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Bankers' Pay and Bull Elephant Seals

Posted By Prucia Buscell, Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Why have bankers salaries ballooned? Eduardo Porter, an economics writer and member of the editorial board of the New York Times, addresses this issue with an eye on nature and a biting humor. As he puts it, the biggest bull elephant seals beat out lesser bull elephant seals, winning the harems and passing on their genes to future elephant seal generations. Over time the population gets bigger and fatter, and eventually the big bulls become easier dining for the swifter great white sharks, which are among nature’s greatest predators. So as Wall Street views it, humongous pay packages for top bankers grow from competition among big banks and the most enterprising executives. Read Porter’s March 9 column "On the Origins of Bankers’ Giant Bonuses” to learn why he thinks seals and human society would benefit if bull elephant seal blubber and bankers salaries were trimmed. Click here to learn more about the elephant seals. These extraordinary marine mammals spend most of the year in open ocean and migrate thousands of miles. Despite the seals' greater bulk and slower speed, the great white sharks can’t eat them unless they find them in that vast and deep watery expanse. Elephant seals are no longer endangered, although at onetime they were seriously over-hunted for their oil. Great white sharks are endangered. Bankers are not.

Tags:  buscell  complexity matters  nature 

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