Wednesday, 13 December 2006

An obscene amount of money

No, I’m not being Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (wasn’t that a great scene, by the way?) nor is it the sum of money I’m going to spend this Christmas, I’m referring to the bonus the boss of Goldman Sachs got this year.

Fifty million pounds sterling (£50m). As a bonus!

I can’t get my head round this figure. It makes me feel nauseous.

Years ago, when I worked in publishing, we all used to get a bonus with our last salary of the year (the company was very successful): mine was usually just about enough to pay for a bottle of perfume or something like that, but it was still a nice little extra. My boss's bonus was always much more substantial. One year, she opened the small brown envelope that contained her salary slip and exclaimed, ‘Oh goody, I can book my trip to Tibet now!’

Fifty million pounds is obscene, though.



  1. If the rest of the people working at that firm went on strike unless that bonus were more equally distributed, or if the investors pulled out all their money in protest over the obscene bonus - that boss would not get diddly squat next year.

  2. Indeed. But, apparently, the average GS employee will receive £320,000 this year. Their Xmas party will cost them each (they'll have to fork out the money), wait for it, £6,000. Six thousand pounds for one evening!

    The abyss between the rich and the poor is getting wider by the day. Obviously, GS is a company that has employees all over the world, but London has become a haven for the super-rich. Meanwhile, the rest of us struggle in the most expensive city in Europe (the second most expensive in the world after Tokyo), with useless public transport, enormous utilities bills, etc. etc. It makes me sick.

  3. I believe it was Paul who wrote in Corinthians: "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is rolling around in large piles of cash." Well, I think that's what it says, but I must have gotten the sentiment right, at least... BAH!

    The funny thing about democracy is that a strong middle class is what's essential to maintaining it. The stark gap between the haves and have-nots chills me as I wonder what will happen if things keep on this way.

  4. It is an obscene amount, but bear in mind that city bonuses are taxed and as the higher tax rate is 40% Gordon Brown and the treasury will be rubbing their hands with glee, and our national economy will be better off.

  5. It's all very depressing.

  6. You think London has crappy public transportation? You ain't seen nothing yet! Come for a visit to Miami Florida. When you return to London, you will suddenly think the mass transportation is the best in the world.

  7. Bonuses for the top guys are obscene regardless of the amount. But whoa! This guy got a BIG fat handout. I wanta slap him too!

  8. I really enjoyed the Japanese system of bonuses. Twice a year the company booted us an extra month's worth of salary. This is one of Japan's secrets to a high savings rate. The amount was set and it really helped to be able to count on that extra padding.

    My friends from London all tell me that London is *much* more expensive than Tokyo.

  9. TLI, knowing that other people have even worse whatever doesn't always make me feel better. LOL! At least in Miami you have SUNSHINE. Public transport in London is really really bad. I've just spent a weekend in another big European capital and everything was running smoothly and it cost a fraction of what we're forking out here. There is no excuse for the shambles here.

    TLP, these people don't know they're born, do they?

    I bet you did, audible! Of course, Japan is also very expensive and has nought per cent interest rate (can you tell I'm a saver not a borrower?), doesn't it? And earthquakes. LOL! So, all in all, not so good.

    I can easily believe that London is even more expensive than Tokyo now. I just have to look at my credit card statement.


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