Today once more the news reached us that bankers wilfully exploited complex constructions to steal form the collective. I feel anger about this which motivated me to understand at least those two points:
- The driving principles behind it.
- How this is possible today.
The principles are simple. Selfish behaviour is a given natural trait. If I do not have my intake I die. Eat or die. Take or perish. It is the first principle.
This primal survival program is moderated by an almost equally powerful pattern: The need need to fit into our tribe. Within the boundaries of the in-group certain habits rule. Because ‘we all’ behave in that certain way, it appears normal and ok. They are not consciously designed, nor explicitly stated. But if you break or openly disobey these unwritten rules, you will be certainly cast out.
Here also the first sins appear: If it goes by unnoticed, nobody objects unfair advantage. We are not totally honest by nature. The first selfish principle trumps over the social one. Research and game experiments have proven this beyond doubt. Honesty is situational.
The dynamics between those very fundamental natural human traits define the very root of the bankers behaviour and are not limited to those people. We all have it.
The banking world is by nature a exploitation scheme, that is not new. And only quantitively different from other transactional institutions. So summarising, other than the scale, there is nothing new or different in what banks do. It is basically business as usual. It ‘only’ grew out of proportion because no effective natural or cultural counterforce seems to exist.
So the anger I feel is simply the emotional realisation that some guys are robbing the tribe and hence threatening my safety and comfort.
The point is that their self serving natural trait does not get any push back from society.
So how is that possible? I now reason from the standpoint that a healthy society is defined by the total health of all parts of that society. All people are in their optimal state. Their needs and contributions are balanced and effectively translated to their responsibilities and assets. In a simple model it would be possible to know who owns what and what responsibilities to the larger community come from that.
Yet that is not the case in todays society. Secretive ownership enable many to escape their fair duty towards society at the cost of those who can or will not cheat that way. Even this is a simplifications. Good willing people are part of this practise too. Most of us experience little choice about the use of their savings in the bank for example.
Risks and obligations are spread and hedged in such a way that at the end of the day it becomes impossible to discern who is accountable for what.
It is this vague and ambiguous domain that attracts the parasites, free riders en more deliberate profiteers that relentlessly exploit any possible weakness in the system.
The immune system of society needs updating.