The devil is in the detail—and the Square Mile. A play to demonstrate the problem of moral hazard in bankingby Marcus Miller and Nicholas Beale / April 24, 2013 / Leave a comment
© Phil Disley
Dramatis Personae Richard Fausto: high street banker, Vincento: first advisor to Fausto Diablo: second advisor to Fausto, Morphosa: agent for Mammon Chancellor of the Exchequer, Carnage: governor of the central bank
SCENE 1: THE FAUSTIAN PACT
Setting: Fausto is in his banker’s parlour in the City of London. Enter Vincento and Diablo. FAUSTO: Come dear Vincento, you have known me long, since both of us were young. So what think you of pastures new for feisty Richard Fausto, so he may become seriously rich?
VINCENTO: Of banking’s magic art you, sir, are master. People trust you with their money: their trust in you must never be betray’d. Beware the lure of yet more lustrous lucre.
FAUSTO: My thanks Vincento, keeper of my conscience. What says Diablo, young and yet so smart?
DIABLO: What pray is trust? If kept, it loses you your profits, if betrayed you will get rich. So target first the ones who trust you most! Take loyal depositors and offer them high savings rates: but, unseen, cut them soon. Take your loan customers too; and sell to them insurance—for which they don’t qualify!
FAUSTO: This ruthless logic hardens my good heart! I would learn more of Mammon’s devilish art. Arrange to meet with him without delay. Exit Diablo. Re-enters with Morphosa.
FAUSTO: Diablo? ’Tis Mammon I asked to see. Who is this woman fair?
MORPHOSA: Sir, let me speak. My name is Metamorphosis, but now I’m called Morphosa. Famous banker once, yet double-dealer too. Sir, I could make dross seem like gold, and loss appear fair gain. Cruelly betrayed, and sent to Hell, I’m now lord Mammon’s agent here on earth.
I offer you a deal. You can become immensely rich with bonuses galore for ten years and a day. But you must give your soul to Mammon to claim you for his own.
FAUSTO: ’Tis not my custom to transact with women. But I will take this deal. I give my word.
MORPHOSA: Sweet words mean nothing without swift action. Fire Vincento, and promote Diablo.
FAUSTO: Step up Diablo. Vincento, go! Exit Vincento
Now sweet Morphosa, give your crafty help; to lead us to ill-gotten, boundless wealth . Exeunt.
SCENE 2: MORPHOSA’S MAGIC
Fausto’s office, next day. Enter Fausto and Morphosa. FAUSTO: Tell me Morphosa how I…