Bankers bonuses

Title: “Ethics and the role morality should play in the Marketplace” or “We’re worth every penny”

Link to the project

This work is my response to a public debate at St Paul’s Cathedral (London) where the question was “Ethics and the role morality should play in the Marketplace”. One quote from the debate, came from Lord Griffiths, the Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs: “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all” and this mindset was the main motivator for the project.

I wanted to explore further and enlarge the debate through this project. There’s been lots of news and discussion on the subject over the past years, so I’ve had plenty of source material to work with. My initial idea was to explain the subject of bankers bonuses and bailouts to the general public – in a fun, informative accessible way. This is a complicated subject, most people are confused by it.

Originally I planned to write and draw a short graphic novel. However, the more I researched, the more the project grew, and I found there were many angles to consider. I gradually came to the conclusion that an interactive format could deal better with such a multilayered subject, better perhaps than a linear book or story. I wanted to explore issues from multiple angles, giving a wider view. I also felt the project was a sort of interactive scrapbook, a way of collecting information, which could be re-used later and again form the basis of a graphic novel.

In its present form, the project is a simple interactive narrative – a series of hyperlinked web pages – and fixed paths through the ‘story’. Each path explores a different angle on the subject. Each page consists of random css boxes faded into photos and drawings, which are positioned, sized and faded at random. A reader takes their own route through the ‘system’ and experiences their own version of the story.

There are 7 paths through the story:

  • Lord Griffith’s speech – bonuses are good for Britain – this is the key path through the story.
  • Goldman Sachs, controlled demolitions, swindles, looting, theft and lies.
  • Scale of the bailout, toxic debt, government debts.
  • Trickle down myth and charity donations / Philanthropy
  • Phoney recovery, a looming second wave
  • Bankers behaviour – champagne, arrogance, buying houses, lap dancers.
  • Myth of City as huge asset to British economy

October 2009