Yesterday's Thursday Essay by Sean O'Grady in The Independent argued if we were bankers 'we would take the bonuses' too so we shouldn't get on their backs so much. He argued that we would take such highly inflated wages if we were bankers, just as we would if we were footballers or the CEO of an Oil company. We wouldn't turn down the money because we didn't think it was fair for us to earn so much. It seemed to me to be a poorly veiled attempt to say 'you're all just jealous, stop whining'.
But what about others measurements of wealth? Financial wealth is no guarantee of wealth in other areas, but we generally understand it to be desirable. The more money we have the better our lives will be. But what if, in earning that money, we exploit others or the environment around us? Does that not diminish our emotional wealth a bit? Does that not force us to lower our self-respect? I wonder how many bankers walk north out of their Liverpool St offices and up London's Curtain Road towards the headquarters of the NSPCC reflecting on true wealth. Do they see the warm faces of people who leave those offices and ponder to themselves: 'its not fair, I earn loads of money, but they seem to be so much more fulfilled by their work. I earn loads more than them, but I am not as happy, my work is just not as meaningful or socially useful - its not FAIR!'