I have often wondered at the informal hierarchy of the City and its financial institutions which always seems to put bankers at the top of the tree. Do they deserve to be there? The case for such pre-eminence looks very shaky to me.
It seems that the live on the edge of the fool’s paradise of power without responsibility. Is that abit harsh? Just look at the current economic crisis gripping the developed world and ask yourself where does the responsibility really lie?
Bankers have been at the forefront of persuading governments to adopt a light touch in regulating them and to hand over to(central) banks control over a lot of the central levels of economic policy. Have they used that freedom and control well? The answer has to be a resounding no. Irresponsible lending, the growth of financial instruments that are little more than gambling and a dreadful track record in running their own businesses – the charge sheet is very long and very serious.
Will they be punished? Far from it. At the slightest hint of real trouble the banks have looked for state handouts and have largely been given them for the simple reason governments know they cannot afford a collapse in the banking system. Just look what happened in the UK when a relatively modest bank, Northern Rock, got into trouble and the government hesitated before stepping in.
Bankers know that they are immune from the consequences of their decisions which is why they constantly make such bad decisions. It is a pity that they don’t display a little more humility and awareness of their responsibility for the pain other business and ordinary people are now experiencing.
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