Monday, March 30, 2009

Tilting, again

I'm noticing two distinct camps emerging out of this GFC (oh, for want of a better descriptor). The group who argue there is no true accountability for the burst of this bubble tend to the view it is a "once in a century" happenstance, a 'perfect storm' "no one" could have predicted VERSUS the group who can point very clearly to institutions, types of individuals and value sets that are clearly to blame.

Personally, I fall quite clearly into the latter camp, but, as I have been told, I have always tended toward the 'tilting at windmills' side of life. I actually believe we can and need to do better. This, of course, would be despite the abundance of evidence surrounding me that humans can in fact, generally speaking, not do better, and that people, given even a small amount of leeway, will on a whole behave in a self-centered, miserly and quite probably 'bad' manner.

Still, tilt, I do.

On a related note, I was just listening to the latest podcast from the BBC World's 'Interview' series. [You can download it from iTunes. It is dated 27 March 2009. I am sure you can search for it on the internet and find pointers to it over on the BBC site as well.] The interviewee was a London financial type who as the BBC World iTunes blurb says:

Geraint Anderson worked for twelve years as an analyst in London's financial district, the City.
He earned several million pounds before leaving his job a year ago. He's now written a book -- described as fictional but which he says is mostly true -- which reveals a world of wining, dining, drugs and illicit sex.
On The Interview he tells Owen Bennett-Jones how the City works.


I haven't read the book, but in the interview Anderson's opinions are an excellent reflection of my own conclusions gathered over the decades encountering city / financial types and those that cover them in the UK, Japan and Australia. In that sense, there was nothing new to what he said.

But, the tilt in me was left hoping. He concludes towards the end of the interview, that there will be a similar bust in another ten years, and again ten years or so later if we don't change our values. Again, I am quite convinced these self-deluded bubbles are also set to continue, particularly if the 'perfect storm, no-accountability' crowd win through, as they to often do.

But, still I hope. Could this crisis bring about some real change?

I know I really hope it will. I also know I have seen little reason to believe it will.

Yet.

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