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Monday, 19 October 2009

Brush up your Latin

I was struck this morning by a comment from the non-executive chairman of Barclays in an interview with another pink paper about bank regulation, bonuses and implicitly, windfall taxation and other forms of retribution. Specifically the following comment:

“The same principles will apply in different ways in different capital markets with different outcomes. This is a global financial system. It is fungible. So I am very concerned there should be a level playing field.”

Now correct me if you disagree, but the word fungible derives from the Latin deponent verb fungor, fungī, fūnctus sum (perform or execute), from which we also get the verb function via the French. The adjective fungible therefore means to be of an equivalent utility or value. What he meant was that the locations in which the global financial system takes place are fungible. The financial system and its players are mobile (from Lat. moveo, movere, movi, movus).

We should have expected better from someone who goes by the name of Marcus Agius.

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