Tag Archives: cover-up

Detroit – still a ghost city (Zombieland) from the financial crisis?


The cover photo shows Highland Park Community College, in 1985 and 2012. It closed in 2009 because of financial reasons.

With photos like this of Detroit so easy to find, how can America still dictate terms to other countries, spending billions on wars it cannot afford when at home there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people and many still suffering from the GFC?

It is unconscionable conduct from supposedly the leader of the free world, when in fact it only leads in hypocrisy.

Take care of your own first, then if you have money to spare spend it in other areas. But until every American has a home you have no right to spend so much on defence, or as it should correctly be called, warmongering.

Corruption exists where power exists


To say otherwise is naivety in the extreme.

Of course there are people who refuse to give in and shine like beacons, but unfortunately they are far too few.

If you want something done, and have enough money, then it is done. Simple.

Why are we so surprised when corruption is ‘uncovered’? Banking Royal Commissions, investigations into top legal firms, political donations, misuse of public money, misuse of public credit cards…it is announced in the news almost daily yet the shock value never gets old.

Perhaps it is because we want, so desperately, to believe that we have the same chance as the very rich in life, that we can get by on our merit alone. Some indeed can, and do, but it is more because of luck and timing than their good intentions.

Corruption is everywhere, at every level of our society. Fortunately it is nowhere near as bad as other countries, such as India or China, but it is there. Just below the surface, ready to emerge for the right amount of money or power.

So why are we surprised when it is exposed? Is it just jealousy that we do not have the money required to bribe someone and make our own lives easier? Possibly.

Or possibly it is because we, the un-rich, cling to this notion of a Fair Go. We struggle so much, through so much and somehow over so much in life we simply cannot stand the thought of someone using a chequebook to accomplish what it takes a pound of flesh for us to do the same.

So when it is revealed as being so easy for others, just the stroke of a pen, we recoil in horror once again. Even though we all hear stories, sometimes witness it firsthand, we strive to believe people are good.

Unfortunately all are not, and the wealthier they are the more they can ‘accomplish’.

Why is life so much easier when you have a lot of money? When you answer that question truthfully you will realise why it should not shock you anymore.

The Decaying Morality of Big Business in Australia


Once upon a time…yes I am using a fairytale opening, because big business and morals in this country has now become a fairytale concept.

With the Royal Commission into Banks, who would be naive enough to think that all the other big publicly listed businesses actually do the right thing?

Why would they?

Their advertising says that you, the customer, are the most important thing to them when in fact it is hitting targets to gain bonuses. They couldn’t care less how they achieve their bonuses just as long as they receive them.

When was the last time you heard of a major Australian public company contributing to a crowdfunding campaign for someone in desperate need? I cannot remember one.

Small businesses have, however, and enjoy a far better image as a result.

The four major banks should have an ‘Humanitarian Budget’ which is allocated to the worthiest causes as judged by senior, or even middle management (remember them?). They can, and should, by any moral or ethical argument put some of the Billions of dollars in profit they make each year towards dozens, perhaps hundreds, of worthy causes. Their bottom line would barely be affected.

The one stupid, contrary argument (and unfortunately it is law) is that as publicly listed companies they must put shareholders interests first. In other words they must maximise shareholders’ dividend payments.

As mentioned they could easily give away $10M each and split it up into hundreds of worthy causes. However their shareholders would rightly ask “Hey, by law you have to put us first and by giving that money away I got $10 less in dividend income!”

With the law on their side unfortunately it is a circular argument, a Catch 22.

As long as that law remains as it stands, profits will always be put before helping people where public companies are concerned. Perhaps a ‘tweaking’ of the law is required?

Many large private companies (but still too few) are well known for their generosity. I argue it is because they decide what to spend their profits on, not a horde of needy shareholders.

At this stage I must put my own hand up, and reveal that I have owned shares and as a shareholder I lived for those dividends. Yes, I am two faced but at least I admit it and am ready to discuss badly needed change.

The big four banks might point to a number of charitable donations, but they seem to only contribute if they can place a huge logo on it, in order to achieve a return on investment for their marketing dollars. Yes, they call helping people in need “Marketing”.

Westpac used to have a lovely rescue helicopter flying around but only because it was saturated with their logo. Then they did some analysis and ROI (return on investment) calculations and ceased funding this rescue helicopter. Not because they couldn’t afford it, but because they need to put shareholders first followed closely by their bonuses (or is it the other way around?).

Putting bonuses ahead of helping people is disgusting and definitely unAustralian. Which is ironic because had they helped more families they would have received more favourable media coverage and may not be facing a damaging Royal Commission right now. It would definitely would change our perception of them.

But there is one final problem, and this is the biggest and by far the most difficult to understand. Almost everyone hates the big four banks, and will complain about them ad nauseum but they will not close their accounts and take their business elsewhere! The big four easily have 85% of the total market, so there is no incentive on them, at all, to change their ways. In fact it encourages them to behave badly because their customers do not leave them.

So, in the end, it is your own apathy and unwillingness to follow through on your complaints that makes them so comfortable. It also creates the perfect environment for corruption, because they know that no matter what they do their customers, by and large, will stay with them. So up go fees, down goes quality of service and contributing to the community.

Well done Australians, you reep what you sow.

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