Your Humble Blogger Speaks on BBC Radio About Why Bankers Make So Much Money

I very much enjoyed this chat on why bankers are able to extract such extortionate pay so much and hope you do as well (as in the talk, not the underlying fact set).

We’re a bit late in posting this interview because the BBC does not make it easy to embed their broadcasts. However, it turns out to be timely since it was revealed yesterday that the average pay for Goldman’s 32,900 employees for 2013 was $383,000.

Should you have technical difficulties, please try this link for the segment on Business Daily, or try this one for the podcast proper.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. The Dork of Cork

    Both the humble blogger and the Beeb failed or ignored Larry Summers recent performance and why bubbles need to be part of the design.
    Such concentrated capital obviously cannot be used.
    The system managers therefore produce products be it financial (incoming) or real (outgoing) which cannot be consumed which manifests itself as a bust.

    Banks believe it or not remain boring.
    One of their functions as always is to channel symbolic capital into killing zones.
    Indeed is one sense the game has become even more boring as the tackle from behind is now banned.
    Asking banks to reform themselves by not engaging in credit activities ( the only viable reform is closure) period is sort of insane or stupid or both.
    Especially in London of all places.

    The Central problem remains – the nature of the money itself.

    CH Douglas (control and distribution of production)
    “To sum
    the whole matter up, the existing economic
    arrangements :

    1. Make credit the most important factor
    in effective demand
    2. Base credit on the pursuit of a financial
    objective, and centralise it
    3. This involves constantly expanding pro- duction ;

    4. This must find an effective demand,
    which means exports and more credit

    5.Makes price a linear function of cost,
    and so limits distribution, largely to those with large credits

    6, Therefore directs production into channels
    desired by those with the largest

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Both the humble blogger and the Beeb failed or ignored Larry Summers recent performance and why bubbles need to be part of the design.”

      Did they? Has there been something recent? I try to ignore out of work functionaries such as Summers who aren’t in danger of coming back to the scene, but I could have sworn Krugman’s support for Summers position was deconstructed here.

      1. The Dork of Cork

        In one sense Larry is more likable then the rest in the fact that he is more blunt about such things.
        Try to get your (Orwellian) head around what he is saying.
        Failure has been a immense success for the insiders.
        It means they can keep their relative wealth advantage which is all that matters if your concern is power.

        Real wealth distribution is impossible under their monetary designs.
        The outsiders trying to get a yield from such a system and getting scalped is merely a obvious symptom of the disease.
        In the past perhaps scalping was more periodic(or perhaps we had more insiders once) which means less success for the insiders.
        Now it is widespread on all levels of society which means even more success for the insiders.

        In the past the city corporation took away my glass rubbish once a month.
        Then we had competition via multiple private companies ……and it became 2 months
        Now they tell me it will be six months…….
        The rate of profit increases as the standard of living and service declines.
        Its the way of the capitalistic world.
        The service becomes more efficient at the expense of the actual service.
        Failure has been measured and it turns out that if you can put in the right metrics it can become a overnight success !!!
        Surprise surprise.

        The bank guys bank workers “Produce” more money but they don’t produce anything of use.
        Eventually they will just charge a rent and not collect the bin.
        Then you watch those profits go baby.

        Good on Larry.
        I want to see more of such conferences.
        It beats the feigned concern of nice inside men any day of the week.

  2. JefeMT

    Reaction to headline was, she MUST be taking about Wall Street, not Main Street! My pals at small bank USA, where 95% of us have our few pennies, debit, and checking accounts, the status in community is middling to high, pay is notoriously low.

  3. digi_owl

    Making trader bonuses and pay public reminds me of the, i think, Nordic practice of making the pr person taxable income public.

  4. JEHR

    Making money from money–that’s financialization and the banks are the Masters of This Universe. I have the feeling that they could pay themselves any amount that they wanted to.

    1. diptherio

      Let’s do a thought experiment: what would happen if the top executives at our major banks paid themselves so much that the banks themselves were threatened with insolvency. Would the Fed step in and bail out the banks? Would the executives be held to account in any meaningful way?

      I would submit the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’, respectively, as evidenced by the events of 2008 and after.

  5. mookie

    Hey, nice interview. Does this mean I should stop changing the station whenever Business Daily comes on? They usually focus on relentlessly reminding their listeners that austerity is necessary and just. Does anyone regularly listen to this show and recommend it?

