Ahh, money!

Lovely money.  Lolly, bunce, spondulicks, quids, bucks…

As many names for it as the Eskimos are said to have for snow or, to lower the tone, slang words we use for our own human sexual organs.

And for the same reasons.

They’re all things that are really important (yes, them too).

But money’s different from the others in one critical respect.

As the song from the musical Cabaret has it

Money makes the world go round

It makes the world go round.

It’s literally the currency that keeps the economy of the world moving.

We all like it and studies have shown that whatever we’re paid most people would like a bit more, roughly 10% more in fact, that being the amount people tend to think they’re underpaid for the work they do.

Most of us provide a product or service for that work.

Those products or services are incredibly diverse – from potatoes in umpteen different varieties, through fast food, vehicles as different as Mini Coopers, Rolls Royces and JCB diggers, to physiotherapy, dentistry…you get the point.

But there’s one trade where the product is money itself – banking.

And I think that’s one of the many problems with banking.

The product – money – they deal in is also the product they (the bankers) pay themselves.  How easy it is to cream off a bit more of the vast sums of money flowing through the system, a slightly higher commission here, a bit more bonus there.  No-one will notice, surely?

It’s not like that for anyone else.

If you work on an assembly line of the company that makes Mini Coopers, or even manage it, you don’t want to be paid in cars, you don’t want your bonus to be half-a-Mini this year, 65%-of-a-Mini next year if profits go up.

If you flip burgers for a living you certainly don’t want to be confronted with 120 meal deals at the end of the month with your pay slip.

(Gratuitous old joke – Q: What do you say to a graduate of XYZ [insert your favourite] University?  A: Big Mac and fries, please)

So just as we have to put up with being paid in their product – money – I propose that bankers should be paid in units of the products and services we produce.  After all, each of those products and services has a market value.

I wouldn’t be too mean about it.  I’d let them choose the product or service they want to receive their remuneration in.  Having determined an employee’s salary and bonus the bank would then transfer to the individual that amount by value of the product/service concerned.

You can imagine the scene on the trading floor of the casinos that pass for investment banks.

‘Yay! That deal with the Kazakhstan derivatives went through.’

‘OK, what did you get?’

‘Two IKEA kitchens.  Woot!  Woot!’

‘Big deal.  The scam with the Mexican trade got me 50k.’

‘50k?’

‘Yes, 50k pairs of M&S briefs.’

[Silence]

‘Er, swap you a cupboard for 500 pairs of knickers?’

And so on…

The system would also have the merit that it would be more difficult to cream off that little extra of the product (money) we give them to invest for us.

Wealth adviser (sic) to client – ‘Um, our commission’s gone up this quarter.  That’ll be another £350.’

Client – ‘That’s fine.  How do you want it? Eighty-five sacks of potatoes or two-thirds of my ride-on mower?’

I think this could be a goer.

Brilliant idea ©HelpGov 2012

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