This week provided plenty of laughs for those of us baffled, bemused and bored by the general public and big media’s approach to capitalism.
The cause of all the fuss were bank earnings, which in the UK has become a political football.
Commentators didn’t know whether to be pleased UK banks were making money, or annoyed that bankers hadn’t been lined up against the wall.
What made it even more complicated is that the greedy capitalists who own much of two of the biggest banks – Lloyds and RBS – are everyday UK taxpayers!
For my part, I’ve followed this crisis since the very early days of Monevator, when I went to see a run on Northern Rock.
I believed I was witnessing history in the making. Little did I know how right that would prove, as this canary in the former goldmine signaled the beginning of the credit crisis, at least from a UK perspective.
Bankers had to pay for causing the crisis. Many of the top bosses have, and indeed some of the big banks have gone bust or been swallowed up, too. The media seems to forget this when it sees the profits of those banks left standing.
When I see HSBC or Standard Chartered making a killing in Asia, as they reported this week, I’m not just happy because I hold shares in both banks. I’m also happy because it shows light at the end of the tunnel.
And when I see Lloyds seemingly getting to grips with its crazy HBOS acquisition, I’m not just happy because I bought Lloyds a few weeks ago and it’s up over 30% (touchwood!) I’m also happy because it shows the UK taxpayer is likely to turn a profit on this and even basket case RBS, and we all know the nation’s coffers are running empty.
What would the naysayers like to see: a return to the End of the World hysteria that sent shares surging and collapsing with every headline?
I suppose it sold more newspapers and made for good television. It also made for a good investment opportunity. But it’s no way to run an economy.
Personally, I long for the days when the mainstream media has forgotten about quantitative easing (which I think is working, incidentally) and banker bonuses.
For a start, it would leave the field open for me to be in the minority again when moaning about City bonuses; they are the one area of the financial system where I do think we need to see further change.
Bankers have previously made much of their money simply skimming the milk, irrespective of the risks that have attracted so much attention. The smarter ones have created opaque financial products when they might have been curing cancer or inventing space flight.
More importantly, the next time the media will take so much interest in the stock markets is at the top of a bull market. Which would be nice.
This week’s money blog post round-up
- Moneywatch explains how to get £60 off a new iPhone.
- Oblivious Investor looks at whether your own home provides sufficient exposure to property.
- Beware formulas, says the Behavior Gap blog.
- Len Penzo explores the good, the bad and the ugly take of several common financial decisions.
- What Wealth Pilgrim learned about money from Yoda!
- Saving To Invest believes the U.S. downturn may be ending.
- Trent at The Simple Dollar calculates passion by the hour. (No, he hasn’t turned to providing ‘exotic services’!)
A few mainly UK-focused articles from the big boys
- Governments won’t be able to inflate away their debt, says UBS (FT Alphaville).
- Start looking for the next bubble to be fueled by all this easy money (Wall Street Journal).
- The number of people buying supermarket branded goods has trebled due to the recession (The Independent).
- The Motley Fool has done some number crunching to help you see if your pension will outlive your retirement.
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