I tend to blow hot and cold about the Financial Times. Much of its journalism on issues outside the City and Wall Street is first-class and its Life and Arts section on Saturday takes some beating. On the other hand its luxury magazine How To Spend It is an insult to everyone who works hard to earn money for essentials, never mind expensive watches, fast cars, furs and costly perfumes.
Yesterday, though, my ambivalence over the paper took a sharp drop downwards when it declared Lloyd Blankfein to be its Person of the Year. Mr Blankfein is chief executive of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank which is reported to be doling out $22 billion to its employees this year -- some $700'000 each. At first I thought that the FT was following what Time magazine sometimes does in choosing its Person of the Year -- naming someone whose influence has been great but not entirely beneficial to the greater good But no. According to the FT, Blankfein is a master of risk who has steered Goldman adeptly through the crisis, betting correctly that the global investment banks would survive the turmoil (with government help) and not be dismantled by regulators. There is one award I would give to Mr Blankfein -- for his chutzpah in claiming in a recent article in the Sunday Times that his company is carrying out God's work.