It can’t have escaped your notice, but there are quite a few large banks in a bit of bother at the moment, and quite a lot of headless chickens running around shouting, “Don’t panic!” I have moments where I just think they should let them fall; after all, it’s the capitalist economy everyone is so fond of – if things don’t work, they should be left to fail. But then I’m not actually one for believing in capitalism. Maybe that’s for another post.
What does interest me, is looking at who is playing Old Man Potter.
If you haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life go watch it now, I’ll wait; Old Man Potter is a local businessman who is motivated by money and a desire to run Bedford Falls. When there is a run on the bank, and on the Buildings and Loan Company, it’s Old Man Potter who starts buying while everyone else is selling, thus giving him huge sway over everything when it calms down.
The credit crunch is much like the run on the bank, and just like It’s a Wonderful Life, there are people selling while Mr Potter’s buying. At the moment I think it’s Barclays who are doing the best impression of Potter, buying just the nice bits of Lehman Brothers, and not making too much of a fuss about it. Lloyds (The Stupid Bank) are running a close second, merging with HBOS.
But as they are somewhat being forced into it by government– it isn’t quite as good.
I think when the dust settles, there will be a nice big Barclays while the rest pick over the scraps that not everyone is sure they want. Not that I understand economics, or think this is any way to run a planet, but it’s a bit interesting, for now.