Friday, 12 December 2008

Love Of Money Is ... the root of some of our troubles


In boom times the general atmosphere of largesse encourages greed, incompetence and misbehaviour on an epic scale. Think of the Shell executives who, seeing Enron awarding huge bonuses for growing the company consistently at 15% p.a. for a decade, decided they deserved the same: and (since Shell was already too big to grow at that rate) rigged their oil reserves data in order to qualify.

Boom times also help disguise, or at least distract attention from, what's going on. But not any more: have a look at these two stories and marvel. First, from
our own neck of the woods:

"Individual payments of up to £1m have been handed out from the public purse as a "golden goodbye" to dire
ctors at the loss-making nuclear holding group BNFL. David Bonser, executive director for human resources and a key figure in the development of BNFL's troubled Thorp reprocessing plant, received £1,046,350 compensation for ending his employment last month, on top of an annual salary and bonuses worth £577,112 for the 12 months to March. Two other directors left with well over £1m as the company was wound down"

Then, this extraordinary US tale of a $ 50 billion ponzi scheme that's been running for years at the heart of Wall Street (hat-tip Sackers) - can it really be true ? It seems so.

To say that these type of games can no longer be afforded is a rather mild way of putting things. We are in for a long overdue period of puritanism. (After Xmas, that is - of course !)


ND

13 comments:

Letters From A Tory said...

Unfortunately the government signed a lot of these people up in 'the good times' so their contractual arrangements will be extremely generous.

Hardly comforting, but worth remembering.

Nick Drew said...

Letters - you're right, of course: but the fact that anyone ever offered such contracts says it all

OldSouth said...

Amen!

dearieme said...

You couldn't suggest to Sackers, could you, that he make his site friendlier to my browser (IE6)? I'd like to visit again.

Nick Drew said...

dearieme - old Sackers does rather go for the widgets, doesn't he ?

(never mind, we rip off all the best bits here, ahem)

Laurie Van Trukk said...

Re Sackers website...you might find it easier to read the item in qustion (Bernard Madoff hedge fund) on another site -- "Here is The City" http://news.hereisthecity.com

which is always good to catch up on the chit chat from (mostly) city employees (or in my case, ex-employees)

UpgradeSuggested said...

Or you could just upgrade your browser for free...

Tom P said...

Have you seen that Nicola Horlick's outfit are one of those to have lost out in the hedge fund/pyramid scheme fraud. Even the professionals get suckered.

Nick Drew said...

Tom - indeed: and it really is hard to see how an individual can even take risk-averse personal investment decisions with any confidence these days

makes a mockery of much NuLab policy; and also capitalist theory (I'm sorry to say)

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