The City has been a byword for greed, but even there voices are being raised urging change. Recently, Barry Olliff, head of the City of London Investment Group pointed out how things go wrong.
In his view “the relentless focus on personal gain promotes a culture of greed and of excessive risk taking”. He points to City scandals such as HSBC’s laundering of drug money and cheating in the setting of interest rates. Even the Bank of England appears to have had involvement in fixing the Libor rate.
Many of these cases have eventually seen the light of day, and have cost companies huge fines. The regulators try to show that cheating doesn’t pay. But so far, it seems people are slow to learn.
Mr Olliff condemns the system whereby company bosses are paid huge bonuses for meeting targets that are often short term and impermanent. He emphasises how better results are achieved by team working and aiming for long term success.
The downside we all suffer is that the fines rarely compensate for the excess costs incurred by cheating. The problems lead to more and more regulation (red tape according to some) which does indeed increase costs for businesses and thereby hurts all of us. But then again, removing red tape without changing behaviour would just encourage the cheats.
This is one of the reasons why the Green Party believes that we can all prosper better in a fairer society. We are all wealth creators, wealth is the result of our combined efforts. Working together, we can all achieve more and live better. It’s just common sense.