Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More thoughts from Canary Wharf

click photo to enlarge
It's a platitude that the current financial meltdown flows from greed and short-termism. But, the poor oversight of those who run our banks and other financial institutions is a significant factor too. Directors, auditors, regulatory bodies and governments are all culpable. However, it seems to me that an unshakable belief in the free-market, and an ideological trust in its ability to correct itself are also to blame. It's been said by wiser people than me that the free market will always self-correct but the price of those corrections is too high, and it falls disproportionately on the little people. Recent events have proved this to be very true.

So, when (if?) we get out of this period of instability can we hope to see governments re-assuming some of the responsibilities that they abdicated in recent years? That the financial "masters of the universe" asked for, and got, "light touch regulation" and "self-regulation" was always, to those of my way of thinking, scandalous. To see politicians of the right agreeing to this was fairly unremarkable. But that supposed left-leaning governments should go along with it, and accede to further "freedoms", was unforgivable. Now, however, the very organisations that saw the state as an interference, nationalised bodies as inefficient, and politicians as irrelevant to their pursuit of lucre, have the begging bowls extended for government hand-outs, and politicians have re-discovered the virtues of national control and even (whisper it quietly for they don't want to acknowledge it) nationalisation.

It's a matter of regret that the Labour government of the UK has been forced into state intervention by circumstances rather than political conviction. Is it too much to hope that, having got a taste for it, and seeing at first hand the benefits that can ensue, it might look at other disfunctional areas of the economy, such as the supply of energy, water, public transport and telecommunications, and conclude that it can do a better job than the private sector?

Today's photograph was taken on the same walk as yesterday's shot. The street lights along the Thames-side path offered some interesting shapes to silhouette against the distant, fog-shrouded towers of Canary Wharf.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 53mm (106mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/2500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On