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July 04, 2012



So it's just a coincidence that the people at the top are, almost uniformly, despicable sociopathic scumbags?


Amusing to watch ministers try to extrapolate the behaviour of a few into a general conclusion about a poor moral culture... erm... those in glass houses?

A libertarian would call down a plague on both their houses.


I'm not sure it is a trivial comparison, Chris. De-regulation, among other factors (globalisation; increased speed of transactions), has not only increased competition in the financial sector but also fostered - as you suggest - a culture which accepts dishonesty. On the trading floor, for example, the ability to tell lies convincingly appears to be an essential part of the job description.
But trust seems to me to be in very short supply in this country in general (I'm saying that not as an old creature, harking back to some entirely fictitious 'golden age', but as someone who has lived in other countries).
And, yes to NomadUK, there are always sociopaths at or near the top in corporate life! They're usually the ones keenest on deploying meaningless managementspeak ...

Chris Purnell

Junior staff have a also have the power to behave in such a way that there is a general assumption that they were told to do so. As every 'barrack room' lawyer knows the powerless have the ultimate power to sabotage by slavish obedience to nods and winks. Maximise profits!! "You got it gov! Leave it to me." And so on and so forth until the whole edifice comes tumbling down. Incidently these guys are usually known as 'Good Team Players.'


John Terry is probably his hero.


A major issue is the lack of checks and balances on executive power, the standard argument being that "shareholders" (read fund managers of financial institutions) are the checks and balances obviously doesn't stack up. The current systems do not tackle all the executive scams, tricks and wheezes that go on within companies that are kept concealed, and where the internal power structure insulate them from true accountability.

The last couple of years I have been involved in local politics, which is often pilloried, but I know now from comapring with my experiences of working for a very large blue chip that there are far more checks and balances on local policy making. Decisions on policy may still be taken in smokey rooms, but they eventualy come before a committee where there is a challenge from an independant opposition and the policy goes on an independent record (even if it is part 2 and therefore not public information). This means that if something is inconsistent, if it is half-baked, if it is venal, then there's only so much smokescreen and misdirection avaialble. And the official record means people cannot get convenient amnesia about where decisions orignate from.

Now, I don't see this as an argument for strong trade unions, not that I don't think trade unions have a role. It's just that another special intersts group in the mix to be bought and sold is not the same as a more internally transparent and balanced power structures which constrain decison makers from behaving in highly dubious ways and then pretending it never happened or it wasn't them.

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