From the TUC

The City Blames Everyone But Itself

25 Feb 2010, by in Economics

I once heard a ‘radio expert’ say that most successful business people would be diagnosed as sociopaths if they were not rich. He confirmed my prejudices, so I was reluctant to decide this was one of those media facts – announced confidently, but with nothing to substantiate them. Today’s news has me wondering whether he was right after all.

First, there was yesterday’s news that nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland is going to pay out £1.3 billion in bonuses. More than 100 RBS bankers are going to get bonuses of over a million pounds. They lost £3.6 billion last year, but that was “lower than expected” so that’s all right then.

But what really got my goat was CEO Stephen Hester’s complaint that all our whinging about bonuses is his “cross to bear.”

Even his acceptance that “reform is needed” failed to calm me down after that.

The next thing was Alistair Heath’s editorial in today’s City A.M. In his analysis, the prime target for action to deal with the “fiscal nightmare” (it goes without saying that he is a deficit hawk) is the welfare state, which is “crying out for a shake-up.” People who (unlike the City) had nothing to do with causing this crisis should have to pay the price of solving it.

These two irritants irritate for the same reason. After causing this crisis and receiving hundreds of billions from the taxpayer, you’d have thought the City would be showing a little more humility.

Perhaps they are sociopaths after all…

One Response to The City Blames Everyone But Itself

  1. Tim Worstall
    Feb 27th 2010, 1:47 pm

    “More than 100 RBS bankers are going to get bonuses of over a million pounds. They lost £3.6 billion last year,”

    No, they didn’t. The investment bankers who are getting the bonuses made £5.8 billion in profit. It was the commercial bankers who made an even larger loss who are not getting bonuses.

    What’s really amusing about it though, over and above the inability to read a profit announcement, is that if we had that Glass Steagall Act division between commercial and investment banking then the investment bankers bonuses would be even higher….