Friday, 23 September 2011


Kweku Adoboli is remanded in custody on charges of false accounting and fraud, based on allegations that he abused his position as a City of London (51 degrees North, 0 degrees East) market trader,  causing losses to his employers, UBS, a large Swiss bank. 

A taxi man in Derry (54 degrees North, 7 degrees West) says he cannot afford a local holiday. He is not saving money against Christmas expenses, as he has in past years. He works long hours on low pay and he is bust.

Meanwhile Kweku Adoboli, UBS and casino capitalists across the world go boom! boom! boom!

Scilla, in Caryl Churchill's magnificent play, 'Serious Money' says

You can buy or sell money, 
you can buy and sell the absence of money, 
debt, which used to strike me as funny.
For some it's hedging, for most it's speculation.

It could be Kweku Adoboli speaking. UBS experienced a US$2 billion trading loss as a result of his achievements, which are no more than logical developments of his day job. They give the lie to the oft-quoted assertion delivered by government spokespersons and financial media commentators that 'there is no money' or 'the money just isn't there.' 

Money, serious money,  is obviously somewhere. If Kweku Adoboli can access it, why can't the citizens of Greece? Or Portugal? Or Ireland, including Derry Taxi Man?

Gleason, the Westminster Cabinet Minister in Churchill's play, says

...and the game must be protected.
You can go on playing after we're elected. 
Five more glorious years free enterprise
And your services to industry will be recognised.

Politicians across Europe are in thrall to an amorphous, nebulous, rapacious and powerful entity called The Market. They are allowed to hold on to power, in electoral terms, in a shrinking public sphere, by maintaining a hands-off stance re: The City of London, and its co-markets in New York (50 degrees North, 74 degrees East), Hong Kong (22 degrees North, 114 degrees East), Tokyo (35 degrees North, 139 degrees East) and Frankfurt (50 degrees North, 8 degrees East). 

Perhaps Kweku Adoboli is being considered for a gong? Meanwhile UBS is cutting 3 500 jobs across the bank.

There is a photo-story on The Irish Times website, with images of a Dublin (53 degrees North, 6 degrees West) house,  famous as a symbol of a market gone mad. It fetched the record Irish price of Euro 58 million in mid-2005 and is now for sale at Euro 15 million. Where did the missing Euro 43 million go? Not into the hands of the Derry Taxi Man or the tax-paying citizens of Greece. Did UBS get some of it? Did Kweku Adoboli access it too?

Let's speculate and sing along with the last song from 'Serious Money'.

These are the best years of our lives, let wealth and favour be our guide
We can expect another five, join hands across the great divide

that links Westminster and the City of London, but not the market trader and the taxi man.

Kweku Adoboli is the boom. Derry Taxi Man is the bust.
Which of them is the economic driver for the future?

Serious Money; Caryl Churchill; stage play; Methuen Drama; 2002

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