Cityphobia.

A propos de la faillite de la banque Lehman Brothers: « An important part of the deal was the $2.5 billion in bonuses that would be paid for the bank’s New York staff. The previous year, Lehman’s bonuses were $5.7 billion.
If you are wondering how a total of $8,200,000,000 could be paid in bonuses over two years to the great minds whose company went bankrupt, well, what can I tell you? The bonus question is often seen as a tragicomic footnote to the business of banking, but it may be that it goes close to the heart of the problem of how we got to be in this place. Through history, the great fortunes have been made by people directly taking risks on their own account. Today, great fortunes are made by employees, doing nothing other than their jobs: jobs which, in the case of bankers, involve taking on risks, usually with other people’s borrowed money. To make more money, and earn more bonuses (which are usually 60 per cent of an investment banker’s pay), it’s simple: you just take on more risk. The upside is the upside, and the downside – well, it increasingly seems that for the bankers themselves, certainly in the case of Lehman New York, there isn’t one. This undermines the whole principle of ‘moral hazard’, which was the idea behind letting Lehman go under in the first place – the need for companies to face the consequences of their decisions. This principle obviously collapses if the individuals involved don’t face any consequences ».
La suite dans la London review of books

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