Day 12 – Lashing out

The patience of the rich is running thin.

The editor of City AM rants today against the Archbishop of Canterbury. The clergy should stick to talking about God, he says, not some bolshevik-marxist bull about greed and poverty. Why the rant today? Because the AoC backed the proposition of Tobin tax – the only way the nations can make money from what became the fastest growing branch of Western economy. Imagine if the government couldn’t tax industrial production because industrial barons refused to agree to it. That’s the kind of situation we’re in.
The AoC also encourages to consider some of the things the Occupy protesters say. That’s pretty much the extent of his fault. Reading the rant, one would think the Archbishop demands a tear-down of the City skyscrapers, hanging the bankers, and giving all their money away to the poor. The CofE obviously stepped on one toe too many. Why can’t they understand Greed Is Good? A little bit of deadly sin once in a while never hurt anybody. It’s that stupid, stubborn sticking to some random ‘rules’ that makes the church ‘haemorrhaging members’!

The rich are losing their patience. “Poverty is idolized, material gain demonised,” claims Mr Heath – without providing any quotes to that effect. Yesterday representatives of several UK banks were trying to convince the public they’re not as bad as everyone thinks. The right-wing pundits in US have switched into full-on ‘victimization’ mode – as shown and brilliantly mocked on yesterday’s Daily Show. The 1% are the persecuted minority.

We’ve heard it before, of course. Back in 2008 it was the media’s and government’s fault that the public perception of the financial sector was so bad. They’re just doing their job. Nobody seems willing to step up and take the blame for anything that’s been happening. In the middle of the one of the greatest economic crises in living memory, ‘sorry’ seems, indeed, to be the hardest word.

Day 11 – Business as usual

The unparalleled City AM has today an editorial piece about the 7bln child. They are happy. They say we should all be happy. More people is better for the economy, always. More consumers, more producers, more everything. The infinite hamster can be fed infinitely.

Let’s play a game. Let’s imagine what future awaits the 7bln kid from the perspective of an average City AM reader. What can it bring to the economy?

If it even survives long enough, not dying from a random disease, famine or war, it has some great prospects. It could work at a uranium mine. Or steal oil from refinery pipes. Or stitch cheap t-shirts or jeans. Its entire contribution to the world’s economy will most likely be – at best – to provide cheap labour for some multi-national or other.

But maybe it won’t be that bad. The sixth billion kid has it pretty good compared to most of his peers: he lives with his parents in a ‘decrepit block of flats’ in Bosnia, but at least he’s white, European, has access to food, water and free school. One day he may become a skilled worker, trying to find some low-paid (or un-paid, even) employment. If Bosnia joins EU by the time he finishes school, he may even end up quite well off – relatively speaking.

So cheer up, emo seventh billion kid. The good people at City AM will take care of you.

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They certainly can afford it. It’s not often that you can read the words ‘elite greedy pigs‘ in a broadsheet newspaper, but it seems even the Independent’s patience has its limits – even if it is just a quote.
According to the findings of Income Data Servings, the average pay in the corporate boardroom rose by 50% – for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW.

Crisis? What crisis?

There are only two explanations for this: either the fat cats realize their time is up and they’re just trying to hoard up as much cash as possible, or they really are so out of touch with reality as most people suspect them to and they aren’t aware they’re doing something wrong.

Day 8 – Bailing bailers

So, three years after the first crisis, the only knee-jerk solution the governments can come up with is to pour more money down the drain that is the world of high finance.

There are now banks falling and requesting bailing out all over the place – Greece, Denmark, Belgium. Franco-Belgian Dexia is a particularly appalling example: Belgium doesn’t even have a government, for longer than any nation in history, and yet its rulers have managed to suppress their endless arguments enough to agree on nationalizing a fallen bank. Nobody knows who will pick up the tab if Belgium falls apart under the financial strain of this endeavour, but nobody seems to care anyway. Dexia is ‘too big too fall’ – even though it already received substantial funding last time it flopped and had three years to prepare for another wave of the crisis.

Even City AM started to publish reports and first-hand accounts of how useless the banks have become when it comes to doing anything of even the remotest public interest. They are not lending money anymore – governments and business incubators had to take over that part of their business. They are obviously not providing a valid customer service. They are not even able to make money for themselves – otherwise there would be no need for a bailout.

In a completely unrelated report, bankers bonuses are set to reach new record highs next quarter. Obviously everyone’s doing a great job out there.

