February 25, 2017

Gillian Tett, a functional bank system is a much more powerful instrument of change than a violin, even if Joe’s

Sir, Gillian Tett writes beautifully about “Joe’s violin… an instrument soaked in 20th-century immigrant memories was launching a new 21st-century immigrant dream, forged with struggle, risk and hope”, “An instrument of change” February 24.

But 20th-century immigrants, when needing the opportunity of bank credit, though they of course had to confront that risk aversion described by Mark Twain with “bankers lend you the umbrella when the sun is out and want it back when it looks like it could rain”, they did not have to face risk weighted capital requirements for banks.

So Ms. Tett should reflect on the possibility that had a Joseph Feingold’s livelihood depended on receiving the chance imbedded in a bank credit, in the 21st century, he might have needed to part with the violin bartering it for something more useful, and would never have had the chance to donate it.

Our future is to be “forged with struggle, risk and hope”. Yes indeed Ms Tett, “God make us daring” and save us from loony technocrats.