Saturday, 11 June 2011

How much is enough?

Recently Ian Fraser, reporter and BBC journalist introduced me to William Hopper’s financial observation “The credit crunch is like an atomic bomb”.  My attention was immediately captured by his succinct explanation of how a shift in attitude over a four hundred year period has produced the unstable economy we have today.  In his article Hopper praises the legacy of the migrating East Anglian Puritans who, in the 1630s, moved to the USA with their “gift” of good management. This gift was an ethos grounded in the belief pursuit of an ideal society with a focus on the common good is paramount.

Hopper goes on to lament our current global trend which rewards hot-housed qualifications in favour of the hardworking endeavours of our economically sound ancestors.  In contrast to today’s executive, these fore bearers were prepared to work hard to make their way up the ladder of expertise to gain valuable shop floor experience before taking their place in the board room.

It appears the most significant shift in attitude came about in the 60s and 70s when managers became hired hands who no longer came up through the ranks but instead arrived with MBA’s from business schools who taught them to focus on deals and numbers. This new age administrative managerial authority entered the market place believing short term shareholder value was the executive’s number one goal and these values bred a culture which, at best, condoned individual self interest and in the case of the banks, whole heartedly embraced it. The move away from what was perceived as old fashioned Puritan ideologies led to “incompetence on an unprecedented scale that has extended over much of society” and is particularly rife in the banking industry today.

The worship of self interest was further fuelled by the expanding of a credit funded economy where ethical considerations within the banking fraternity were waived in favour of a promise of wealth creation for the masses. In reality this bubble of self-deception produced nothing of the sort and only widened the gap between rich and poor leaving the poor even poorer and high ranking banking executives with a taste for unprecidented riches. William Hopper says, “Banks that are seen as too big to fail are too big to regulate and therefore too big to live. I would add Lloyds and HBOS are also too big to know when they are flogging a dead horse or much less care about the impact their "double standard" acts of cruelty are having on my family.

No doubt it is also the reason HBOS were also too big to consider it worth their while to intervene and prevent the destruction of twenty two families lives when they learned, from the victims, long before the police made their arrests, of a long standing fraud which is now referred to as the HBOS Reading Scandal. I was once asked by a financially independent workaholic, “How much is enough?”It appears, for the powers that be within HBOS, the obscene multi million pound bonuses paid out year on year are still not enough to secure ethical policies, compassionate solutions and the forward thinking integrity of our Puritan forefathers. I can only wonder with trepidation, what it will actually take to affect the necessary shift in attitude when a credit crunch, which has been compared to an Atomic Bomb, has had little impact on how HBOS thinks and behaves.

It was Albert Einstein who once said "relativity applies to physics not ethics" and sadly  I can see this is precisely the case when it comes to the attitude of our casino  banksters who have without apology, brought this economy and my family to its knees.

No comments:

Post a Comment