Tell you what I’m going to do, should I ever get a grant again. Instead of using the money to conduct the research for which it is awarded and intended, I’m going to lend it to members of the public. This will take off, because there are always people desperate to borrow money, particularly those with the desire to own their own home. And when it gets big, I’m going to set up a spin-off company, which the University will love, because: 1) I’ve brought in grant money; 2) I’m using it to make even more money. And (I’m crafty me) I will lend to those who can’t afford to pay the obscene interest I will charge; so I’ll claw back the loans, keeping the interest they’ve already paid, charge them penalties, and not give a damn about them; and then I’ll lend it to someone else. I’ll sell shares, because those who buy shares know a good thing when they see it. Lending public money back to the public. I will call this company Southern Sponge plc, and appoint myself Chief Executive. And buy up bad debts from other lenders, to send those shares up, and everything will look rosy and more will come looking for loans. And others will pay me when they lend to someone. And I will award myself a ridiculously high salary, and reward myself huge tax-free bonuses, even though I pay less tax than those I lend to; and I’ll make sure I’m guaranteed a big fat pay-off when it all goes udders-up (which it inevitably will). But, you see, as it’s the public’s money, I won’t have to worry because I will walk away rich, leaving the University to carry the can, including compensating those whinging shareholders who always forget the hazard of share-buying (they can go down as well as up). As for the borrowers and depositors… Well, you have to take risks.
This (mission) statement reflects an obviously deficient grasp of macro-economics. Hahhhh ha ha hah hah! Since when did that matter? I will recruit accountants to cook the books, ensuring things look all proper and above board, and the share-holders won’t know I’ve actually stolen their cash. And wasting public money will all appear perfectly legal (since when did legality become a criterion?). I’ll bask in the praise heaped upon entrepreneurial whizz-kids, drink my champagne, slurp my oysters, get fat and await my knighthood.
[I’m being silly, of course. Because my grant money doesn’t come to me; it’s paid to the University, which legitimates and audits everything I purchase – because it’s regulated.]