Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Bob Diamond: you couldn't make it up

Entirely coincidentally, I'm reading Alan Plater's The Beiderbecke Connection, which features Ivan, a computer hacker (though the word isn't used), who deliberately caused the 1987 stock market crash to bring about the collapse of capitalism.
'Your plan is to overthrow world capitalism? Give or take a dollar or so?'
'The hands that touch the keyboard rule the world… We started a long time ago. You might remember the crash'.
She remembered the headlines, if not the small print… The way the bubbles had burst and the yuppies fled from the temple of Mammon, clutching their portable telephones as souvenirs of the never-never land. And nothing could be heard above the sound of gravy trains crashing into the buffers, and the metallic shriek of Porsches as they were pushed through the shredder.
Jill had enjoyed every second of it: it was really good fun. 
And later, an MI5 officer returns to the subject.
'The central problem is that he seems to regard the whole thing as a game… Straightforward bank robbers are no problem, as we know… But this man is different. His aim, apparently, is to dismantle the financial institutions of the world. I need hardly remind you, if we do not take these institutions seriously, we perish. The precise balance of currencies… the symbiosis of the stock markets of London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong… on all these temples we all depend. Whether we like it or not, they are our bread and butter. Our life and death'.
Hobson caught a sliver of irony in the Commander's words. 
What's changed since 1992? Well, the vandals are within: bonus culture, greed and social irresponsibility has put our financial institutions under the control of the wreckers. They aren't anti-capitalists trying to push the capitalism to its inevitable collapse under its own contradictions: they're capitalists pushing capitalism to its inevitable collapse. Instead of Ivan the Leftist Bank Robber, we've got Diamond the Capitalist Bank Chief. The result is the same, except that this time it's not just yuppies feeling the pain. If they are at all. 

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