The risks of the spiv economy

By Martin Vogel

John Kay writes apropos the banks’ PPI mis-selling scandal:

Market economies are always vulnerable to chancers and spivs who sell overpriced goods to ill-informed customers and seem to promise things they do not intend to deliver. If such behaviour becomes a dominant business style, you end up with the economies of Nigeria and Haiti, where rampant opportunism makes it almost prohibitively difficult for honest people to do business. Our prosperity depends on a self-enforcing culture of ethical business values, in which traders value their reputation and seek to develop long-term commercial relationships. That is the culture in which banks used to operate: it is time they did so again.