What links Bob Diamond with Picasso you might ask – probably not very much unless he happens to own one; perhaps he does!
I was looking at an on-line piece of news that described the £6.5 million Mr Diamond has just received as his bonus for 2010; a little top-up for his £250,000 a year salary. I’m sure he feels that he earns it, but I cannot help but think of the excesses (not just his) within our society and imagine the greed of them and over-indulgences they probably create. So many people are counting pennies, some wondering where next week’s food will come from or how they will pay the rent, mortgage or utility bill that is outstanding. How have we grown a society of such financial inequality?
I was recently talking with a client who comes from a north-African country. He describes the level of corruption as being so objectionable within a system that has some super rich people whilst the vast majority remain exceedingly poor – a poverty he suggested that we can only understand if we have seen it first hand. In the UK people look disparagingly at such countries, scoffing sometimes at how aid and investment money gets diverted into the bank accounts of individuals.
When I read about bankers’ bonuses I wondered if we are becoming such a state. I am not suggesting that the people like Mr Diamond are in themselves corrupt, but what kind of system allows them to earn such sums. How can his individual annual pay be the same as 270 people earning £25,000? Only a corrupt one!
And where you might ask does Picasso come in? Well, the same on-line page had an item showing one of his paintings that is due to sell for £65 million – a mere ten times the amount of Mr Diamond’s bonus. Can there really be people prepared to pay so much for a piece of art, however rare and priceless it may be – I won’t pretend to be naïve, I know there are many people with that kind of wealth. After all Mr Diamond could buy it himself in ten years!