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Boo to Banksters

10 Jun

Bankster: what a great Portmanteau word which succinctly communicates everything that’s rotten with our current financial system.

Bowler hat The first time I laid eyes on the City of London, it was the early 80s and everyone wore bowler hats.  Fast forward to the late 80s, when I started working there for real, and double breasted suits with red braces were the fashion of the day.  I confess, I couldn’t get into one of those suits – immortalized by 1930s Chicago – fast enough, although red braces were a step too far.  The City was pure madness, fueled by a mixture of greed, never ending bonuses, drugs, champagne, fast cars and loose women.  Sadly for me, I didn’t live that lifestyle, I simply helped support it with IT systems and software – anything to make stocks and futures move faster.  Looking back, it’s probably a good job I wasn’t a trader, as I’d either be dead or else hulking around a collection of knackered organs, bludgeoned into failure through massive overindulgence.

Michael Douglas as Gordon ‘Greed is Good’ Gecko in the movie Wall St epitomized the world of finance in that period of time; more recently the role of monied bad boy was reprized by Leonard Di Caprio in the movie Wolf of Wall St.  Both films portray the period as one massive hedonistic binge, which resonates with my experiences.  We all knew there were some bad people working the system, but they were our bad people, people who’d fought their way up from the bottom, displacing the Old Boys in their bowler hats.  It was all one big splurge of harmless fun.

GerkinSomewhere along the route that all changed.  Once the bankers in their bowler hats had been thoroughly displaced, the financialization of everything began in earnest.  Our people, with their wide boy attitudes and disregard for regulations paved the way for an influx of used car salesmen and outright crooks, who in turn begat bigger crooks.  Under their tutelage, finance became a massive part of the economy, the search forever on for ways to make ever bigger profits.  It should come as no surprise to discover that once the real crooks found their way in, they clamored for looser regulations.  When government employed useful tax inspectors, the financiers offered them more money to change sides.  The bought the regulators; they employed rocket scientists to create financial mechanisms that no-one but other rocket scientists can understand.  The party went from a few mates and a few beers, to neighborhood riot, advertised on Facebook.  Instead of stopping it when called, the police joined in and the party got larger still.

And here we are today.

Johnnie-WalkerIf you follow the financial news you’ll see fines for LIBOR rigging, fines for rigging the currency market, all shrouded in a culture of denial.  It was one bad apple, guv – honest.  The truth is, the banksters moved in and slowly but surely they captured every market and bought off the opposition.  They hypnotized government, then bought them off too.  Rigging markets is like you and your teenage mates drinking a bit of your dad’s scotch when he’s out.  To hide the crime you top the bottle up with water.  You get away with it, so you do it again and again, until it becomes impossible to stop.  Soon, the scotch is all gone.  So you fill the bottle with cold tea and hide it at the back of the booze cabinet.  Then you start on the gin and vodka.  Pretty soon the entire booze cabinet is colored water.  Next you spend all your time thinking up ways to keep your dad out. In the end, you leave home and when the crime is discovered, blame it all on your baby brother.  I know he’s only 5 dad, but hell can he drink!

I propose that the international crime syndicate that captured our financial system operates as a secret society, thoroughly ingrained in the City of London and Wall Street.  Ferret, the hero of The Ferret Files belongs to said organization and knows many of their secrets.  As we’ve previously established, he’s a charming consultant who works in the City and thanks to insider trading has become very wealthy.  Now he’s bored and wants to follow his childhood dream of becoming a detective.  However, his friends are having none of it and unless he starts earning again quickly, he’ll soon discover how his superiors deal with foot soldiers who they deem are no longer of any use.

Purchase Ferret

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