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A Load Of Bankers

Posted by | Posted in Finance | Posted on 16-09-2008

You’re not very highly trained in espionage, are you Will? Yeah, Will! Is that a kitten?

Well, well, well. Yesterday, as I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, Lehman Brothers Investment Bank filed for bankruptcy protection, as it’s basically gone broke. Naturally, being America-based, it has had repercussions all over the world. Quite why that is, I’ve no idea, but when America is doing something wrong, everyone else seems to suffer.

Lehman Bros is the second of the five major American banks to have gone bust this year, and with Merrill Lynch agreeing to be bought out by the Bank Of America, that basically leaves two major national banks in America. (You can get the latest updates on the BBC News website).

So what does it mean for us? Well, not a lot right away. Nobody has a Lehman current account, because the company was primarily an investment bank. So thankfully, we wont see a repeat performance of the Northern Rock fiasco, where thousands of pensioners queued for hours to withdraw their savings incase the bank went bust. Sure enough, it did, but ironically it happened because everyone withdrew their cash in one fell swoop. If everyone had left their money where it was, and not been brainwashed by the media hype into thinking it was the End Of Days, Northern Rock would probably still be here in the same way it has been for the last few years.

Which brings me to today’s gripe – the media. Dont get me wrong, the media can be very useful. Without the media there wouldn’t be endless YouTube videos dedicated to showing us the latest Bushism, nor would there be websites like MyDeathSpace that announce to the world when vast numbers of teenagers have commited themselves to the latest fashion-suicide craze.

But I have mixed opinions on the media as a whole. Aside form the fact that it gives the advertising industry a platform for their stranglehold on us (which I talked about yesterday) it also provides many people with news that they’d otherwise be completely unaware of. Whether or not people actually want to be exposed to such news is a matter of debate in itself.

Many of my elder family members often reminisce about the “good old days”, where (supposedly) there were fewer murders and rapes, fewer friends of the Pedo Bear, and the world was generally a much nicer place to be. But how true is that? In my opinion, it’s not as true as people think. I imagine that to some extent, modern (and dare I say it, American) culture has influenced the behaviour of the youth in a negative way, but not by as much as people think. Personally, I’m of the opinion that things only seem a lot worse than they used to be because of the modern media. Inventions such as the radio, television, and most recently the internet, mean that many more people have got access to much more news than they used to have. So it’s not that the world is a much nastier place to live than it used to be, it’s just that the information about our nasty little planet is far easier to get hold of.

So is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, both. Some people are happy to bury their heads in the sand, and dont want to hear of the latest actor to take an overdose of sleeping pills due to the “stresses” of being rich and famous. Nor do they want to see images of 10-year old children being used as walking bombs in Iraq. But there are some people who need to see these things. There are people in the world who have the drive and determination to do something about it, and when they see what’s really happening in the world, they can make a difference.

With the introduction of all of these new-fangled “Web 2.0” websites like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and especially Digg, everyone and their dog can become “the media”, using their phones to record goings on in dark alleys, or creating free blogs to tell the world all about their latest footy results. For the most part, these things are trivial and nobody would even notice, but having access to websites such as these just increases the number of channels that the real news stories can be seen on.

Is it better to sugar-coat things, and not have the ability for everyday folk to report everyday things? I dont think so. But, just has been the truth since the first printed newspaper was introduced back in the 1800’s, people need to be careful about what they see and hear. Nearly everyone has an angle, and you can never be completely sure that what you’re reading is unbiased. So for me, the jury’s still out as to whether the media are generally good or bad.

UPDATE: I almost forgot – sorry to those who might have been listening (or trying to listen) to UKTA Radio yesterday. They had a slight lapse in that nobody could play. So there might be an episode of tunage later on in the week, but if not, they should be back this coming Monday.

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