I'm glad I didn't have to pay for my University education. If I had, i would have asked for my money back. I usually refer to my degree BA Hons 2.1 from Exeter University as Economics and Politics. That's technically mis-representation. It was @Economic and Political development since 1800'. It was my way of doing modern history...all the modern history degrees started in about 1500. Not very modern, even in 1980.
One of the topics I studied was politics in the Soviet Union. We used to indulge in that popular past time of Kremlin watching...when the Politburo came out on the balcony to wave the massed ranks of the army past on May Day, we would decide the pecking order on where people stood...and where they had stood the previous year. It was nonsense of course, although every Soviet watcher did the same. The truth is, it was pretty chilly on the balcony, so any one with any common sense would linger at the back, and away from the side the wind was blowing... not long after I left, the Soviet Union collapsed and three years of hard graft in the student union was wasted.
Wednesday mornings at 9.00 were the economics lecture. Unlike many of my colleagues, I chose to go, and rarely fell asleep, although they really were quite tedious. I always tried to sit next to Jane (I think that was her name), who had been a runner up in the Miss England contest the year before we started. When I wasn't being distracted, I learnt all about basic economics. One of the things I did learn was that it is a basic principle of capitalism that super-profits are not sustainable within a competitive capitalist market place. The reason being a simple one. If you are making super-profits (because, for example you've developed a new service or product), sooner rather than later some one else will enter the marketplace. And when they enter the market, supply will go up, driving down the price. Now I do understand that we don't operate in a perfect capitalist market, and tools such as 'branding' have enabled some businesses - such as Apple or BMW to maintain high prices for their products. But, and here is the point that I've been getting to if we look at the financial markets, they should be operating a pretty pure version of capitalism...at least that's what they themselves claim. Finance has always been profitable, but the super-profits earned since Maggie Thatcher's Big Bang should by now have died away. Some might argue they have, but when they continue to give salaries the size of a third-world country's national debt, I would dispute this. Vociferously. And whilst Georgie Porgy Osbourne has traipsed off to Europe to beg that bankers be allowed to keep their eye-watering bonuses, the rest of us should be turning round to say that simply and bluntly the system is bust. Not just cracked, but completely and absolutely, totally broken.
Perhaps the man from Eton and Oxford is not the best person to recognise that the system which has given him and his cronies so much needs to change. Radically.
Hear endeth the lesson.
P.S. Do you like this...first picture taken from one angle, and then I moved so you could see what it really looks like. Big Brother?