Why business is like ... A Spaghetti-Western Brawl

When a free-for-all breaks out, it is accepted that you punch the person you've always wanted to.

by Jennifer Harris, director of JRBH Strategy & Management, www.jrbh.co.uk
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In any good spaghetti Western, there's a scene in a dusty swing-door saloon where a visiting cowboy is caught chatting up one of the local girls or sitting at someone else's favourite table, and after an exchange of gnarled glances, the first punch is thrown.

When a free-for-all breaks out, it is accepted that you punch the person you've always wanted to - regardless of their role in the drama.

Many bankers feel that the scene unfolding between the City and the rest of the country is like that. Bankers have been making pots of money and arousing popular envy for a long time now. Then financial chaos kicks in because we've all been living beyond our means - governments and the public alike. Suddenly, the bankers find themselves cowering at the saloon bar wondering why a chair is about to be broken over their head.

The reason, of course, is that the rest of the drinkers in the bar have been itching for an excuse to beat up the bankers, because of their massive pay packets and ostentatious displays of wealth.

But as in the Western fist fight, no-one is an innocent bystander: we're all complicit. And although a brawl is good for releasing tension, it's unlikely to produce a resolution. Instead, all that's left are a few sore heads and some broken furniture ...

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