Album: Arrogance Ignorance and Greed (2009)

Songfacts®:

  • Also known in longhand as "Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed," this topical polemic was written by guitarist Steve Knightley of the folk duo, and rightly won the prize for Best Original Song at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, 2010. The song is of course about the first worldwide financial crisis of the 21st Century - the so-called credit crunch, the bank bail out, the scandal over bankers' bonuses, and all the associated controversy. Knightley explained the inspiration for the song in a videotaped interview several months previously.

    AIG is a double entendre; after the US firm American International Group went belly up and was bailed out by the government (ie the taxpayer), the people at the top paid themselves a hundred and sixty-seven million dollars in bonuses. One commentator referred to AIG as an acronym for arrogance, ignorance and greed, and "I just thought that's such a good title for a song," he went on to equate it with a Springsteen type blue collar rant, and said it also struck a chord with the other contemporary financial scandal in Britain, that of MPs expenses, which although minuscule in comparison has generated even more outrage amongst the British public.
  • Steve Knightley and Phil Beer appeared on the February 18, 2009 edition of the BBC news programme Breakfast where they said that after filming the video in the studio they took it into the City of London and projected it all over the place. They said they were trying to capture the mood of their audience, and this one really connected.

    At every trough you stop to feed
    With your arrogance, your ignorance and greed
    You're on your yacht, we're on our knees
    Through your arrogance, your ignorance and greed

    Did Shakespeare himself ever craft a more perfect stanza? >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

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