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But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness“ Leviticus 16:10

Though, of course, both Simon Hester and Sir Fred Goodwin were chosen by the lot of having been in charge of RBS at some point. One up to the fall, and one after. And like the proverbial bovine both the fankle of Simon Hester’s bonus last week and the government turning Fred Goodwins umbrella inside out (HT to Peat Worrier for that exclusive footage) are barely even symbolically important. Many people in the banking industry are still Sir CDO. Many more are still raking in enormous amounts of money in short term bonuses that severely distort the incentives within the financial industry and then leak into the real economy through exploiting genuinely useful financial instruments such as commodity futures to such an extent that hundreds of thousands of people are pushed into hunger because of pinstriped castles in the sky.

The ongoing financial catastrophe of the last four and a half years are not the fault of two Chief Executives of one company, one of whom wasn’t even employed there until after the crash. It was a systemic failure of the global financial system, particularly in the US and the UK but also around Europe and what was once broadly described as “the Free World” or “the West” and if you’re of a more right-on view point your probably currently refer to as “the Global North”. Not only that, but it was the latest and largest in a series of failures in the dominant political economy of the prior 40 years that stretches back past the current sovereign debt crisis (which is really just the second act of the 2007-2008 crisis) and finds echoes in the Enron and Worldcom scandals and the Argentine Default of the early 2000s, the Long-Term Capital Management debacle and the Russian default of the late 1990s, the Asian crisis prior to that, the Savings & Loans crisis in the US in the 1980s and 1990s and so an ad nauseam.

Obviously with such a broad sweep of crises a huge number of different, conflicting factors played into them. However they also all fundamentally grew from an uncompromising and unyielding faith in the market fundamentalist economic consensus articulated by Hayek and the Chicago School. Sometimes markets work. Sometimes they don’t. Problems arise when they are allowed unchecked and unfettered reign. Problems which cause huge social dislocation, uprooting people, throwing people on the scrapheap before their lives really started and killing people – and that was when they were functioning as designed. Since then they have became utterly dysfunctional even within their own frame of reference, requiring massive public subsidies, three am shotgun mergers and the world staring into an economic abyss so bad I’ve run out of cliches to describe it.

So, on the one hand, we have the worst financial crisis in human history causing untold damage and on the other hand we have the small matter of catastrophic global climate change which is inexorably moving closer and we appear to be increasingly incapable of doing anything about it, partly because of the financial crisis taking up a lot of both monetary and political capital.

But never mind, some guy who was only ever really a cog in the machine in the great scheme of things is going to have to spend five minutes changing the title drop down on his online banking. Whoop.