Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009

No words...

Telegraph: Goldman Sachs vice-chairman says: 'Learn to tolerate inequality'

...let Lord Gribble of Slartibartfast tell that to the 50 million worldwide now out of work, or the 46 million worldwide who have now slipped below the poverty line. See what they have to say about it.

Posted by cat and canary @ 09:04 AM (4409 views)
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48 Comments

1. quiet guy said...

In a moment of stupidity, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach has gifted the opponents of capitalism with a wonderful soundbite. I'll be interested to see how much attention this self-serving windbag gets in the mainstream media.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 09:24AM Report Comment
 

2. cat and canary said...

@1 ..well said.

This Lord said: “we should not ... be ashamed of offering compensation in an internationally competitive market which ensures the bank businesses here and employs British people”.

.. is a hijack of capitalism.

Financial services does not account for 90% of British GDP

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 09:34AM Report Comment
 

3. One Of Those said...

By all means think it if you must Lord Griffiths, but never ever say it.

You are a fool and will reap the whirlwind from such public comment.

This just confirms how arrogant, selfish, shallow, impressionable and weak these type of non income producers really are.
He is like Captain Peacock on "Are you Being Served".

How much Lord Griffiths do you give to charity may I ask? I feel entitled to ask as you are quick to pass moral judgement on others.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 09:35AM Report Comment
 

4. letthemfall said...

...tolerate the inequality so that leeches like Lord Fachofftherestofyou can continue to live in clover while wrecking the economy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 09:39AM Report Comment
 

5. cat and canary said...

@3 ...Fachofftherestofyou...very nice semi-anagram!! His title is just asking to be re-arranged! :)

anymore anyone?:)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 09:40AM Report Comment
 

6. hpwatcher said...

An utterly stupid and ill advised comment.

Shows the complete arrogance of the banks, people who do not create wealth, but make their money from merely moving ti around.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 09:54AM Report Comment
 

7. The Baldman said...

Pure exploitation of a monopoly position..we are paying through our pensions and investments for their vast bonuses. Not wealth creators just service proividers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:33AM Report Comment
 

8. nomad said...

Hasn't most of their business over the last 12 to 18 months come from moving government/taxpayers' money around? For a fee of course!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:56AM Report Comment
 

9. the number cruncher said...

In a moment of stupidity, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach has gifted the opponents of capitalism with a wonderful insight into how capitalists really think.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:04AM Report Comment
 

10. mr g said...

As he defended the bank’s lavish bonuses, Lord Griffiths said the general public should “tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all"

How many contributors to this site, let alone the general public, have achieved greater prosperity through banker's bonuses?

Outrageous bullsh*t!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:09AM Report Comment
 

11. bystander said...

...........www.firstagainstthewall.gs

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:16AM Report Comment
 

12. Fritzlange said...

Maybe he's a secret member of the Revolutionary Communist Party

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:22AM Report Comment
 

13. tyrellcorporation said...

The 'trickle down effect' is well documented but this idiot has to understand this recent bonus wealth has been achieved through enormous hardship heaped upon everyone else. A bit of empathy wouldn't go amiss plus a sense of restraint and common decency. These people really are delusional.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:32AM Report Comment
 

14. timmy t said...

I don't think many object to inequality arising from some earning more than others, people object to the inequality arising from there being one rule for banks and another for everyone else.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:48AM Report Comment
 

15. cat and canary said...

@11 timmy t..."I don't think many object to inequality arising from some earning more than others, people object to the inequality arising from there being one rule for banks and another for everyone else."

if i may re-use your point but in my own words/opinion...

"inequality is a fact of life and the system isn't perfect, which most people can accept. But people object to dictatorship rearing its ugly head in Europe, and when I look-up the definition of dictatorship, these senior bankers are starting to sound like such."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:59AM Report Comment
 

16. mr g said...

I have no objection to genuinely talented people earning big bucks if they do a real job and actually do create greater prosperity for everyone else but these people are parasites who only benefit themselves and are "socially useless" to quote Turner.

They're as socially beneficial as celebs and Premier league footballers.

This clown, without realising it, really does say everything about the ethos of the City and the world of finance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:07PM Report Comment
 

17. charlie brooker said...

Spoken like a true bankster.

Name another industry that ever received hundreds of billions to prop up their own mistakes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:23PM Report Comment
 

18. letthemfall said...

There is a difference between a range of incomes in relation to education and skills and the inequalities that have grown up today. I think most of us agree that bankers earn vast wealth not through their skills (unless you regard rendering themselves bust a valuable skill), but through the economic and social structures which have transferred economic power into the hands of a relative few. Globalisation has made this a lot worse: companies can farm out work to cheap labour abroad, the benefits accruing to the bosses and shareholders, employees losing out.

