Saturday, January 31, 2009

Zeroes for Zeroes

There's a lot of hostility in society to the largesse that some banks continue to show their staff, despite the complete disaster they've created. The banks argue that they need to pay big bonuses to keep the brightest staff. There is one counter argument and one assumption here.

The counter argument is to ask the question of where the bankers would go if the banks didn't pay big bonuses. The assumption however is that the brightest work in the financial community in the first place.

When I was at Cambridge, the brightest went into research or built their own companies or pursued more noble goals. Those that I know who headed into the city were not the brightest but they were certainly the most self seeking.

So, exactly where do these super bright individuals who created a house of cards beyond their understanding and squandered trillions gambling with money they didn't have, come from? Also, if they were that bright, why was it that back between 2002-2005 when huge numbers of people were warning of impending collapse through debt, the city was completely silent on the subject?

Some even have the gall to say that no-one saw it coming during a time where many have personally profited whilst creating a toxic dump. Of course, they're hardly likely to say otherwise or accusations of false representation, failing to disclose information and abuse of position would be levelled against them, followed by swift prosecution.

Whilst it's difficult to feel charity towards those who committed such excesses, maybe charity is the root of the problem.

At Harvard, those with sports scholarships or others who lacked talents of the grey matter kind could undertake a simplified classical history course, nicknamed heroes for zeroes. Has this generous & charitable spirit found a new home in the financial community? Are we paying huge bonuses for the least able? The evidence would suggest that lots of Zeroes for Zeroes is rife.