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The sooner we get back to (or move forward to?) a low-risk, low-return economy, the better?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 05:38:00 AM EST
The sooner we get back to (or move forward to?) a low-risk, low-return economy, the better?  

Only, we can't.  The resources are not there.  We have just entered the VISIBLE death of Capitalism.  

The process may take a while, but it is now in motion.  Think of an avalanche.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 05:52:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Capitalism" under what definition?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 06:46:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The salient features I have in mind are:  

Return on investment
Growth

Neither is sustainable and both are going away.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:08:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, there are lots of jobless financial high flyers...

surely they can grow food for export, like the third world tries to.

it's a cruel thing, that freedom not to give a fuck until you're in the shit too.

whatever it takes...

empires rise and fall, sure, but history will record this crumble as the most unnecessary, considering the communication technology there was at hand.

but perhaps the patient will rise from his sickbed coma and.... vote obama!

give the man the wheel, please.

he needs to read joe bageant, btw, and learn to get through to people who think that folks with no mud on their shoes are uppity interlexuals, black, white or cappucino.

er, that's cawfee, what am i thinking!

if barack could crack that nut, he's have it made in the shade.

time for some squirrel hunting? mud wrestling? monster truck rallies?

time to get a ranch down in ole bammee and raise quail or earthworms, chew baccy and go fishin' with the good ol' boys, discuss politics down at the feed store, and prove that he can get grittier-than-thou, the uptown sheen is alienating the zero-info, 'politics of bile' crowd.

at the same time as dragging his squawling base out to vote, no matter how centrist a line he softshoe shuffles.

it's going to need an academy awards performance, maybe he could get the cohn brothers as coaches!

he could probably crack it, as he is a very accomplished man.

but will he? or gracefully concede, like kerry?

i choose to trust him, no skull and bones background.

events are swirling up at a right rate, and mcpalin looks like it might crash onto the media reef.

hurricane season, obama needs to stay calm, and use that great sense of humour to bounce back from the increasingly transparent tissue of lies campaign that is the only remaining tool in the repug toolbox.

maybe we have been roved into a new awareness of modern propaganda, i'd like to think that's why the media is shifting to a new level and direction of criticism.

there is no new boy genius to take his place, now his cover's blown, and he's last election's model, whose ploys are seen through, save by that 25-30% out shootin' dinner.

get 'em pannelled, windmilled and gridded, give them a sense of pride, that's what they eat, breathe and weep tears for... a national mission for energy self-sufficiency.

it's the noble thing to do, while practicing the mechanical bull, natch. there aren't too many bodysurfers in the barbell belt.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 06:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, there are lots of jobless financial high flyers...
Most of whom are working class, in any meaningful definition of the word.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 06:51:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean by your meaningful definition, which is that they depend for their living on selling their work for a salary? That they are therefore members of the proletariat?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretty much. Most of the people losing jobs are, though they've been persuaded otherwise.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They and everyone else have been persuaded, which makes a very considerable difference in terms of perception and prestige.

And does their proletarian classification alter the fact that the sector they've been working for has been the cuckoo in the nest for nearly thirty years, and has deprived many other sectors and salary-earners of sustenance?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:44:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you have to have FU money to exit the proles.

by the definition of selling your energy, being beholden, surely anyone who's signed a contract is a prole.

maybe the concept of proletariat is over, it only had resonance when it was in the form of lumpenproletariat. which has to be one of the most onomatapeic words/sounds ever!

those guys with their cardboard boxes are the modern equivalent of hod-carriers building the great pyramid (scam).

what does it matter if their from upper, middle or working class backgrounds? the financial services environment gives the appearance of being quite democratic, less of an old boys' club than it used to be a century ago.

glorified barrow boys? ex etonian wankers? everything in between?

not lumpen though...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 09:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
5000 jobs gone in London today apparently. Most of whom will be ordinary people working in ordinary jobs for relatively ordinary wages. A small number will be in the top 10% of earners and even fewer in the top 5%. How many do you think are in the top 1%?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 06:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most jobs would go, and the payroll was not protected - with the next pay cheque due this Friday.
(FT.com)

5000 London mortgages to become 'distressed'? (And Lehman employs 25 thousand people globally... what's the size of the hit in Manhattan?)

Like the Enron critters, many of these people had large portions of their savings in Lehman shares.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think most of the people at Canary Wharf were ordinary working stiffs, and with entry level salaries of £45k and a notoriously flat and entrepreneurial structure I'm finding it hard to be completely sympathetic.

These people always had the choice to do something useful with their lives. But no - they decided to follow the herd and work in the City.

How many companies have these idiots bankrupted? How many little people have they put out of work by concentrating on profit at the expense of social context? How much damage have they done to the international economy?

It was a Lehman VP who helped put the final nails in the coffin of de-regulation.

