“Come on you guys, get off your spotty behinds and Make Britain Great Again! Buy stuff! Splash the cash – a new car, trips to the hotspots of Europe, Asia, the Caribbean! Get those fancy threads you’ve always wanted! Get loads more stuff – jewels, gadgets, a massive TV! It doesn’t matter if you need them or not. Don’t worry about it – Spend, spend, spend! Borrow, borrow, borrow! – The more you spend, the more you borrow, the better our economy does.”
It’s a fact.
Personal debt of over £200 billion is at a level where financial meltdown is practically inevitable, but that small fact doesn’t stop the UK Government singing the praises of Consumerism. Even the Office of Budget Responsibility is beginning to sweat by feebly announcing that, “a strong contributor to economic growth is ‘private consumption’.
The same figures are used by Government to calculate financial pressure or weakness and financial strength. How they’re perceived is down to the way they’re presented: for personal debt figures they say “Look how crap you, the public, are!” and for economic growth figures they say, “Look how brilliant we are!” Ludicrous! They’re the same numbers!
These spurious measures are all we have because the United Kingdom doesn’t make anything of any significant worth anymore. Once upon a time we did. We dug the coal from our own soil to power our power stations, in fact, there was a time when we even built those power stations rather than franchise their construction out to foreign business. We produced much of our own food and clothing and practically all our own cars, furniture and houses.
When you make tangible stuff that other people pay good money for, they’re called assets. When you take away any debts and other liabilities from those assets what you’re left with is hopefully a positive number which is a true measure of how well the country’s economy is doing.
The problem with using Consumerism as a measure of economic growth is that it hides some very unhealthy, human, considerations. Personal Debt makes people miserable. It promotes an economy of fear where people won’t rock the boat for fear of losing their job no matter how unfairly treated. It stifles creativity, kills romance stone dead and makes for a very dull existence. But, most dangerously, it encourages vast swathes of the population to accept absurdity as normality.
It is absurd to work all the hours there are to make insufficient money to feed your family, for an organisation that makes mega profits, pays it’s managers millions and contributes nothing to the economy of the country in which it operates.
Next: Coming soon’ish
>Location when written: Holborn, London