by knowledgeable executives who are ensuring that it is safe and making an equitable gain and I can look forward to a good outcome’.
Crash, banks go bust, government to the rescue (that’s your money). And why did nobody see this coming? Economists, professors, financial reporters, independent experts did not warn us. Boxes with financial goodies were traded like ‘pass the parcel’ yet nobody wanted to open the parcels despite warnings that some only contained no more value than a pair of old socks. Keep it moving, get shot, was the dictate. But of course like most deliveries they have to arrive somewhere and when the Directors of a famous financial institution commissioned the auditors to open the boxes, it was not a pretty sight. ‘We’ve been robbed!’ – they might shout. But no, they were just the unlucky ones who ended up with the duff goods. Most people do of course open the parcel to check what they have ordered was delivered.
Open the box
My analogy may be a bit colloquial but it represents the scenario.
And I think the maxim ‘they know best’ is no longer good enough. You must open every box and if it has funny names like puts, calls or subprime then check it out – as your cat is about to lose significant weight.