Monday, October 13, 2008

It's not all gloom

What's that stuff about clouds and silver lining? Even the credit crisis has a bright side.

* The end of the all-guzzling property development vortex. No more buildings with history and personality being pulled down to make way for speculative "luxury flats" that look identical from Andalusia to Glasgow. Restoration will be favoured over demolition. Those horrendous turn-of-the-century overpriced plastic apartments that sprung up everywhere in the last 10 years will simply remind us of the "years of greed".

* The end of the Anglo-American fairy-tale culture of debt and buy-now-pay-later. C'mon, that massive plasma screen is not what makes you a man. But if you really feel you can't do without one, then wait a few months, save up, and get it with your own real money.

* More people will clock that self worth has nothing to do with the bank making you feel that you own an overpriced pad. If you desperately want to own a flat, do so when you've put enough dough aside - without relying on legalised 100% mortgage loan sharks. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with renting.

* House prices actually going back to humane levels. No more obscenely inflated markets. Ordinary people will be allowed back on the property ladder.

* No more mail boxes jammed with leaflets offering loans and credit cards. No more virtual money handed out to students to binge drink and keep the booze industry awash with dividends.

* With less money available to binge-drink your brains into oblivion, people will finally wake up from induced apathy and focus on real problems.

* Unfettered Market does it better? The last thirty years have revolved around the ideological myth that Casino Capitalism is the way forward. No-one could question obscene City bonuses and our financial wizards. Hopefully that stupid, ostentacious, twatty devotion for corporate greed that we witnessed from Tony Blair, John Hutton or Peter Mandelson will pave the way for a little more dignity. The merchants of blind faith may have to watch their mouth for a while. It's already happening, with the Tories (!) calling for a complete ban on executive bonuses.

* Domestic manifacturing may also experience a revival. The days of Thatcher bigging up the 'service sector' and Blair praising the 'knowledge economy' (whatever that is) as the only way forward at the expense of real manifacturing will be remembered as total bull. A country's economy cannot just be about virtual money.

* More people embracing financial savvy strategies. No more splashing out on overpriced microwaveable meals at home and in restaurants. No more uneaten 'Tesco Finest' rotting in the fridge. You'll buy what you need from supermarkets and learn how to make it last. Real home-cooking may experience a revival.

[You can read two articles about the bright side of the 'credit crisis' by Simon Jenkins in The Sunday Times and Vince Cable in the Mail on Sunday].

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