Bankers: too clever for their own good?

Posted by Paul Samael on Friday, December 7, 2012 Under: Writing fiction

My thanks (once again) to Bernard Fancher for his recent
review of my short story "The Hardest Word", which is about kidnapping a banker.  It's always interesting to get people's reactions and in this case it made me wonder if I had got the story a bit wrong by managing to generate a degree of sympathy for my banker character - despite not having set out to make him particularly sympathetic.  On the other hand, I plead guilty to having deliberately set out to endow him with certain admirable qualities - for example, he doesn't give in easily to pressure, he thinks strategically about his position and he makes rather a good job of defending himself against his accusers.  Maybe I allowed him to make too good a job of it, but I wanted to explore why smart, resourceful people like him have behaved the way they have - because with the benefit of hindsight, the way banks have behaved looks anything but smart.

I think that part of the problem is that the smartness and resourcefulness of people like him has been deployed in a very narrow, self-interested way.  Although regulators and politicians undoubtedly deserve some of the blame (as do consumers for taking on too much debt), banks are also to blame
precisely because were so very, very persuasive in convincing everyone that (i) they didn't really need regulating and (ii) it was fine for us to take on more and more debt.  

The problem with the story may be that my banker is so vigorous in his self-defence that I am in danger of allowing him to shift all blame away from the banks - which certainly wasn't my intention.  But I wanted to explore why people in his position don't seem to feel any need to apologise - and psychologically, I think that's largely down to their own ability to convince themselves that it wasn't their fault at all and others were to blame (which again, is an unfortunate product of their own smartness).  Anyway, even if I haven't quite got the balance right in the course of the story, what I hope readers go away with by the end is a sense that - even allowing for the fact that there's plenty of blame to go round - the banker's self-centred attitude is, as Bernard puts it, quite intolerable.


In : Writing fiction 

Tags: "bernard fancher" bankers "banking crisis" "the hardest word" 
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About Me

Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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