Elephant seals and capitalism

This from the FT, April 29 2012, caught my eye.

“Banks are like oversized elephant seals – evolved to maximise their own success at the expense of the species – and must be reined in by regulators to protect the wider economy, a Bank of England official has said.

Andrew Haldane, executive director for financial stability, compared the industry’s enthusiasm for dangerously high levels of leverage and enormous pay packages to the tendency of elephant seals and peacocks to grow as large as possible to drive out or outshine male challengers. In the animal world, bulk and giant tails work as mating techniques but make the animals vulnerable to predators.”

Hmm, am always suspicious of analogies from “nature” (must get round to Edward O. Wilson’s latest – the Eusociality book thingie.

Anyhows, the speech is available here, and I will read it on the stepper, as is my wont.

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Below the surface...
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