Saturday, March 20, 2010

Middlemen have been a problem throughout history

Dear Colleagues

Middlemen have been a problem since the beginning of time ... but the scale of the problem has escalated in the last couple of years to new heights. The behavior of money-lenders has been an issue since ancient times ... usury was regarded as a very bad thing ... and in Islam the idea of charging interest was banned completely. Modern banks do not seem to "get it" that the role of banks is a rather modest service in the economy and not in any way central to anything.

While modern banks have learned to "play games" so that they report profits, and in turn think that they deserve huge bonuses ... in reality most of the banking activities do almost nothing of value. Most of the work of a bank is ... at best ... a zero sum operation, which means that the profits of one bank are a loss in some other organization. In other words society is going nowhere courtesy of bank profits.

Sometimes a bank can "move the players around" in a corporate reorganization, or a merger or acquisition ... but in most cases the fees earned are high in relation to the underlying value adding that is going on. At best what is going on is that there is an ability to monetize value more easily ... but rarely is there much basic value adding.

I would like to debate bankers about value and profit ... in large part because I think it would show that the typical banker is not much in tune with the idea of value at all!

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

No comments:

Post a Comment