If something looks too good to be true, it is. If someone tells you they can conjure money from thin air, they're lying. The City of London has been both too good to be true and seemingly magically producing money for several decades, and following the latest round of revelations about bankers' slavering greed, the game, I hope, is about to be up.
With bankers' bonus season in full swing, and thanks to relatively recent European rules, we at least get to see exactly the sort of pay deals being awarded to the top bankers in the City. RBS chief executive Stephen Hester's bonus, which he eventually turned down following public outrage, will be followed by a series of other bonus announcements in the coming weeks.
Everything in moderation, isn't that how the saying goes? If a week can be summarised by its headlines, this week it was everything in moderation except bonuses and fast-food. The remuneration packages offered to Britain's fat cats are hardly a new topic of contention, but RBS chief executive Stephen Hester has become something of a poster child for the subject, making the announcement of his annual bonus a must-debate topic whichever side of the argument you fall and a juicy bone for our politicians to fight over.
In these tough economic times we need to convince the wealthy that they have a responsibility to give. This country is seeing a growing divide where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The professors I meet don't earn as much as a banker's secretary and yet they are passionate, committed and totally immersed in their journey of discovery. I want to change the rich's mentality toward philanthropy so that they give more. Perhaps new models of giving such as venture philanthropy are a way of convincing the wealthy to give more.
The picture would be quite different if the top 1% were our country's doctors and teachers. A study by the New Economics Foundation has shown that leading city bankers, with incomes of £500,000 or more, destroy £7 of social value for every £1 they earn. By comparison, hospital cleaners generate £10 of social value for every £1 they earn.
Thousands of students and activists marched through London on Wednesday in protest at rising tuition fees, with no repeat of the violence that marred ...