Lincoln Book Festival

Lincoln Book Festival
2017 Festival Programme

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

So, it was bonuses

I always remember a client years go who paid commission on the orders a salesman took. This was subsequently changed to giving commission on those orders which became actual sales delivered and paid in full.

The argument being made is that bonuses were paid when traders made money but no account was taken of risk. Well, the story would seem to be that when the traders made money, so did the banks and so did their shareholders. Without taking a risk none of it would have happened. So, does that make a risk OK?

Well, we can think of the RBS shareholders who received growing dividends and the value of whose shares rose dramatically for a long time. This was the upside of risk. The downside was when everything collapsed.

I'm not sure I understand what is proposed for the future. No risk, no bonus, dull dividends?

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Carol Ann Duffy

In his Holy Week talks in Canterbury Cathedral Rowan Williams quoted from Carol Ann Duffy's sonnet Prayer and praised the way she uses poems as places where new combinations of words and ideas spring together. Saturday's Guardian leader quoted the first four lines:

'Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.'

The leader goes on to quote Robert Kennedy's complaint that GDP failed to measure 'the health of our children, the joy of their play, the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate - and the beauty of our poetry...neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom not our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.'

This is a timely reminder to put all of this finance stuff into some sort of perspective