For & Against: Bonuses For Bankers - The Reykjavik Grapevine

For & Against: Bonuses For Bankers

For & Against: Bonuses For Bankers

Published September 8, 2016

Photos by
Sveinbjörn Pálsson

FOR:
If there’s one group of marginalised people who suffer constant persecution, it’s bankers. They’re the last minority over whom it’s still ok to pour scorn and ridicule. They’re hugely underappreciated, and get nothing but abuse for all the hard work that they do.

You may have seen that certain key figures in custodial care of the once glorious Kaupthing bank were awarded modest bonuses, the grand total of which is a paltry 1.5 billion ISK, with individual bankers getting about a few measly millions for their trouble.

Almost instantly, politicians were competing with one another over who could be the most outraged over the bonuses. Which is pretty rich, considering these are the same members of Parliament who were perfectly happy letting bankers do exactly as they pleased when times were good. Now that times are getting better again, you’d think they’d be totally on board with giving these hard-working bankers their due. But no—apparently populism is more important than having sound principles, such as supporting the wheels of capitalism no matter what.

You can hate all you want, but without our bankers, there wouldn’t be an economy. Deal with it.

AGAINST:
I have been finding myself more and more having to check the calendar to make sure it isn’t 2007. Case in point: Kaupthing bankers are making headlines, and not for being put in jail.

It is hugely insulting to the Icelandic people that these guys would award themselves such a ridiculous sum of money. But then again, it’s to be expected: bankers have consistently proven that they are at war with Iceland, and yet no one seems brave enough to stand up to them and do what needs to be done. Namely, it’s time to build a gulag in the Highlands.

Now, you may be asking: how is building a gulag going to solve our problems? Simple: the gulag will be reserved for bankers only. As they clearly and consistently pose a threat to national security, we would be stupid not to build a gulag, really. Plus they could be made to actually work for a living, for a change. Such work could include being on chain gangs maintaining Highlands roads, cleaning up litter (and organic leavings) dropped by visitors to the region, and repairing emergency shelters.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll recognise that we need to confront the banker problem head-on. Build the gulag. Give their bonuses to the people.

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