It seems now that the news of the financial scams that hit our nation’s banking system is in real danger of running out of zeroes to use while typing up the reports. The magnitude of each “fraudulent deal of the day” dwarves that of the one that came before it. Yesterday’s corrupt and crooked seem almost blameless in comparison. But does our reaction to these scams also hide a tale? When you hear about scams like these does it seem like we direct our anger towards the bank caught up in it? Wouldn’t it be more obvious to blame the perpetrator and not the victim? Is this justified?
Perhaps, this is a reaction to the perceived injustice of a banking system that seems to reserve all its scrutiny and “by the rules” severity for the common man. Borrowing money from a bank is still an emotionally taxing affair for the ordinary citizen. They jump through hoops to prove they need the loan and that they deserve to get it. They sign ominous looking documents loaded with intimidating legalese and adorned with myriad stamps and seals. They devastate whole checkbooks in the quest for an adequate number of post-dated cheques. And, heaven forbid, should they happen to miss even one installment of the repayment, they stand to lose public face, damage their credit-worthiness and have to face the full force of the law. All this while the real thieves seem to make their mega moves unchallenged. Is our angst an acknowledgement of our deepest suspicions that all men are equal but some are more equal than others (to paraphrase Orwell)?