Wednesday, October 29, 2008

As we all know only too well, the world’s banks started moving into the far riskier business of securities after they were deregulated in the early 90s. It turns out there was at least one observer capable of looking back to a similar development in the late 1920’s and highlighting the likelihood of a similar result. This was Professor Richard Dale, who wrote a book entitled “International Banking Deregulation: The Great Banking Experiment”. If all goes well, you can read more about it here. As you’ll have guessed, it wasn’t well received at the time. And was then roundly ignored.

Here in Spain, the banking industry is calling for secrecy as to which of its members gets liquidity assistance from the government. This would be unique in Europe and Brussels is yet to pronounce on whether or not it would be illegal. But El Mundo, at least, regards lack of transparency as unconscionable. It certainly wouldn’t do much to stifle suspicions there’s something nasty in the Spanish woodshed.

Talking to my visitor about Spanish attitudes to risk, I said they were, on balance, saner than those of the UK. But I added that my impression was the Spanish equated a low risk with a nil risk, regardless of the consequence of it materialising. And I evidenced this by the very high percentage of cars on Pontevedra’s hills which don’t have their wheels turned into the kerb. Sad to relate, this was rather confirmed by the report in today’s papers of a woman being killed by a runaway empty car at the bottom of a hill in a nearby village. Perhaps this will lead to a change of attitude. And perhaps it won’t.

Following-up my bit on bullfighting the other day – The Spanish TV station which normally shows live corridas says it won’t be doing so next year. The excuse given is budgetary constraints, with the hint that childrens’ TV will be getting the benefit. And perhaps the blame. Though the Spanish, of course, love kids far more than they love bullfighting.


The world, as I say, may be collapsing about us but a meeting of a committee of the Galician parliament broke up yesterday after the opposition party walked out when one of its members was expelled for refusing to use ‘Galiza’ in place of Galicia. During the proceedings, someone called someone else ‘mosquito brain’ but I can’t be bothered to find out who and whom.

It’s a truly ill wind that blows no good and, of course, the recession is making it easier to find certain kinds of worker here in Galicia. For the record, these include carpenters, cooks, panel-beaters, lifeguards, rubbish collectors, delivery-men and masons. There must be a joke in there somewhere but I can’t find it.

Finally . . . I continue to be dogged by an electronics/IT jinx. My new laptop has a graphics card fault and, so far, I've had to make three trips to the shop just to try to get the driver fixed/updated. Or something like that. This is essentially because of two well-meant but unfulfilled ‘promises’. It’s that old customer service complaint again. And that old Spanish custom of not regarding time as important. Or the customer’s anyway.

1 comment:

Keefieboy said...

Risk: I think the UK is totally barmy about it, with all the Elfin Safety stuff. And Spain is just the opposite. For about the last week, four guys have been stripping tiles from the roof of a seven storey building on the edge of our square. They all wear safety harnesses. A couple of them wear hard hats. But none of the harnesses are connected to anything, and none of the hard hats have their chin straps fastened.

I can hardly bear to watch.