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Business as usual for Barclays boss Bob Diamond

Letter to The Guardian

10 November 2011

Letter to The Guardian

Bob Diamond's lecture (Banks can be good citizens, 4 November) is an example of the sort of sophistry and deception we are all subjected to. Corporations are inanimate fictional entities in law. Corporations are not citizens, and it's absurd, but intentional, that they are portrayed as if they were. Directors like Diamond and his other managers are effectively the corporation we all know as Barclays plc. It is to them we should be asking the question about their own actions as citizens. Putting this irrelevant corporate entity in between is intended to suggest there is another entity which the directors and managers are there, in some sense, to tame. This is a smoke screen: a grand deception. 

What we need is proper, thorough-going supervision with independent supervisory boards made up of representatives of the shareholders and stakeholders about which Diamond speaks so fondly. These supervisory boards would make their voice clear on what the corporation should or should not be doing to make money. They would also settle the vexed issue of executive pay. 

But Diamond wants none of that sort of democratic control and accountability. He wants to continue to control the business, at the same time daring to suggest they are all working to make Barclays Bank plc a better citizen. Pull the other leg, Mr. Diamond. You just want the clamour to go away and to get back to making money at everyone else's expense.

Richard Tudway


The Centre for International Economics

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