The cost of greed

INDUSTRY AND city leaders are mightily perplexed and sore troubled by the greed of top executives. Particularly by a certain son of Mammon, Cedric Brown, and other directors of privatised utilities now cashing it in. No, the Christian gentlemen are not afeared that their beloved brethren will lose their immortal souls. Verily, they say it would be hypocritical of us to deny working people the right to sip from the pail of plenty that their betters have quaffed so deeply.

Michael Prowse (Financial Times January 16) complains that many “still appear to regard the capitalist system as fundamentally immoral. They are appalled by the vast rewards garnered by chief executives ...” He appeals to Adam Smith laissez faire morality in which - hopefully - “rich individuals would voluntarily engage in philanthropy”.

So when the gas workers put in their claim for a 25% pay rise, as is proposed, the city accepts their moral right to it. Sadly this will not stop the bosses and the government uniting to fight the claim tooth and nail. Not in the spirit of hypocrisy, but to save us all from a plague worse than anything visited on the Egyptians. Inflation is the name thereof.

Our mighty men are wracking their brains to find a way to keep their salaries down. Alas, despite many an ingenious scheme neither they nor John Major have been able to find a way.

Should the workers sacrifice their pay claim to save the country from inflation? To misquote the bible: Sodom - let their profits turn into pillars of salt; let inflation rain like frogs from heaven so long as it is paid for by the employers. There will be no end to our lean years until we are rid of them.

Phil Kent