Saturday, 3 March 2012
BANKERS' BONUSES AND OTHER INCENTIVES by Eve Edwards
What did you say? Authors don't get windfalls? Crumbs - then I won't write. I have no incentive and will go elsewhere.
Of course, such a dialogue is absurd. I'm in writing to create the best book I can, touch as many readers' lives as I can and pay the bills if I can. I am sure even the best paid writer of us all, J K Rowling, was never motivated for a second when writing Harry Potter by the notion that she would become a billionaire and, in government speak, she has been a significant wealth creator for the UK economy.
I have been appalled at the debate about bonuses over the last month, not so much the numbers but the assumption that people won't do a good job unless paid a gazillion pounds for the privilege. If you accept the argument that bankers are an internationally traded commodity who will swim away to the highest paid position regardless, then what you get are top people whose personal bottom line is cash rather than anything more public spirited. We don't say the same for top scientists, surgeons or cabinet ministers; part of their reward is the prestige of their position and intrinsic interest of their task, but I'm beginning to sound a bit too much like Radio Four here; what I'm heading for with this blog post is history.
OK: money-grabbing and fanaticism both make bad motivations for holding important offices. That encourages me think better of our imperfect political system which offers very little in the way of financial incentives at the top and doesn't favour extremism.
I wonder if any of you have a favourite historical figure who rivals our modern bankers in their greed? Or could suggest someone who was at the top for all the right reasons?
Posted by Julia at 06:00