When I think of the mess bankers have made of this country I see it through the prism of my own gambling. When I have a good year, I'm pleased but careful, it's too easy to be fooled by randomness in this game. I enjoy some of the profits and put the rest by to try to protect my fund against inevitable future losing-runs. Far from being the undisciplined addict that would fit the popular perception of gamblers, if anything I bet too conservatively. And when I lose, as is the case right now, I lose. No excuses. No bail-out.
Bankers, on the other hand, used a simple herd mentality to ride the housing bubble with over-borrowed funds, and when they had good years paid themselves a huge chunk of the profits because “we're worth it”. When they crashed, wiping out their existing funds unfathomable times over, they got us to cover their losses, and went back to mindlessly surfing the next rising market.
Forget bonuses. There's no skill in a free bet.
I was going to write something about the bonus culture, but then I remembered I already had. I have nothing more to add, so here's an extract from The Northern Line to Shropshire. This piece was written in 2009 when I was coming to then end of my time as a successful gambler.
A self-employed training consultant muses on the world of work.