On BBC2 this evening satirist Ian Hislop will take a look at philanthropy within the Victorian banking community. He will focus on characters like Peabody, Gurney and Rothschild all of whom "gave something back to society".
But before we get too excited, we should remember there was one thing Victorian bankers were as loathe to "give back" as their modern counterparts. Namely, power.
Here are a couple of relevant quotes (lest we forget) :-
Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild:
“I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.”
Rt. Hon. Reginald McKenna, Midland Bank, England's Secretary of the Exchequer:
"Those who create and issue money and credit direct the policies of government and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people."
Problem is, how do you encourage bankers to give (power) back to society?