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People Anatomy™
A spotter’s guide to the men and women of finance.

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According to the The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Golgafrincham was an overpopulated planet, whose more resourceful inhabitants invented stories of impending doom to persuade their less-resourceful co-inhabitants to bugger off. Some said Golgafrincham would crash into the sun; others that the planet was to be invaded by twelve-foot piranha bees; still others that it was in danger of being eaten by a mutant star-goat.

More recently, they said the impending singularity would ensure technological unemployment where those with meaningful subject matter expertise would self-immolate, being projected virtually into lives of liberal indulgence, leisure and poetry whilst simultaneously being physically harvested of their essential chemicals for fuel by our machine overlords. In this view, the only humans left would be those whose roles were so devoid of intelligence in the first place as to be constitutionally immune from the inevitable destructive progress of artificial intelligence. This layermedio administratione, in the argot — embedded itself into human organisational structures in every part of society as a persistent, impermeable, sedimentary (not to say sedentary) bulwark “against oncoming oblivion”. Those whom they left behind — or “threw under the bus”, as they silently regarded it —had a different view.

In any case, the world was

So the resourceful Golgafrinchans decided to rid themselves of the useless third of their population by dividing themselvers into three categories: The first was the leaders, explorers, inventors and scientists; the third was those who did things and made things: farmers, labourers, manufacturers, nurses, doctors, bus drivers and artisanal coffee vendors;[1] and the second was the remainder: the hairdressers, telephone sanitisers, internal auditors, derivative onboarding specialists, talent acquisition directors, serial entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, executive coaches, social media consultants thought leaders and digital prophets — basically, everyone with an active LinkedIn profile.[2]

The Golgafrinchans announced the construction of three “Arks”. The A Ark would carry all the leaders. The C Ark would carry the makers and doers. The B Ark would hold those of the persistent medio adminsitratione and the others mentioned above. To prepare the new world for the A and C Arks — to be sure the planet had been properly audited and KYC’d, had appropriate HR policies and SOX attestations in place, and so on, by the time the remainder got there, the Golgafrinchans sent the B Ark off first.

The remaining two-thirds of the population stayed behind and lived full, rich and happy lives until they were all wiped out by a poorly crafted indemnity which was not limited to direct foreseeable losses and did not carve out negligence, fraud or wilful default.

Thus, all that remains of the Golgafrinchans are those from Ark Ship B, which crashed (safely) into a small green-blue planet orbiting an unregarded yellow sun in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy. A pale blue dot.

They — I should say, we — live on in legal, credit and operational risk and control departments to this very day.


  1. Hang on. Are you sure abiout this last one? Ed.
  2. Okay, I know there were no LinkedIn profiles or social media consultants when Douglas Adams was alive: look at this as part of the The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy expanded universe, okay?