"Hair of the Dog"?

"Hair of the Dog"?

Three Wise Monkeys by Leo Reynolds.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get the distinct impression that we, the great British public, are being encouraged by our politicians to hit the high street as hard as we can  and to ‘spend spend spend’?

Is there any chance that one fine morning in the not too distant future SOMEONE will appear on our television screens to point out that this might NOT be the greatest of all ideas.

Whether or not certain politicians are even allowed to say such a thing is not the point.  Someone has to say it.  And frankly, it would help if it wasn’t a politician.

If one of the causes of the financial crisis was that people were spending money they could not afford to spend, notching up debts they could not repay, then where are the voices of common sense (or at the very least, balance) as we tune into the Today programme each morning? 

Speaking of things that politicians are and are not ‘allowed’ to say, RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor writes far more eloquently than I could on a subject which has been on my mind this week;

“Sticking on the combined topics of the downturn and my grumpiness, it is depressing that Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley has agreed to apologise for his comments about the health consequences of recession. He simply said on his blog that by reducing consumption on things like booze, fags and sweets a downturn can be good for our health. Not only is it true but it is a rare example of a politician engaging seriously with what the downturn will mean for us. Governing politicians (here, and particularly insanely in the US) are like drug dealers encouraging us to get hooked onto debt again, while the Conservatives try to imply there is another way out of the crisis without ever quite telling us what this is and why no other Government in the world seems to agree with them. In contrast Andrew Lansley said something honest and thought provoking – no wonder he was forced to recant.”

2 Replies to “"Hair of the Dog"?”

  1. Quite right Oli! As I pointed out in my blog here (http://www.moneymagpie.com/blogpost/jasmine/anyone-for-spending-more), we’re being encouraged (indeed begged) to spend just when we’re finally realising that we have to stop and deal with our massive personal debt.

    How can it be right that an economy is two thirds based on consumer spending? As I’ve said many times before, it is very unhealthy to have an economy which only does well if consumers get themselves into miserable amounts of debt. There is a fundamental problem here – we’re not producing enough, we’re not exporting enough and that makes us very vulnerable.

    I’m telling people to make the most of good deals IF they have the spare cash but not otherwise. Anyone in debt should ignore the pleas to spend – we need to look after our own personal economies and not sacrifice them for the government.

  2. Good post Oli. The politicians, as usual, are just looking for good stats for the next election and not actually thinking about what might be right for a sustainable future (in terms of wealth and economic growth, as well as the more normally associated terms). Credit’s a brilliant way of making the distribution of wealth more efficient, but it’s got completely out of hand, and is being used to make up for a lack of wealth. The government is like an indebted start-up desperately borrowing more to stay affloat, and basing its survival on customers doing the same – a con-trick based on false credit (government guaranteeing it’s own debt and trying to do the same for bank lending on OUR future earnings) which is bound to come crashing down even harder than the crisis we’re in now.

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