I hope they spend some time in the real world, grow up and get proper jobs doing something useful.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me tell you what I want Santa to bring ME for Christmas.

i.e. that'll be the day.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:22:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, they pay cleaners and secretaries 45k? I'm very tempted to ask what constitutes a proper job ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:24:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not ignore the substantive part of the post to try to score an imaginary cheap point?

Do you really think those proverbial cleaners and secretaries aren't going to be able find new jobs in a city with millions of businesses?

How about the cleaners and secretaries in the companies which the City has put under over the last twenty five years? Does working outside of Canary Wharf mean they don't get a sympathy vote?

Bah.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And there's me thinking we'd been decrying the destruction of those jobs for ages here. It doesn't mean we should be jumping up and down with joy at the destruction of other jobs. Do we get to hate everyone who works for a bank?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is really excessive, Colman. No one is jumping up and down for joy or hating.

I think this has now become a thread hi-jack ! :-)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:06:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...Because a company like Lehman will be keeping cleaners on its corporate payroll, and not subcontracting the work to a diversified service company with contracts throughout Canary Wharf and the City?

Not really, no.

You're looking in the wrong place. The temps will move on, the cleaners will be redeployed (as the phrase goes) one way or another.

It's the PAs and IT people who will have a harder time finding new work after this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the PAs and IT people who will have a harder time finding new work after this.

And they're a suitable target for Schadenfreude.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And they're a suitable target for Schadenfreude.

Don't knock schadenfreude:  It's about the only kind of freude we get these days.  

We should laugh now, while we can.  We have long predicted this moment, and long known what follows:  It does not end with the lay-offs of 4000 drones.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:29:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I was expecting to see a lot of schadenfreude in the London free commuter press (like there was when Bear crashed), but I find very little - mostly shock.

The "drones" had it coming, but the ones that won't be out of a job are these people.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, we had not forgotten about that.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:38:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many people did Lehman have at VP level? a couple hundred?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying to figure out how many of the three words apply to me, for instance.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:37:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Never "ordinary".

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 12:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, what useful things were they to do, given the dominance of the financial sector in London? Where were the good honest jobs that they could have taken?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:40:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In London you can work in Legal or financial services, hairdressers, restaurants, real estate agents, teaching, the Met and the NHS.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:43:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also engineering and consultancy out at the edges, here and there. Occasionally it looks like real industry.

Ofxord and Cambridge have research parks.

No one is forced to live or work in London. The UK does have an economy of sorts elsewhere too.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What? I thought the point being pushed by you, among others, was precisely that the whole UK economy was pretty much shoehorned into London and that prospects elsewhere were borderline. Suddenly this isn't true?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's true if you're willing to accept challenging and useful work which doesn't promise city-sized bonus packages.

That seems to have been a personal sacrifice too far for too many people.

So - here we are.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:17:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, for a year I didn't get any offers of challenging and useful work which doesn't promise city-sized bonus packages.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's some of that, but remember that chart Jerome had of government spending across the UK under Blair (think it was from the FT).  A lot of what was going on out in the Provinces revealed quite a bit of weakness in the private economy.  I think everything from the Midlands up had pretty much stagnated if you deducted the government's contribution.

Which isn't a bad thing.  Gotta put people to work.  But I think most of the private-sector stuff is in the South generally and Southeast in particular.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:41:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A quote from our Anglo Disease piece below:

European Tribune - Community, Politics & Progress.

In the UK, where the sector's share of GDP rose to 9.4% in 2006, from 5.5% in 2001, City-dominated London received 50% of total foreign investment. Per capita Gross Valued Added rose by between 8% and 9% over the last decade in London while, in all other regions of the UK, it stagnated or fell.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, and if you take out the hairdressers, restaurant workers, teachers and doctors, you're left with the people who can actually afford to live anywhere near London.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:36:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By "the Met," do you mean the cops?  If so, add that to my list of people to take out.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:42:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not terribly sympathetic, but obviously not everybody down at the Wharf or in the City is apart of the criminally insane peddler culture (just most of them).

I have more sympathy for the neighborhood financial planner-types, whose jobs actually involve working for normal people, than I do for the ones on the trading floors.

And, yes, GBP45k is a lot of money.  Hell, that's an entry-level salary of more than most people will ever see.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:33:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they were part of a scam?  

Like the Enron critters, many of these people had large portions of their savings in Lehman shares.

I mean, you don't shit where you eat, and--more to the point--you don't eat where you shit.  

Much learning to occur in the next few months!  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:19:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just now wondering what fraction of the "bonus packages" was deferred compensation in the form of Lehman shares...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like working for the Mafia!  

Maybe worse.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:35:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if you're buying and selling worthless junk then you're at least a willing footsoldier in the mob.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada.com: Bankruptcy filing leaves Lehman Brothers employees confused, angry (September 15, 2008)
They said they had each lost about $50,000 in cash they had invested in Lehman's now nearly worthless stock.

"I'm young enough to bounce back," Ruiz-Mata said optimistically.

