Bankers: taking us to the cleaners
Bankers are a pack of worthless, useless, value destroying arseholes. And these money grubbing low life get paid millions to stuff things up and then survive on handouts from us and pay themselves huge bonuses for their ‘success’.
It’s good to know that the latest research, from the New Economics Foundation, backs me up. According to their most recent report A bit rich: calculating the real value to society of different professions:
While collecting salaries of between £500,000 and £10 million, … City bankers … destroy £7 of social value for every pound in value they generate.
On the other hand they estimated that:
[F]or every £1 [hospital cleaners] are paid, over £10 in social value is generated.
It was the same with advertising agents and accountants (social value destroyers) and childcare workers and waste recycling workers (social value creators).
Given the social value the City bankers destroy, we’d actually as a society be better off without them (and advertising agents and accountants to the rich and powerful.)
After all, sub-prime loans, derivatives like options and swaps in bond and foreign exchange markets, margin trading and short selling in the stock market, collateralised debt options, hedge funds, index futures, warrants … none of them create new value.
In fact by hiding real risk they create short term benefits for their creators and others. However long term these ‘innovative financial products’ lay the groundwork for a collapse in financial markets with flow on effects to the productive economy where profit rates are stagnant.
At the moment it may be that we are in the upswing of a W shaped recession, but as Greece and much of Eastern Europe, along with Iceland and Ireland show, all is still not well in the fairy land of global capitalism. Britain could be the next domino to fall after Greece.
The NEF uses their estimates to justify a curb on high pay as well as lifting the minimum wage.
It argues for a more progressive tax system and universal child care and paid parental leave. It posits a program of millions of green jobs and suggests that we should be building social and environmental values into prices to to change relative profitability.
The NEF is a radical keynesian outfit. Its solutions are developed within the framework of capitalism and the continued exploitation of the working class.
For example Eilis Lawlor, spokeswoman for the New Economics Foundation, argues for a radical re-ordering of pay structures. She said:
Pay levels often don’t reflect the true value that is being created. As a society, we need a pay structure which rewards those jobs that create most societal benefit rather than those that generate profits at the expense of society and the environment.
This cannot happen under capitalism. The bankers will continue to receive their bonuses for bullshit and hospital workers will be paid crap.
As Marx, Lenin and Trotsky argued, paying people according to the social value they create is one of the first tasks of a successful workers’ revolution.
For example Trotsky in the Revolution Betrayed argues that:
in its first steps the workers’ state cannot yet permit everyone to work “according to his abilities” – that is, as much as he can and wishes to – nor can it reward everyone “according to his needs”, regardless of the work he does.
He goes on to say:
In order to increase the productive forces, it is necessary to resort to the customary norms of wage payment – that is, to the distribution of life’s goods in proportion to the quantity and quality of individual labor.
So while the NEF argues for solutions within capitalism, the logic of its position appears to me to be inexorable. Capitalism can’t and won’t build social and environmental values into pricing. Even if it did, the essential exploitative nature of capitalism would continue and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall would assert itself.
Only a fundamental re-ordering of society to one where production is organised democratically to satisfy human need can overcome the catastrophic profit cycle and reinvestment addiction and thus truly value human worth, not eventually in terms of money or pay, but in terms of contribution to society and then in the ultimate abolition of exchange value.
However that is but the first step. As Marx wrote in the Critique of the Gotha Programme:
In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
We are a long way indeed from that!
Nevertheless the NEF’s research is worthwhile and useful in the struggle for a just society in the here and now.
Every time one of those apologists for finance capital starts telling us what a great contribution to society bankers make, we can quote the NEF’s 7:1 value destruction ratio back at them.
Get rid of the bankers and their advertising and accounting mates. Pay child care workers, hospital cleaners and waste recyclers much much more. Pay postal workers and BA cabin crews much much more!