Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The party's got to stop

I'm finding it very depressing to sit down to breakfast and be assailed by newspaper headlines like "Staring into the abyss" and doom and gloom on the radio news. It's all particularly galling when one hasn't been involved in the cause of the current global meltdown. So my heart did lift a little when I got to the letters page of today's Financial Times and read a letter that chimed with what I feel. It came from the former deputy governor of the National Bank of Poland, and reads:

From Dr Krzysztof Rybinski.

Sir, Imagine that there is a wild party, a long one. Every time the alcohol supply dries up, the central bank shows up and keeps the party going and going, and people get more and more addicted to partying and drinking. At some stage, the drunken crowd demolishes the premises and the party is over.

Hank and Ben show up and ask who did the most damage. John, people say, broke four windows and smashed the table. Great, says Hank, John will get $300 - who is next on the did-most-damage list? Tim, the crowd cries, he sprayed paint all over the place and burned the sofa. Excellent, says Hank, Tim will get $250. Who is next?

In a few days, the next party will begin. People are planning to show up in large numbers. Not only can they have a lot of fun (while others - obviously jerks and dorks - will go to work every morning) and drink for free - they will also get free cash handouts when the party is over. How do you like the Paulson plan?

Krzysztof Rybinski,

Former Deputy Governor,

National Bank of Poland,

Warsaw, Poland

Curiously, I've been reading a speech from another Pole this week concerning public service broadcasting and its need to adapt to public service media. It's well written and well thought through. Perhaps we ought to look to Poland to save all our souls at the moment.