Saturday, September 13, 2008

Who is John Galt? Who is John Allison?

I know, I know, it's all fanciful imagining on my part, I'm sure, but, still, I can't seem to keep myself from connecting the dots.

The banking system is broken and turning to socialist solutions. The bridge players at the top protect themselves while they collateralize and sell off the homeownership dreams of the common man. And in the midst of this, virtually out of nowhere, John Allison announces his retirement from one of the very few banks that managed to --not accidentally-- steer pretty much clear of the subprime mess.

John is a fierce champion of the rights of the individual and a true devotee of Atlas Shrugged. It was at the very top of his list of 25 books that he recommended to all new staff members at the bank. It guided his decisions in matters such as resisting free checking because it was a plague of hidden fees on those who could least afford them.

And so John is leaving. A corrupted system gets remade in some fashion yet to be announced. And I'm reminded of this little hideaway lodge, not far from BB&T's home offices in Winston-Salem. A funkly little place called The Atlantis. It's at milepost 5 on Atlantic Beach, NC. I wonder.

1 comment:

Betsey said...

If I may, I'd like to offer some background on the connections laid out - the details that help those of us reading to see the story you've so well loosely woven.
For anyone wanting to get a F2F feel for John Allison, I recommend you learn first from his Univ VA presentation on "Leadership and Values." After that it will make sense to read a bit about John Gault and his connection to John Allison, and then, to refresh with a summary of Atlantis.
Yes, these are challenging times that, hanging in balance, demand our attentions center on small, simple Gifts.