Sunday, February 12, 2012

remember, we’re all in this together (episode 27)…

I’m not an economist or a politician (what a surprise). Although I ran a “successful” architectural practice for nearly 30 years, I probably have a somewhat naïve approach when it comes to finance (and understanding finance). I think I’ve probably inherited a rather Victorian attitude when it comes to work/remuneration and take exception to what I regard to excess or greed. I think the recent Occupy protest movements were a powerful expression of this (“we are the 99%”) - against the growing income inequality and wealth distribution between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population.
I was therefore depressed to read a
report in yesterday’s Guardian that the AVERAGE pay for the 24,000 bankers working for BarCap (Barclays Capital investment Bank) was just a paltry £200,000 last year (and that the average bonus for these poor workers was down 30% to a mere £64,000). Somewhat predictably, Barclays Bank chief Bob Diamond (note: he’s currently refusing to disclose his own bonus from last year – speculation puts it anything from £3-10million!) has been quick to defend the situation, saying that it was important to "celebrate rewards for success or then we won't have an economy". Of course! It seems that, despite receiving biggest taxpayer-funded bailout in history, nothing much has changed in the banking world.
I think the time has come for us to switch our own bank current account from one of the big banks - according to
Ethical Consumer magazine, ours has an “ethiscore” of just 1.5 out of 20 (note: if you thought that was bad, the same magazine gives Barclays an “ethiscore” of 0.5 out of 20!) - to a more “ethical” bank (eg. Co-operative 13/20, Triodos 15.5/20 or Charity Bank 16/20?).
The Occupy Wall Street movement in the USA encouraged more than 40,000 people to switch their bank accounts last November. Next month, Move Your Money launches a similar campaign here in the UK (under the catchphrase “bank on something better”).
Perhaps it’s time for us all to switch our money?
PS: It’s not just bankers, obviously. Here in Bristol, there’s a move by the Taxpayers Alliance to cut the salary of Bristol City Council’s chief executive from £190,000 to £150,000 to "bring it in line" with similar posts.
PPS: click on the image to enlarge!

1 comment:

just Gai said...

Worth considering Steve. I wonder, though, whether they arrange for the transfer of all direct debits/standing orders. The thought of having to do this for oneself is rather off putting.

Proximity to a local branch used to be another consideration but with ATMs and online banking it's no longer so much of a problem.