  6. Walter Map

    Austerity is crucial and necessary. It must be imposed on banksters or we are all doomed, thoroughly and retroactively. In fact, all forms of piracy should be recriminalized.

    Goldman squidlings: “Har, matey!”

    PIllage is profitable. Duh. But it is infeasible as a permanent strategy.

    Legalizing fraud was a horrific mistake, one which will inevitably prove fatal if not reversed – and soon. Virtually every major problem presently confronting humanity can be seen to originate in the greed of the rentier class. Their greed depends on the utter failure to characterize civilization’s problems honestly – overpopulation, resource depletion, biosphere destruction, etc – and quite prevents the formulation of any effective solutions and guarantees the ultimate failure of civilization itself, if not the actual extermination of humanity. Unfortunately, since virtually the entire global economy has long since been organized to facilitate plundering, without regard to costs which must eventually prove catastrophic, it is very likely that it is already too late.

  7. diptherio

    This is rather tangential, but I was struck by Yves’ statement that ” a lot of people said when the scandals with Goldman came out: you can’t not do business with Goldman or someone like Goldman.”

    There’s a conversation going on between myself and a few others on the GEO listserv ( about the degree to which it is appropriate for Land Trusts, Co-ops, Eco-Villages, etc. to be doing business with the likes of JP Morgan, BOA and PNC Bank.

    Unsurprisingly, my view is that no one of good faith should ever do any business with known organized criminals, especially ones who have made so much money through unlawful foreclosures. I mean, wouldn’t it be rather ironic for a Housing Co-op to take a loan from BOA, after all of the fraud and manipulation they have used to unlawfully drive people from their homes and deny them just recompense? Isn’t that just providing corporate criminals PR cover? Isn’t that sleeping with the enemy, as well as providing them with an asset and an income stream?

    On the other hand, is it possible to not do business with these sorts? Am I being naive in assuming that local banks and credit unions and other non-criminal enterprises would be able to provide adequate financing as we attempt to build a new economy in the wreckage of the old? Or is looking to the destroyers of people’s lives to fund us making our own better a necessary evil? I’d be interested to know what NCers think.

  8. The Black Swan

    What about using an alternate currency that can only be spent within the co-op? And then partner up multiple co-ops within that currency? And have the bank be a part of the co-op. So everyone in the co-op equally owns the money supply, and any business done between co-ops need not be done in US dollars. The bank can exist to exchange co-op money for US dollars to pay taxes and pay for goods and services not currently provided by the co-op system. Or else we are stuck, forever at the mercy of the TBTF.

    1. diptherio

      Well, that’s a long-term, structural solution. But what about right now? Say there’s a housing co-op that needs a loan to upgrade their furnace; is it reasonable to expect them to be able to avoid the JPMs and BOAs of the world?

      What has brought this up is a website called CapNexus which “is a searchable online database that matches money and partners to community development finance opportunities.” Basically a clearing house for people looking to buy or sell community development loans/participations. Soon, they will also be connecting borrowers with lenders. Their short list of investors includes BOA and PNC, which obviously raises red flags for me.

      But is it reasonable to expect a service like CapNexus to operate, in our present reality, without involving BOA or their ilk?

      1. nobody

        There is no necessary reason for this sort of solution to be long term. Get critical mass, and things can change rapidly. It took about a decade to get rid of footbinding in china. There’s social science research showing that you can reach a tipping point with about ten per cent of a populace.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Interesting observation, “nobody”. Do you have a link? I recall reading elsewhere in the distant past that the Nazis were able to gain political power with only about 3 percent of the German population actively supporting them, but with the acquiescence of many of the rest.

          I particularly appreciated the statement by the last interviewee that the financial system is much like the National Grid in the UK in terms of its conceptual construction. But I was surprised by his statement that there is a shortage of capital. I had thought that with the Fed’s and BoJ’s creation of money that there was abundant money in the financial system now, and that this is presently reflected in currently low interest rates, at least in the so called developed economies.

          Thank you for posting this, Yves.

  9. Peter

    Banks indeed make so much money and that’s how a ppi claim back company comes into action. So for all of those people that were victims of unfair bank charges, it would be worth-thinking on visiting a PPI claim company.

Comments are closed.