Sunday, 14 February 2010

Misplaced Priorities

I was accused by someone who read my blog on London 2010 and my chance meeting with a homeless person that I had lost a sense of perspective and implied I had gone soft.

I understand the point the person was making -without banking and bankers we would have no system for trading and the fabric of our world would collapse. The fundamental point that you need a system for transferring credit and money around to make the world grow and get better - that's obvious.

However, I think we lost all sense of perspective not just in the last two years but over the last 15 years or so. We have missed enormous opportunities to get to grips with problems and get our priorities right yet so much of the last 15 years has been about greed and gain - and usually involving a relatively small amount of people.

As well over 1 billion of the world's population struggle and starve, in the West we fight wars about control of oil that really benefits the US and UK in the main, whose combined population is around 400m but in reality it benefits just a slim percentage of those populations. The banking system is allowed to trade amongst itself for 12 clear years and create vast profits based around fictional products that ultimately depend on their over-inflated view of our properties and then we when they get it wrong and lose it all, we actually get told we have to pay the entire bill so that these people can maintain their standards of living and once again earn the vast profits and salaries they are used to.

Meanwhile the world passes by the homeless person I saw on the train in London - it passes by the millions in Africa who look on in total amazement that we would waste so much money saving the skins of so few people in order to preserve our way of life and forget about those we have left behind.

The polarity of our world is more than just two white caps of snow - it is about those who have and those who have not. I am not in favour of communism or even full scale socialism but I am not in favour of allowing besuited creeps in fast cars being saved when they are abject failures and fraudsters.

The global bailouts are thought to be totalling more than $11 trillion - it will not go down as the price paid willingly to save our world as Gordon Brown would put it but the cost of the missed opportunity to do something more fundamental for a world lost in its own self-importance and greed.

I don't think I am being soft in my view or misunderstanding the point. There was a time when banking was an honourable industry because it did what it was supposed to.

My father used to describe compulsive gamblers as the sort of people who would sit in the pub and bet on the hair colour of the next person who entered the door. Go take a look at the range of products you can 'buy' in the world of banking today and it's no different and has little to do with reality but much more to do with the spinning wheels of a casino.

We have just funded the whole thing to perpetuate. That makes us all culpable for that missed opportunity. Here is the rub, if the Government had issued a tax before all this happened to go pay for feeding Africa or the homeless we would have rose up and told them where to go. But because it saves the fortunes of a few thousand bankers we have, without question or complaint, paid the lot and there will be more to be paid.

So run that question by me one more time. Who is the soft person who misunderstands?

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