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 directors 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 !)