Day 6

There’s some french-belgian bank that’s at the risk of a bankrupcy. Again.
In 2008 they got 6 bln euro bailout from France. Apparently, it wasn’t enough. Now they want more.
It is obviously run by morons with a financial acumen of a lobotomised monkey (not even a healthy monkey, because as research shows, healthy monkeys make, on average, better decisions than human traders). I can’t imagine any other company that would warrant bailing out twice in a row – with that much money.

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The infinite hamster rears its ugly head again as ‘markets are worried’ that China’s economic growth is slightly slower in September than it was in August. Nobody dares to ask the question ‘do we really want China’s economy to expand infinitely?’ Of course we do. Our yachts must expand infinitely too.
Speaking of yachts, there’s THIS mooring at the Tower Bridge. It belongs to a man who is worth half of what that french bank got three years ago. He’s already lost about a billion in the crisis, mostly because of his bad decisions (should have hired more monkeys). My heart weeps. The yacht’s still there.
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The heat-wave is almost over. Mornings are chilly, evenings not so much. Picked up business cards of a few Japanese restaurants to try out in coming months. Some look very promising.

Day 5 – Weekend

Libertarians often claim that if there were no or lesser taxes, the rich people would make up for social services with their charity money (I know, I’ve been one).

City AM today reports that the president of Chartered Institute of Marketing organized a charity bash for his friends, directors of marketing of such companies as Virgin Media and Barclays. There was free champagne and chocolates. Together, 140 guests have raised a staggering sum of… £5400. That amounts to £40 per person.

On the same page there’s a bill for three hedge traders amounting to £740 for champagne and some lamb chops.

Last week there was an editorial which claimed there’s no point giving tax cuts and rebates to the poor because they would only spend it on groceries, and it doesn’t drive economy forward. This week, we have news that Tesco has the lowest results in 20 years, while Louis Vuitton, Dior and Hermes fare better than ever. For some reason, the Tesco news seems to worry everyone more. I thought groceries don’t matter for the economy?

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Overheard on tube: ‘Yeah, we had a pet lizard in our class. We named him Jimmy – for Jimmy Choo shoes’

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Went to a Jodo Shinshu ceremony at Three Wheels temple. Not my cup of tea, I’m sorry to say. Rev. K.T. Sato looks like a thoroughly remarkable person though. Interesting lecture on difficulties of translation of holy texts.
For some reason, a Jodo Shinshu temple has a Zen garden at the back. Makes one question the loyalties of the owner 😉

Day 3

The irreplaceable City AM has a map of its fantasy world today, showing a parallel universe Europe (you know, the one in which the only possible solution to world’s financial crisis is more deregulation and tax cuts for the rich)

It looks almost like our own, except a few changes:

– Hungary is called Slovakia
– Czechoslovakia is still one nation
– So is most of Yugoslavia, except for Slovenia
– On the other hand, Wales and Scotland split from UK
– Poland finally annexed Kaliningrad Oblast’
– All small countries like Andorra have been incorporated into their neighbours

In unrelated news, readers of City AM prefer to live in Singapore or Hong Kong rather than Sweden or Denmark. No wonder they don’t like Europe, they can’t find anything here!

Day 2

This morning, fantasy newspaper City AM bemoans the fact that people still have little faith in the banks and financial institutions. Despite all the obvious effort they’ve made to clear their good name!
They blame politicians and the media for creating an ‘atmosphere of distrust’.

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Bad news: the sofuto kurimu machine is gone from Japan Centre shop. Small consolation: they have Hojicha ice cream in the fridge.

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Dear Mr …

I am sorry that you were unhappy when you were asked to turn off your kindle.  I can understand how disappointing it must have been for you.  Please accept my sincere apologies.
I would like to assure you that we do listen and take account of what our customers tell us.  I have now recorded the details of your feedback.  A group of senior managers from across the business look at the problems our customers face, and how we can improve.  This means your feedback is given direct to the department best placed to act on it.  As a result we can improve and invest in the areas that matter most to our customers.
Thank you for writing to us about such an important aspect of British Airways service.  I hope you will fly with us again soon.


Best regards

L… R…


Oooh, it just makes me fuzzy all over. It was almost believable until they implied a group of senior managers will read my letter 😉


Still, at least they are sorry. Is that one of the ‘frills’ you pay for when you don’t fly a ‘no-frills’ airline?

Day 1

Started reading City AM. It’s a fantasy newspaper about a parallel universe in which bankers and corporations can’t be blamed for anything, financial crises come unpredictably like natural disasters, and every problem can be solved by lowering taxes for the rich.

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There is some species of ivy that turns bloody red at that time of the year. It tends to cling to disused railway tracks. Makes everything look very War-of-the-Worldly.