Incomes have been increasingly detached from value. The third world suffers from this problem to an extreme degree, to a large extent through endemic corruption, which also holds back economic development. Now we are suffering a corruption of a different kind - not that of dodgy govts but an economic system getting dodgier by the day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:35PM Report Comment
 

19. 51ck-6-51x said...

C&C
- Yeah, here's a few of anagrams of "Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach":

Forced farts for high liftoffs.

Frigs off for thrashed off clit.

Off this riff-raff, codger, sloth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:37PM Report Comment
 

20. charlie brooker said...

Griffiths comments fly in the face of the constitutions of most countries, the UN Charters and natural justice.

If he's taunting us into a revolution he's doing a good job.

Remember : Inequality cut can be made to cut both ways.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:51PM Report Comment
 

21. charlie brooker said...

@9 bystander - can you check the link please mate?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:56PM Report Comment
 

22. mr g said...

@17 "If he's taunting us into a revolution he's doing a good job"

It does sound rather like Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:00PM Report Comment
 

23. cat and canary said...

@16, 51ck-6-51x

...superb, laughed my ass off!!!


in the immortal words of confused76: "muahahahahahahahahahahahaha...."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:03PM Report Comment
 

24. Hbsource said...

At the risk of being unpopular: Goldman Sachs didn't take any money from English taxpayers. They were forced to take a small (relative to other banks) amount of US taxpayer money. They wanted to pay this back almost immediately but the money was refused by the US government until other investment banks were also ready to pay their loans back.

Goldman Sachs are a private business, they are a partnership, they share their profits only among their employees, not their shareholders. There is an enormous list of people and institutions who have behaved shamelessly throughout this economic crisis. Goldman Sachs, however much anyone wants to rant, just aren't on that list. I realise this isn't a popular view but they don't owe anyone anything.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:04PM Report Comment
 

25. doomwatch said...

No suprises then: "...former adviser to Lady Thatcher when in power ..."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:11PM Report Comment
 

26. timmy t said...

Hbsource - how long would GS have lasted if none of the banks had been bailed out? They are an integral part of a corrupt system, bailed out by their former CEO. How many companies outside their industry have gone to the wall without anyone even blinking?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:35PM Report Comment
 

27. charlie brooker said...

Hbsource: whether or not GS took money from English (or even British) taxpayers you're missing the point.

Its well documented on this forum that Goldman Sachs were complicit in causing the disaster. I'm sure someone can remember the details but I seem to remember it involved them ramping up and selling off books of mortgages knowing there was a higher probability of default than they were prepared to admit. Essentially they were selling mortgages at top dollar they knew to be worth far less in truth. I am sure someone esle can fill in the details properly here.

To suggest Goldman Sachs are entirely free of blame in all this is an insult to our intelligence.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:41PM Report Comment
 

28. bystander said...

Charlie brooker @21 - I have simply put together a statement and suffixed it with the .gs, the very same suffix that is flooding so many central London estate agents at the moment as the banksters try to offload their ill gotten gains, before HMG attempt to claw back some of this monstrous miss-carriage of ethics, justice, etc.... I am sure you already knew this and any connection with a real site is purely by accident and ignorance. Humour can sometimes backfire, especially if it isn't very good. apologies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:41PM Report Comment
 

29. charlie brooker said...

Meritocractic inequality is one thing, plundering inequality is another.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:49PM Report Comment
 

30. wiltshire said...

I bet he still can't believe they gave the proles the vote.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:50PM Report Comment
 

31. 51ck-6-51x said...

Hbsource said, "Goldman Sachs are a private business, they are a partnership, they share their profits only among their employees, not their shareholders."
- This is not true, not since they floated in 1999.
~5% of shares outstanding are held by insiders (i.e. "partners" & other employees ).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:54PM Report Comment
 

32. Hbsource said...

A couple of things.

None of us on this forum are any worse off because of the actions on Goldman Sachs as a company. The list of people who have damaged our economy starts a lot closer to home. Namely the companies that sold 'liar loans', the liars themselves who took them out and the deficit running government that couldn't balance its books even in the good times.

To blame a small (but very visible) US based investment bank is to miss the point. They pay top dollar to recruit the best people and they are a successful company. It is the unsuccessful ones that have caused the problems. The companies that made stupid bets and took stupid positions and didn't have the capital and weren't quick witted enough to dig themselves out of the hole. We, the taxpayer, didn't have to shovel money at Goldman Sachs. To blame them is to miss the point.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 01:56PM Report Comment
 

33. matt_the_hat said...

