I was reading the financial pages, trying to get some inspiration for my Economics Blog, when I came across a story how the Bank of England prepared for financial meltdown by getting ready to buy six bicycles.
The idea was that should their be a liquidity crisis and the city collapse, members of the Bank of England could pedal around delivering messages and suitcases full of quantitatively eased money and generally bucking up spirits with nothing more than an Aluminium framed bicycle imported from Taiwan.
I couldn’t make it up the story myself. (Telegraph link)
When you think of the City, you think of Porsches, Armani suits, the snorting of cocaine with £50 notes, and Bottles of Bollinger (especially for those fixing those key interest rates). You don’t usually relate bankers with the old humble push bicycle.
Perhaps it also an image thing, realising that bankers (with their £20m bonuses) are out of touch with the general public – perhaps they hope that riding around on a Raleigh Flyer could be the way to restore our trust and respect. (I only hope they don’t dress and lycra and fail to stop at junctions. I think a banker riding through red lights on a bicycle would meet all the stereotypes of most hated person by London taxi driver.)
It just goes to show that sometimes the solution to problems is to go back to basics. Forget quantitative easing and manipulation of interest rates, we just need to tell the bankers to get on their bikes.
Perhaps we should make bankers, guilty of interest rate fixing, cycle 100 miles for every £1million they fiddled. They could do the penalty miles on an outdoor velodrome where the public can go to cheer them on. It would be more fun than giving them fines.