What's going unsaid?
What is the function of a banker, really? Why are they allowed to function as more than a civil servant? Someone please answer that question for me.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, for my "money" (ha!) one of the most interesting philosophers alive, on October 18, was on Bloomberg TV, afraid that it's "too late," that violent class warfare will now open like a running sore (my words, not Nassim's), that banks really should be more like public utilities, and that the gross bonuses and salaries bankers are paid is absurd, and that this needs to be fixed ASAP. It gets wildly interesting - for me - when Nassim starts explaining a part of Hammurabi's Code and how we ought to model banker's behavior. You need to devote about 14 minutes of your time here, but you might find it worthwhile; I know I did. Here it is:
Some of the take-away points regarding bankers:
- "They caused the crisis, we know that. Last year, they had a record bonus. This is not something that is rational."
- "They are hijacking the American economy then saying that you need to pay us bonuses'."
- "The core of this situation is a problem concerning bank compensation."
- "The only information you get from bank earnings is the compensation. Only valuable information you can get from [bank earnings] is how much they pay themselves."
- "Anything above zero is too much money....if we bail you out, you should not be paid a bonus."
- "If you are a banker, and we will bail you someday, then you cannot earn more than a civil servant of a corresponding rank."