20 Aug 2011, 1:11pm
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  • Doom ahoy, Goldman Sachs is boracic lint

    Crikey, it must be bad. Goldman Sachs is cutting back on the pot plants because they cost too much. It’ll be the lattes and the red braces (suspenders to our American friends) next.

    It tickled me. These sort of spurious cutting back edicts from on high are commonplace in normal wage slavery. I’ve had senior managers throw hissy fits about the amount we were spending on paperclips, telephone conference calls, travel, coffee and biscuits at meetings, and claiming for sandwiches while on the road.

    Some even try and get us to book cheap day returns to London for afternoon meetings. With those tickets you can’t return 4:30 to 7pm. I don’t mind hanging around till 7pm to come back, but only if the Firm pays for the beer. They just won’t do that, even though the difference in ticket price is £30 and I can’t drink £30 worth of beer in two hours. No beer, well, they can pay the £80 for the ticket then 🙂

    That sort of penny pinching is just part of life normal business. It always pays to tart up your CV when they start rationing paperclips, however in the rarefied atmosphere of the City image is all. I didn’t think that the Great Vampire Squid would fall victim to cost-cutting tokenism. Surely they could do something slightly shady in some forgotten corner of the world and get funding for the next 100 years of pot plants? Is the spark of human ingenuity waning as GS?  Suddenly you’ll turn round and there will be hobos in pinstripe suits in the City.

    * why boracic lint for non-Londoners here 🙂

    Heck, you need some gallows humour these days, and knowing that even Lloyd Blanfein’s ambition stops at putting foliage on evey GS desk is it for me. Bond markets are signalling a Japanese lost decade for the West, farmland is the new gold, and talking of the barbarous relic everybody’s buying. Oh and it looks like Mr Market is feeling depressed 🙂 Meanwhile, over in Euroland there seems to be a deathwish of exploring every single bad idea under the sun. Apart from that everything’s shipshape…

    And the vampire squid is feeling the squeeze. We’re done for…

    For all that, there is something that made me think of this record

    In many fields of human endeavour, when things are going wrong, people gradually surrender as the bad news keeps coming. This seems to be happening continually at the moment. There are very serious things wrong with Western capitalism, and every day seems to bring more of the litany of bad news. Too many of our structures have failed us under the loads we added to them.

    However, as the lady says, the finest hour is the one that comes between the edge of night and the break of day. Humans are often indolent, and only when enough has fallen away will enough people recognise the fact. Most people live lives of quiet desperation, the actual movers and shakers of life are few and far between. So even more has to fall away before enough people are galvanised to change direction, and a turning point is caused.

    There is still a long way to go to reach the low-water mark IMO, and Britain will be a much poorer place before that is reached. However, though I’ve taken the piss out of GS in this piece, there’s also something good about it. Some part of me wonders if this trivial example of Goldman Sach failing to keep up the image is the distant hoot of the owl signalling that there are forces starting to stir that may starting to arrest the fall, and curb some of the excesses that led us astray. It’s an ill wind…

     
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