Wednesday 27th November
Our whole society is built on debt. Debt, debt and more debt. Excluding Mortgage debt, odious enough in itself, each man woman and child on average owes over eight thousand pounds of debt, and the figure is increasing year on year, as is indeed Mortgage Debt. The government debt keeps rising too; no matter how much they crow about reducing the deficit, this is simply the rate at which the countries overall debt is increasing.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. My father had a horror of HP, which was basically the only way you could get into debt in those days. Very few working people had bank accounts, and bank managers were quite hard to get loans out of. There were always pawn shops, but you had to be pretty desperate to resort to that. There have probably always been loan sharks too, though reading Trollope I think these mainly dealt with impoverished ‘gentlemen’. Hardly any working people owned their own home, and you had to save for years with a Building Society to get a mortgage.
At some point Debt became a real industry, and now must be one of the biggest in our society. Trading on people’s misery I call it, though others might say allowing people to realise their dreams. It is all a question of degree, and yes I did have a mortgage for years, though it was a wonderful day when I paid it off completely. My father’s words kept going round in my brain and every time I could manage to send a thousand off I did, also when interest rates went up and my repayments increased I kept them at that higher level when they dropped.
We are living in a never-never land. Interest rates are so low that it is easier (and cheaper) to buy on credit than to save up for things. But does this instant gratification bring any lasting satisfaction. I doubt it. In fact we are stoking the fires of a far worse financial crisis than last time. Banks have been shored up, and the system more or less mended and on we go in the same old way. Only with ridiculously low interest rates that must at some point go up. I hope the fan is angled away from me when the shit hits it though.