Dirty Filthy Money
Dirty Filthy Money, is a new programme on Radio Scotland which explores the ethical impact of money and finance on our lives. Presenter Lesley Campbell tells us more about the programme below:
The name of this series wasn't picked at random. Dirty Filthy Money. We earn it, then throw it away on food we don't eat or on gadgets we don't need. Add to that the issue of bankers' bonuses - vast sums of money paid to those who have lost vast sums of money - and it's not surprising that money's reputation is dirt. We definitely want it, but when we get it, we act as if we have contempt for it.
I used to work in the City, and like most traders, I could tell you exactly how much tax was paid to the Exchequer by financial institutions as if that were the only thing that mattered. Now, it's clear that we might have to find a new way to do things. If your bank is polluting the environment and driving people into poverty, is the amount of tax it paid really relevant?
In this series, I'm going to be looking at three critical areas : tax, wages and debt.
For most of us, tax is deducted at source and our consciences aren't troubled by the lure of trusts, off-shore accounts and tax avoidance schemes ... except when it comes to paying the decorator in cash. But would you consider paying more tax if you knew exactly what the government was going to do with it? Do you trust the government to handle your money in a fair way?
On a profound level, most of us suspect money won't make us happy - we only have to look at lottery winners to know that - but we're still trying to earn as much as we can and borrow as much as we're allowed. Is it because there's too much credit being offered to us and too many cheap goods to be bought with it? Or is it because many of us don't have a church to remind us of more spiritual values?
Wages are a bit of a mystery; it's perfectly clear that those who earn the most do not contribute the most to society. The really big money is earned by footballers, not by nurses in Intensive Care units; it's paid to lingerie models but not to special needs teachers. We allow the market to set wages which means that your worth will be measured by the amount of advertising revenue you generate, not the number of lives you save. If you felt you were receiving a fair wage, perhaps you might be more fulfilled by earning respect from your boss and your colleagues instead of earning cash. How do other countries keep the gap between rich and poor to a minimum while still keeping the economy in the black?
The credit crunch gave us a great opportunity to change the way we manage our money and in many ways, it would be a pity if we get over the shock and go straight back to our old ways. But there are other ways to run our banks, pay wages and gather tax. This might just be the perfect time to be looking at them.
Lesley Campbell was a commodity trader in London for over twenty years. She has advised the World Bank and U.N. on commodity projects and now acts as a consultant to companies wanting to tackle financial risk. She writes on money matters for several publications. Listen to the programme Tuesday 1530, repeated Sunday 1630 and available to listen again on iPlayer.