"Who I really feel for are the people who've been with the company for many, many years, and who've been getting paid much of their compensation in stock. Those folks face losing fortunes."

Again, just like the Enron critters

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 09:08:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like the Enron critters, many of these people had large portions of their savings in Lehman shares.

Somebody forgot to tell those unfortunates that working many years for one company and having one's life savings in the company's stock is probably not a good diversification strategy.

Well, none of them could have anticipated that the company would go under. After all, they only worked at an investment firm.

Getting laid off, and seeing your retirement money disappear on the same day: priceless.

 

by Ralph on Wed Sep 17th, 2008 at 09:51:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're exaggerating, especially with the use of "wages". Next you'll be saying they're cloth-cap?

But it's a sideshow compared to what I'm talking about above: the brutal destruction of the working lives and useful know-how of far more people over a much longer period. And of course when I attack the financial sector, it's the guys at the top I'm thinking of.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:33:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course when I attack the financial sector, it's the guys at the top I'm thinking of.
Not something that's clear in some other comments here ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your reaction to one comment by melo.

Compared to what I say in the story above, I don't understand this ardent defence of financial sector workers, sorry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, 5000 jobs is 5000 jobs, surely?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And this is what you and Colman have decided is the issue?

I can't offer a ready-made figure like that for the destruction caused, as I say above, by the return-on-capital requirements of the financial industry over the decades.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:10:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
exaggerating, especially with the use of "wages"

Huh?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:41:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many people working in the City call their earnings "wages"? Perhaps some of the cleaning and maintenance staff, but no one else.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, "salaries".

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:49:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point was Colman's use of "wages" which tends to "proletarize" the issue:

Wage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In labor and finance settings, a wage may be defined to include cash paid for some specified quantity (measured in units of time) of labor. Wages may be contrasted with salaries, with wages being paid at a wage rate (based on units of time worked) while salaries are paid periodically without reference to a specified number of hours worked.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:03:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I object to the use of "proletarians" to describe most Lehman employees, but are we hailing the destruction of the middle class, here?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry? The destruction of the middle class because a bank goes bust? They've been destroying the middle class for decades. That's what matters.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's true.

The point is that it appears because these 5000 people are not proletarians it's okay that they're losing their jobs.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not all jobs are equally valuable. Some are toxic and destructive.

Personally I'll be happy to see more of the latter go, because if they don't, there will be even more poverty and wealth destruction happening elsewhere regardless.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. Fuck the clerical staff, the IT folks, and all the service jobs that depend on the banks. All just parasites, the world will be better off if they suffer. We could say the same of course of the coal miners, the SUV makers, etc - right?

The big difference between I-banking and most everything else is that the employees get a pretty huge chunk of their value-added. You've got enterprises with relatively low numbers of employees and huge revenues. Add in a highly competitive hiring market and relative ease of starting small new companies in good times and you get big bucks for the workers and a relatively flat salary structure. The only thing that approaches it is the high end legal market. Last I heard, about a year or two ago, going rate for the first salary out of law school was 165K plus bonus. Your typical partner makes about ten times that at most, the top handful of rainmakers maybe forty times. Contrast with the salary structure in most other sectors.

by MarekNYC on Wed Sep 17th, 2008 at 01:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why "it appears"?

According to Colman's "only meaningful definition", they are working-class or proletarian. I don't mind if one accepts that definition or not. I can see the point in talking about the salaried middle class (considering, with TBG, that the cleaners etc are working for subcontractors, are temps, etc).

But I haven't read anyone here arguing that because people are middle class it's OK they're losing their jobs. I feel no schadenfreude about this, there's nothing joyful in any of it that I can see.

What I disagree with is making this job loss the central point of what's happening. Or, put it this way, it could be discussed in a diary dedicated to it. I feel that what I'm writing about above over-reaches this issue in scope, and over time. What's important, in my view, is the damage done by the financial industry acting as a pump for a new-and-old money plutocracy, since the Thatcher-Reagan years.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:33:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
    melo
maybe we have been roved into a new awareness of modern propaganda, i'd like to think that's why the media is shifting to a new level and direction of criticism.
With even Faux Noise and Rove himself criticizing the McCain Campaign for their campaign of lies and distractions, with Rupert himself publicly telling Bill'O to get used to Olberman's criticisms, perhaps we are at an inflection point in public perception.  

Could it be that even Murdoch suspects that pirate capitalism has gone too far and that the carnage and the stench from dead and dying "financial sector" enterprises is poisoning the atmosphere of the entire Anglo world in which his own enterprises are based?  Can even he see the need to reposition the tone of his enterprise to better fit new realities?

We can hope so.  Why else would his presenters be actively undermining memes of the McPalin campaign?  Perhaps he just doesn't want his news organization to be the last dog barking at a phantom.  Perhaps he it trying to tell that campaign that it is time for something new, that their inanity is becoming embarrassing even to him.  Time will tell. But it has to be unsettling to that campaign.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 10:16:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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