Instructor– Claire Jewell
The short story “My Financial Career” by Stephen Leacock pokesfun at banking as a key feature of capitalist economies andhighlights the plight of ordinary workers/clients under such asystem. The author uses his backgroundin economics to show that banks operating in capitalist system areinterested in profits only. For the manager, he is interested inmeeting moneyed clients and offering them preferential treatment. Forthe regular clients, they have to queue to receive services while thewealthy can see the manager in private.
Again, as a relatively poor worker, the author distrusts the bank andthus did not have an account prior to this. For the regular citizensqueuing in the bank, banking is normal and does not rattle them as itdoes to the author. Workers are poorly paid. The capitalist systemdoes support equality or fair wealth distribution. The $50 pay in1910, which was perceivably high for the author, was much or less thesame as the national average then (Green & Green 2008). Again,the wage was diminished by a rapid increase in cost of living. Forthe employers also, the wages were negligent enough to be paid incash. Such low wages in modern times are major triggers of employeestrikes and are a strong feature of capitalism.
Other than that, the manager’s attitude towards the author tells alot about capitalism and banking. He is annoyed that a poor clientconsiders $56 to be such a large amount to seek the manager’sprivate indulgence. The client knew very well he did not fit theprofile of rich man such as the son of Baron Rothschild as themanager had expected. Furthermore, in today’s capitalist system,the wealthy receive preferential treatment in banks while ordinarycitizens like me always queue to be served by tellers.
It is thus clear Stephen Leacock story “my financial career”mocks banks under a capitalist system as they are mostly interestedin profits, which makes them value wealthy clients while relativelypoor clients are more or less of a nuisance.
Green, A. &Green D. (2008). Canada’s Wage Structure in the First Half of theTwentieth
Century (withcomparisons to the United States and Great Britain).