27. charlie brooker - I think they were selling the mortgages as you rightly say then buying the insurance against default effectively betting on this depression

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 02:01PM Report Comment
 

34. timmy t said...

666 - how about this...

GS arrestid for filth foch off

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 02:05PM Report Comment
 

35. drewster said...

@Hbsource,

You're right that Goldman hasn't tapped the UK taxpayer. However its survival depended on the survival of other institutions, most notably AIG. If the US government had let AIG go bust then Goldman would have collapsed too.

For more on Goldman Sachs' antics, read Rolling Stone: Inside The Great American Bubble Machine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 02:40PM Report Comment
 

36. Hbsource said...

Going back to the original article, the Goldman Sachs executive is telling people to 'live with inequality', right? That's what people are so upset about?

Well, what tier of global wealth do you or I occupy? A citizen of Great Britain with an internet connection who has the time to be posting and reading comments on an internet forum in the middle of the working day? I reckon we occupy the top 5% without any hint of doubt and we're probably closer to the top 2% or 1% of the wealthiest people on the planet.

To achieve global equality, we would have to give virtually all our assets away and work for a fraction of our current wage. I would guess that even someone who is claiming job-seekers allowance and housing benefit would be among the highest earning people on Earth. So the Goldman Sachs executive would have to give virtually all his material assets away..... but so would we. Still so keen on equality? Just to spite some executives?

No. People are keen on 'equality' because they are jealous, envious and angry. Actual equality would mean giving money away but we won't do that. We want equality on our terms, basically to mean us getting richer or someone else getting poorer relative to us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 02:54PM Report Comment
 

37. Unbelievableeddie said...

He is going to need the money for security... These bankers days are numbered... They are just too arrogant.

Police, please note, that I'm just observing what is happening and will not be attacking bankers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 04:11PM Report Comment
 

38. cat and canary said...

Hbsource, you said "People are keen on 'equality' because they are jealous, envious and angry. Actual equality would mean giving money away but we won't do that. We want equality on our terms, basically to mean us getting richer or someone else getting poorer relative to us."

no Hbsource, i'm not jealous, nor do I think wealth being euallly distributed across the planet a pracitcal solution. You right, it doesn't affect me that much. Sure I've lost a bit of interest on my savings. But i still have a good job and my education.

But it affects me morally. The gap between rich and poor is widening, and I have a strong suspicion of why that is. It is the complete distortion of equality by those who sit in powerful places that really does affect those at the bottom of the scale.

letthemfall summarised it really well when he/she said (post @18 above)...

"There is a difference between a range of incomes in relation to education and skills and the inequalities that have grown up today. I think most of us agree that bankers earn vast wealth not through their skills (unless you regard rendering themselves bust a valuable skill), but through the economic and social structures which have transferred economic power into the hands of a relative few. Globalisation has made this a lot worse: companies can farm out work to cheap labour abroad, the benefits accruing to the bosses and shareholders, employees losing out.

Incomes have been increasingly detached from value. The third world suffers from this problem to an extreme degree, to a large extent through endemic corruption, which also holds back economic development. Now we are suffering a corruption of a different kind - not that of dodgy govts but an economic system getting dodgier by the day."


disappointingly, you're replies didn't really address any of the free market issues raised by timmy t, charlie brooker, 51ck nor drewster.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 05:02PM Report Comment
 

39. amjidk said...

"A Bank is a financial institution which is involved in borrowing and lending money. Banks take customer deposits in return for an annual interest payment. The bank then use the majority of these deposits to lend to other customers for a variety of loans. The difference between the two interest rates is effectively the profit margin for banks."

So how the feck are these guys CREATING wealth????

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 05:14PM Report Comment
 

40. mr g said...

This is no different to the arrogance and lack of social responsibility shown by MP's in the expenses scandal and is simply part of a wider malaise in this country.

It's not surprising that parties such as the BNP, (let me say that I am not a supporter before I get a torrent of abuse), have succeeded in winning seats in the European parliament simply as a protest against the disgusting behaviour of the elites in political and financial circles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 05:38PM Report Comment
 

41. shipbuilder said...

Hbsource makes a good point about our place on the planet - to the majority of the rest of the world, WE are the elite and they have seen us stealing their resources, exploiting their labour and restricting their freedoms for centuries. Why is it only now that we have an uproar of disapproval - because our own comfort is being compromised?
Every accusation we throw at the 'elite', the rest of the world can easily direct at us - now there's an inconvenient truth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 05:54PM Report Comment
 

42. cat and canary said...

shipbuilder,

yes, we elite brits have behaved very badly in the past. Perhaps that´s another blog. I´ve worked in India for several months, living in 5 star hotels paid for by the company, then walking out onto the street only to be followed by poor beggars with no shoes, no job and certainly no decent roof over their heads. It made me really sad, opened my eyes and realise how lucky we are to have been born in the UK. Im not perfect.

