Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A Modest Proposal

James Kwak asks 'Why do Harvard graduates go to Wall St? He says it's because they are easily led ('....very intelligent recruitment programs...'), are blinkered about the world and - if you're very academically bright - it is allegedly easier than getting a job in the public services using similar skills.

Do you know, I'd almost rather they went for the money pure and simple than because of a lack of imagination and an lack of moral fibre. Because that's what he's saying it is. These clever kids become bankers because they're only used to doing stuff which tells them they're clever kids. Trying to relate to the world in any other way is too frightening. Only then, says Kwak, once in the belly of the beast, do they get hooked on the money.

I never thought I'd say this, but it is almost an argument for compulsory (non military) national service. Let's help these poor, emotionally stunted young people grow as human beings. Let's make them do two years in, say, a pig farm or a sewage works before they go off to make their millions. Let's give them the equivalent of that metaphorical wartime foxhole which so many of the officer class had to share with the hoi polloi of the other ranks - and which made them better people for it.

Meanwhile, let's send the under-achieving graduates of Bash St Comprehensive off to Wall St and the City and their 'imaginative recruitment programs'.

I can imagine that our pig farms and sewage works might register a notable efficiency gain. & I'm absolutely bloody certain that the management of our financial markets would.

1 comment:

  1. "These clever kids become bankers because they're only used to doing stuff which tells them they're clever kids."

    Great spot, Charlie. Very insightful article, and I don't doubt absolutely accurate.

    Kids are easily led. It's a defining characteristic of kids. That's why your non-military national service idea is a good one. You go in a kid, and you come out a sadder, wiser, but more adult, adult.

    Of course you've have to fund it properly, and there's no chance of Cameron doing that (I think it's one of his policies?)