Monday, 2 August 2010

I was in two minds ...

... (always a good place to be if you want to get through twice the work, as long as you avoid the white coats) whether to write about el sistema or the banks.  So I (we?) decided to do both.

Mind # 1: well, that's easy.   This tells you all you need to know, to kick off, about this inspirational Venezuelan project that's transforming the lives of deprived kids, in every way from the economically physical to the emotionally behavioural, through the medium of music - and which has just started up a spinoff in a degenerated part of Scotland.  Just have a look, I promise you'll love it and want to dig deeper.

Oh dear, the banks.  Mind # 2  is off to pour itself a glass of wine, because anaesthesis is the only way to deal with this sad but important quagmire.  Fortunately, thanks to a little-known internet portal, I have direct access to the questions that were spinning through the deep subconscious nightmare minds of the CEOs in the lead-up days to their profit declarations.  Space doesn't permit a full list, nor does credulity (nor ennui), but here are just a few.  Beancounters' responses shown in [brackets].
  • How does charging risky businesses three times as much interest as non-risky ones help them to become less risky?  [They piss off to an even more stupid bank, or go bust.  WGAF?]
  • Should I tell the shareholders how much of the £7bn (HSBC) came from derivatives trading or short selling?  [Probably not.]
  • Should we be offering £1bn of the £7bn to flood relief in NW Pakistan?  There'd still be six left over for us.  [Where?  OK, put us down for 100K.]
  • How does selling 318 branches help anybody who lives near them?  [Dunno, ask Brussels.  Glad to be shot of 'em.]
  • Yes, but how does it help the customers?  [Don't understand.  Who?]
  • What am I here for?  [To serve us.]
  • Is there a God?  [Oh yes.  But not on our balance sheet.]

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