How to make money

How to make money

In these times of economic depression, with banks collapsing around our ears and governments hitting on the capital idea that printing money might be the answer to all our problems, it’s good to know that at least some people are making money.

I refer, of course, to people like Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive of the now 70%-privatised Royal Bank of Scotland and his £650,000-a-year pension, and executives of the American International Group (which the American government bailed out to the tune of $170 billion) and their bonuses, totalling 100 million dollars. And many other people like them, all over the world, too many (and too depressing) to enumerate.

What a jolly good wheeze, I think to myself: a great way to make money. What these people have in common is that they were in charge of financial institutions which have floundered in the difficult economic climate. I used to think that people in charge of these institutions were people who were capable of weathering the storms of recession, steering their companies on to come through it all and emerge, perhaps a little battered, but intact and triumphant.

Not a bit of it. It turns out that you need about as much economic know-how as a tomato. Good news for me, then, as I can’t even balance a cheque-book. All I need, it seems, is brazen indifference to anyone or anything else. Fight my way to the top, run the company for my own personal benefit, collect bonuses and retire at fifty.

My guess is there must be some hospital somewhere offering special lobotomies, probably called “moralectomies”. Surgeons carefully remove every last milligram of morality from the patient, who go on to be chief executives, managing directors, finance ministers and Robert Mugabe. Presumably, this is replaced with a kind of tunnel vision: these are some of the most hated people in their native countries, only slightly above child molesters and murderers in most people’s opinions, yet they don’t seem to care. This is only possible, I believe, if they don’t notice the hatred directed their way.

Well, I’m up for that: put me down for a moralectomy.

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