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Mike Marqusee on bankers, bonuses and brains

Tamar Shlaim21 October 2010

A great article by Mike Marqusee for the Hindu on entitlement and the banks' lack of accountability for the financial crisis:

At a fringe meeting at last month's Conservative party conference, one of the speakers began a defence of British bankers' bonuses (£7 billion this year) by observing that "When God gave out brains, he didn't give them all out equally, and so we have to live in an unequal society."...

Can he really believe that the distribution of wealth corresponds to the distribution of intelligence? Does he think that FTSE-100 chief executives—whose average reward last year was £3.2 million—are 741 times more intelligent than people living on a state pension and 277 more intelligent that those living on the minimum wage?

Probably not. In the end Fraser’s comment is another illustration of one of the very few constants in human history: the beneficiaries of the social hierarchy always believe they are where they are by right – whether derived from God, heredity, hard work or “brains”.

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