Page last updated at 00:03 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

City Diaries: Your comments 25 Nov

Man looking at a falling graph

BBC News website readers have been sending us their comments on the latest City Diaries . In the most recent instalment, our diarists discuss the sell-off of Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiaries, the UK and US policies on banking bail-outs and the real meaning of economic growth.

Here is a selection of your comments.

GENERAL COMMENTS

I think all your diarists are voicing the concerns of much of the UK. Stephen - I like the poetry/maths comparison, and totally agree. However, BBC News is very keen to highlight "poor" growth if the monthly/annual figures don't follow the trend. Is the media causing this hunger for increasing growth, or is it just repeating the opinion of the Square Mile? Does the amount of money changing hands give the City a larger voice?
Chris Threlfall, Bolton

These diaries continue to put the political ineptitude and finger-crossing of the Bank of England into perspective. A fair mix of some well-developed viewpoints.
Dane Aubrun, Brighton

What a pity "Laura" feels free to opinionate with such a lack of the basic facts and implications. Why slate RBS and two "unnamed ones" - does she work for one of them? Pity the grasp of distribution channel management and branding has also eluded her.
Andrew Pringle, Tadworth, Surrey

Bankers need to be reminded why they are experiencing record performance

I am in complete agreement with Stephen. Why don't we try it, just for a while, and see how it feels: stabilise, re-appraise, support and re-distribute as necessary and push for quality of experience not number collecting. If we don't like it we can always go back to boom and bust.

Anthony, bankers need to be reminded at every turn why they are fortunate enough to be experiencing record performance, here's a hint: it's not due to their utter brilliance. Let's hope it starts to be reflected in the lives of us mere mortals.
Peter Thompson, Sevenoaks

I think we need more clarity on the "too big to fail" argument. CIT Group and Northern Rock are very different beasts. Northern Rock takes consumer deposits, CIT is a lender to businesses which sources its funds from the market. Some commercial banks are too big to fail in that their affairs are so complex that the impact of failure on the broader economy is hard to assess and potentially major. Lehman could be said to fall into this category but CIT cannot. Northern Rock is different, letting it go would have caused retail depositors to lose their money. If the general public does not feel that its money is safe in the bank the economic impact would be disastrous. What is really needed is a better depositor protection scheme.
Alex Morey, London

COMMENTS ON ECONOMIC GROWTH

Stephen, you're bang on the money. The West strives for GDP growth, a metric that has absolutely no bearing in the real world. The only real growth comes from increased output of primary industries - greater food harvested, increased electricity generation, more minerals mined - not from an increase in a self-fulfilling service such as banking.
Ian, Cambridgeshire

The comments of "Stephen" go 90% of the way to explaining how the boom bust cycle is just going to continue revolving. However, I think the government (of whatever colour) needs to be more honest about figures. A country with a chronically large balance of trade deficit and ever increasing growth is in debt metastasis. The public knows this, so why do politicians behave like we do not? Consumerism of cheap imported goods is not a long term solution.
Nick, Ashford

At last someone from the City is prepared to have a go at the sacred cow of "growth"

Well done Stephen. At last someone from the City is prepared to have a go at the sacred cow of "growth". Conventional economics has failed us. We have to level out the playing field between the haves and have-nots of the world for all our sakes.
Janet, Chippenham

I think Stephen misses a crucial point. Northern Rock couldn't be allowed to fail as that would have created a massive run on all retail banks and the fallout is beyond imagination. Lehman Brothers could be allowed to fail because the losses did not directly hit retail customers.
Anon, Birmingham

Like Stephen, I also have concerns about our obsession with economic growth. However, I hope that he does not believe it would be better if we had millions of starving people in the UK, desperate for subsistence. Also, I believe the depression here in the UK was much less serious than in the US and Germany, where many people did experience starvation, so I am not sure that is a particularly good example.
Michael, London

Stephen's comment that "life is poetry" not mathematics is very true. People have lost sight of what makes them happy. Having money or buying a house you can't really afford certainly won't do it. It is successful relationships that improve happiness rather than having money and if we, as a society, could realize that, we might go some way to fixing "broken Britain".
Andrew Edgington, Stowmarket

The idea of perpetual growth has always seems silly and unobtainable to me. I have a simple financial policy, if I don't have the money, I can't afford it! I save until I can afford it and then get it. As a result I have never been in debt. It's simple but effective. It appears to me that the modern world of banking is far from simple and uses smoke and mirrors to disguise what is in effect a financial system based on lies and deceit.
Stuart Moore, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall



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