This one’s about money because money’s in the news. Some people ‘on welfare’ (I use the generic term in order not to be misunderstood) are having their benefits cut, thus saving the government a few pounds a week in these straitened times. There are many who welcome this, emphasising that people who don’t work shouldn’t get ‘paid’. They conveniently ignore the fact that there are no jobs and/or that some of these individuals actually can’t work, because of parenting commitments, disabilities or some other factors. I know there are those who are just lazy and happy to sponge off the state, but I’m not sure that I follow the argument that a blanket reduction of benefits is a fair way to deal with them.
I could bluff my way through some politics but economics, which was always a closed book, is even less penetrable than an obscure Serbo-Croatian dialect. Nonetheless, there’s one aspect of the money thing that I really need explained to me. And it relates to the present banking crisis. It seems that Mr Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclays, has ‘earned’ just short of £100,000,000 over the 6 years he’s been in charge. Now that he’s leaving, having allegedly presided over a period in which corruption was rife and profits were valued more than customers, he’s likely to get a bonus of another £22,000,000. Just pause to absorb that a moment – one hundred and twenty-two million pounds in six years.
OK, the l’Oréal adverts tell us ‘it’s because you’re worth it’ and Mr Diamond may well have such a grasp of finance, people, the world – even where the Higgs Boson hangs out – that he IS worth that much money. But even if he is, why the hell does he need so much? What’s he saving for? He must have had a bob or two before he took the job. He must already have at least one house, a car, maybe a boat, even a couple of racehorses, so why does he need £22,000,000 on top of the £100,000,000, and why did he need £100,000,000 in the first place? I leave conclusions about his probity to others – what concerns me is that he represents the sickness of the system by which we’re all forced to live. While people with nothing are having the few pounds they need for food, clothes and shelter refused them, why do those at the other end of the scale, who already have more than they can spend, just keep on accumulating the stuff (and even resent having to give some of it back in taxes – taxes which, by the way, aren’t gifts to the government but the money needed to maintain the social infrastructure essential to keeping a nation civilised)?
Money is no longer a means, a convenient way of bartering, it’s become an end in itself. There’s maybe something I don’t understand. Perhaps if I suddenly acquired many millions, I’d feel the need to multiply them further, but why? Is it to wave wads of notes in front of others to show how powerful I am? If any of you can explain to me why people need more money than they can possibly spend, I’ll be very grateful..