Author - Don Young
A voyage of discovery.....
www.havingtheircake.com is authored by Don Young. The website was originally created to supplement the material in a book, 'Having Their Cake...', co-authored by Don and Pat Scott.
Don Young says:
"I started from the point of being very concerned about the behaviour of investors in companies that I worked for. Mostly, their understanding of the businesses seemed slight and their concerns much more about their stock portfolios than the success of the companies.
This concern led to research for, writing with Pat Scott, and publication of "Having Their Cake"* analysing the changing relationships between the investment markets and the top managers of large quoted companies.
From there I embarked on an ever more fascinating journey, which broadly had the following stages:
- Investigating the motivations and activities of investment bankers and fund managers - and the trustees of larger pension funds
- Led by my interest in developing this website, broadening the scope of investigation into the dynamics of the banking and financial services industries and their impact on the wider populace
- This led to the growing conviction (about 2005) that the global investment banks had grown so powerful that they were beyond the influence of democratically elected governments - and in fact were influencing government behaviour by lobbying and "recruiting" politicians, especially in the USA and UK
- About this time, I became increasingly aware that some assumptions I was making about the benefits of free and unregulated markets were strongly influenced by what seemed to be streams of propaganda emanating from many institutes and foundations - and particularly most of the economic and financial media.
- It was then a short step to exploring the fascinating world of ideas and dogmas about free markets - what George Soros has called "market fundamentalism" - and realising that these were not "the truth", but rather untested axioms
- I became increasingly convinced that the system of global banking and financial services was causing more harm than good to industry, the economy and in particular to the bulk of people who comprise "Society"
- Then - the 2008 crash, when it seems that the whole edifice of market fundamentalism came crashing to earth. But did it? We are now witnessing a fascinating struggle between the immensely rich and powerful banking industry and the wider populations in many countries, which are angry but not quite clear how and where to focus their anger. In the middle are politicians, beset by pressures from people and the finance industries, which are spending £/$ hundreds of millions on lobbying. How this struggle will play out is fascinatingly uncertain, but the game is by no means over..........
In the course of this journey I have met many top managers, investors of all shapes and sizes, a few politicians, journalists and a goodly number of academics. All have been interesting - the journalists ranging from shallow and banal to serious thinkers and observers, the investors from ethically concerned and long term in orientation to simply short term money-driven and the academics from extremely rigorous to rather shallow and self-publicising. The great thing is - the journey continues and the interest and passion to continue learning is unabated!".
* "Having Their Cake, How the City and Top Managers are consuming British Industry"; Don Young and Pat Scott, Kogan Page, London, 2004.