Who Cares?

Winston M. Ginsberg, Contributor

There was a time that airplanes soared through the air

Their combustion engines and fiery rocket flare.

They disgorged frenzied passengers

By the millions with their wares

To sell to vacant consumers

Egged on by Capitalist prayers.


Then suddenly, the terrible awful noise died down

At a time when the leaves green were turning a golden brown.

At first there was a sniff and then a throaty cough

And people went from feeling good to very definitely off.

There was no panic, no cry nor even vague concern

Later it was all due to China, that was what we would learn.

Who cares about Africa, it’s just a name and a place on a map

If it fell off the world figuratively does it really create a gap?

If the Amazon, the rain forest, and all the people there

Disappeared overnight, how many people would really truly care?

Then the fish began to die, and the currents changed their course

We realised that instead of Man, Nature was the force.

The sun grew hotter and the days grew dark

The smog and the pollution presaged a future that was stark.


A thousand tomes, each of a million lines

Multiplied ten thousand times

Crimes more deserving of the most terrible fines.

On the one hand, the scales weighed heavily down

God raised his mighty thunderbolt and with a great frown

Was about to strike us from the rich earth

When the scales began to turn, and offered hope of rebirth.


I remember, I was eight, in the churchyard

In the rosy-fingered dawn

I trailed my fingers over tombstone tops

That were almost totally worn

The caw of jackdaw, the bellow of the horn

Caw caw irreverently and yet quite forlorn

I marvelled at the light, the shadows in the trees

The chipping of the wood-pecker

And the things only a child sees.

Beneath the grass were the rotten bones of men

Of tyrants and lords, not worth one man but ten.


The ancient forests, regal, unperturbed grew

To tall and dizzying heights in unpolluted hue

The fauna, once scarce, quickly multiplied

Filled the mountains and plains from each and every side.

The trains were idled, the planes no passengers to ride

We abandoned soggy pizzas and food that was fried.

Tumeric, coriander, cumin and sweet basil

Now seemed more real than the Diazepan pill.


How difficult was it to make curry or even fresh sushi

Without the pressure of an office that was so cushy?

On Wall Street, the City, Dubai and Japan

Capitalism as a story became an also-ran.

By the pond, sitting on the grass growing green and tall

Serenaded by cicadas in the twilight Fall

I sat with my boys gazing at the twinkling stars

Where once we saw a cloudy haze, now a clear view of Mars.


This I recall, I remember well

We thought about stocks and bonds and futures we would sell

From day to day, we traded commodities and all

In our wildest dreams we never thought they’d fall.

In the Bible, they had idols and calves of gold

They had seers that spoke of doom but never that foretold

That one day we would wake up and see our lives unfold.

This was yet another story hitherto untold.


Vicious wars and bloody battles fought

Ploughshares to swords that was what we wrought

The clash of shields, mustard gas and the calling to of arms

A jealous and vengeful God, as sung of in the Bible psalms.

No thing apart from vain god-like man

Would cause this unlikely event which would span

Not one nor two but twenty-thirty years

For once no one to blame but us for this bloody curse.


I dreamt of castles shaped of wood and hewn of rough stone

Not cities and empires built on carcasses of bone.

The sunlight dazzling as upon the driven snow

And verdant sequoia trees as they were wont to grow

For thousands of years rafting to clear and unspoilt skies

Unspoilt by pollution to blight a fiery sunrise.


Am I my brother’s keeper, of Abel asked Cain

For if brothers truly fight, then what would remain?

And God grew sad at all that he had wrought

His lessons and his commandments had all come to nought.

He summoned all his angels and his scales of justice rate

To decide for once and all the weight of human fate.

Up and down the golden scales rose

But on which side would the scales find their final repose?

He weighed up all the evil acts, the terrible actions done by Man

Since driven out of Eden, and time immemorial began

The lies, the cheating, the hatred and vanity

All the curses of every kind, contrived by humanity.

It wasn’t just the fatty food and the terrible things we ate

It was the greed and fervour with which we piled our plate.

Seas roiled and bushfires baked.


We slaughtered ever more cattle to feed

Our insatiable appetite for steak.

The early warning signs were there for all to see

But we sat in our ivory towers eating salmon sandwiches and tea.

Who cares about the hoi polloi and the masses we can’t see

Who cares about the starving in Africa

Or slavery in the South China sea?

Does any of this really matter

If it has no impact on me

I read somewhere about the man who takes the Clapham omnibus

But I do really care even if his life has no impact on us.

Winston M. Ginsberg, Contributor

Winston M Ginsberg (MBA ’94) spent 14 years as a Managing Director of TowerBrook before joining the Management Advisory Board. Prior to joining TowerBrook, he was a General Partner and co-founder of Elwin Capital Partners. During that time, he was also a founder and Executive Chairman of OfficeTiger, one of the world’s largest outsourcing companies. Ginsberg was a member of the Principal Investment Area and the Mergers & Acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs in London and New York. Prior to Goldman Sachs, he was a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions department of Lazard Frères & Co. in New York. He was also the Opinions Editor of the Harbus during his time at HBS.