The Editorial: Diamond Heist.

The Editorial: Diamond Heist.

Cue the talking heads. Yet another massive financial institution has been busted with its pants down in a naughty, naughty and mighty compromising position. Barclays – the same Barclays that recently spruced up its “we care about people” credentials by financing/slathering its name all over London’s Boris bike scheme – has been lying profusely about the interest rates it paid to borrow money from other banks, thereby fudging its numbers and enriching itself through some serious misdeeds. In short, Barclays blows.

Yes, that stolid symbol of British wealth. Synonymous with that most steadfast of currencies, the Sterling, and the bank is just as greedy and corrupt and wholly uninterested in the world’s well-being as its more notorious banking brethren from across the pond. How satisfying! And best of all, its CEO, an American appropriately named Bob Diamond, has just been (justly) ousted. Actually, he quit, but the whole sordid affair just reeks of a nail-biting BBC TV movie, in which the reckless cowboy American ruins a once perfectly civilised English party.

Except how many times do we have to listen to this broken record? British or American or French or otherwise, it’s always the same: gambling+deception=massive losses, and then a lovely dose of screwing for you, the consumer. And while through similar actions this system was singlehandedly responsible for the imaginary financial catastrophe we’ve been trapped in for the past who-knows-how-long, nothing at all has changed. There has only been a further consolidation of power, larger investments at stake, and even more risk. What might the next financial crisis look like?

I say imaginary catastrophe, incidentally, because, although I have a degree in economics, I nevertheless find it impossible to conceive of how mankind’s ultimate motivation now derives from the mathematically obscure outcomes of balance sheets crafted by leagues of crafty yet recalcitrant accountants. And who could be less apt for running a human society than cubicle-bound accountants? Perhaps that’s why they’re punishing us all…

Now, before you go to the trouble of worrying yourself and getting revved up to vote, know that it is increasingly clear that we no longer live even vaguely in a peaceful patchwork of democratic societies. The global financial matrix laid over the entire globe has very much made sure of that. Instead of an empowered citizen, think of yourself as an indentured number on an infinite spreadsheet. And for God’s sake, keep buying! Otherwise, we’re all doomed!

But seriously. Who thinks Diamond won’t get away with his heist? He’s left his job, but there’s no way he’ll walk away from Barclays as anything other than an extraordinarily wealthy man. We live in a just, just world, kids.

Don’t forget to keep spending!

Tag Christof