But im not suddenly uncomfortable with banks because of the behaviour of bankers is affecting my personal situation. Its not a lot. I could go out buy a house now, but i think they´re overpriced! Im pretty lucky enough to be pretty immune to this crisis.

I could give everything I have to the poor tomorrow and go live on the street, and it would help a handful. But far better would be to fight those who really do enslave the masses. In the same way our grandfathers fought other types of tyranny in Europe.

Modern day tyranny comes in a pin striped suit. And it has to go.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 06:42PM Report Comment
 

43. shipbuilder said...

cat and canary - I know what you mean, but nevertheless I find it does good, as you have done, to look at our situation from a different angle. As I've said on here before, I suspect that the real reason why many of the middle classes bang on about elites, particularly in the US, is that they are now finding that their slice of the pie isn't as big as they were promised, rather than any concern for their fellow man.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 07:00PM Report Comment
 

44. letthemfall said...

The question of elites and equality is not, as above posts confirm, a simple issue that is simple to address. But I disagree that a desire for equality is motivated by jealousy (an old right vs left cliche), meaning in effect that we all want to be richer than everyone else. Fairer and more equal societies are generally, it has been shown, more contented and better ones in which to live. And one important means govt has at its disposal to help achieve this is the tax system - i.e. a progressive tax system. Sweden is perhaps an example worth looking at.

On the global scale, it is true that the West luxuriates in comparison to, say, Africa. But the solution is not simply giving all ones worldly goods away. Apart from climate troubles in some African countries, there is the matter of bad governance which is a pretty intractable problem (eg Zimbabwe). There are many examples of food aid not achieving its ends for this reason. However, there is little doubt that the West needs to give up some of its material wealth before we begin to see a fairer distribution.

To be fair, I dislike being paid less than someone who I don't think deserves what they get; there is no divorcing ones personal feelings and circumstances from this debate. But at the same time I am appalled by what so many people have to endure, especially in other countries, even more so in rich countries. Even for purely selfish reasons, getting closer to equality in my own country will benefit me because I don't like the money-grubbing society we live in now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 08:22PM Report Comment
 

45. Hbsource said...

It's probably futile because everyone will have moved onto a new thread but I'm still thinking about this, so here goes.

For a long time I couldn't work out why bonuses and salaries in the financial sector were so high. Surely if a thousand people were being paid £3m bonuses, then more people would enter the job market and you would have 2 thousand people willing to earn £1.5m bonuses. It's the same total amount of money. It's still a huge bonus and there must be untold amounts of people willing to do the work for that sort of remuneration. So why are there not a load more people earning lower but still hugely generous bonuses?

It can only be supply and demand. There is a huge demand for well paid financial jobs, they're massively sought after. It must mean that the supply of suitable candidates for the very top positions is scarce. In our fluid, globalised pool of talent, there are only a finite amount of the right sort of candidates for the banks. However unpopular that is around here, it must be true. Otherwise the Chinese, or the Arabs with their huge sovereign wealth funds for example, would be setting up rival companies with workers willing to earn that £1.5m bonus.

Governments are always arguing that they are trying to create a meritocratic society but companies like Goldman Sachs are ruthless in their pursuit of that goal. If you can make money for the company, you're hired. It doesn't matter if you were born with 3 heads by a yak in the Himalaya, it's all about your ability. The top financial companies nowadays and multi-ethnic, polyglot cauldrons of talent, that's the truth.

One more point about out-sourcing, which has been raised a couple of times on this thread. If a company out-sources work and saves money, then the beneficiary is the customer. Me, you, everybody. If our gas bill is lower because the call centre is in Bangalore not Bangor then the net result is beneficial for the UK economy. The balance is between a couple of hundred low-paid call centre jobs versus millions of people saving a few pence every month on their bills. That couple of pence is then spent on something else in the economy and someone else benefits. It may seem harsh on the couple of hundred people in the call centre but then no-one weeps for the lost coopers, tanners and blacksmiths of the 19th century. The world changes, usually for the better.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 08:32PM Report Comment
 

46. phdinbubbles said...

@letthemfall
well said

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:13PM Report Comment
 

47. cat and canary said...

letthemfall,

so so difficult to properly capture the implications of modern day poverty and the crisis in just a few simple english paragraphs. Your post is the closest i have read to date.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 12:32AM Report Comment
 

48. letthemfall said...

Thank you for your generous words

Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:12AM Report Comment
 

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