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Friday, 10 August 2012
BANKERS' I.Q. - WHOSE THE DUMMY?
UPDATE - 8th October 2014. Rather than learn to add-up and take-away or take any responsibility whatsoever, despite their mega "rewards", senior HSBC bankers Alan Thomson (Audit Committee) and John Trueman (UK Deputy Chairman) have resigned; in fear of new rules of conduct from the UK's financial regulators the PRA and FCA, which include possible prison sentences for "reckless conduct" (gross stupidity) that might crash London's banks again. How can they afford to give up work? The phrases "obscenely overpaid" and " rats leaving a sinking ship" leap to mind. 10th August 2012 - Banking Clowns: “Hello! You will find this hard to believe, but my name is Mr Totally Utterly Stupid and I’m an International Banker in charge of trillions and trillions of transactions and thingamajigs and suchlike, every day, all over the world; I’m paid huge amounts of money, so much that I don’t bother to count it. I’m one of new Masters of the Universe, the cash aristocrats who run the world.
That’s not the bit that’s hard to believe; Oh No! What most of you whining wage earning peasants find difficult to believe is that I haven’t a clue what’s going on. But it is true. I don’t know anything about global finance. I don’t have a clue what position my hugely important international transborder bank is in; and justifiably so. Our Balance Sheets are very, very, very complicated. You just try reading one – and you tell me what it means. I think you’ll admit it needs a lot of adding up and subtracting, some of it in one’s head, to comprehend. Very hard work. You’d have to pay me much more money; a huge, huge, huge bonus to take one of those home as bed-time reading. Very rich people like me don’t expect to have to work.
And thus, you can see that it stands to reason that I can’t have the faintest clue what other international very, very, complicated banks are doing, either. And as for the BIG PICTURE…Well! Who is going to even try to read all the numbers of all the banks, at the same time, altogether. There’s no need. We know when its OK when we get our massive tax-free rewards at Christmas – and we know it’s not OK when the global system collapses, dopey old taxpayers stump up a few more trillion, and we still get our bonuses; with a bit of a ticking off from the jolly strict Regulators. Cue my colleague:”
“Thank you Totally Utterly Stupid and Hello everyone. I am Mr Reprehensibly Stupid, a fearsomely alert national regulator of the financial system. You pay me not very much, less than a million a year, for keeping things in order. But I was brought up in the same school as all the bankers – and told it is rude to point – and even ruder to ask pointed questions. I am not a rude man; so I don’t ask any questions. I don’t like to look at any banks’ Balance Sheet, without an invitation – and I would never look over the fence at what is happening in other countries. How rude would that be! And what hard work! I know that everything is ship-shape when my banker friends tell me it’s alright. I know things have gone wrong when nations collapse and millions of the hoi-polloi lose their tedious little jobs and mobile homes and so on. Then my bosses smack me on the wrist with a wet flannel, wait a month, then give me a hug and a bonus. In brief – I know nothing. It’s all very secret and confidential. And long may it stay that way.”
This pantomime is my reaction to the announcement in New Scientist, 11 August 2012, Page 6, Special Report/ Global Finance, The Meltdown Forecasters, that contrary to what I have assumed for 30 years, really, really, really is not so. NOBODY compiles the global financial positions on a daily basis in real-time and uses them to forecast crises. NOBODY is looking. The world of finance flies blind – through the storms and fogs without instruments. And guess what? They crash. What the F*** are we paying them for if they can’t even do basic bookkeeping and cash-flow forecasts. Why are we employing these sanguine clowns at immense cost to “manage” the Money-Economy – and our lives?
The NS article ends with “Someone needs to keep track of the big picture”, says Laura Kodres, chief of the IMF’s global financial division. Until then another financial meltdown could be just around the corner.”
How about you Laura? Get the damned data onto those IBM main-frames and start compiling. Publish the Global Daily Balance Sheet next month. It isn’t rocket science – just plain old simple bookkeeping. Get on with it! Or pay Google to do it. NOW!