I am just watching the news on the BBC and they are talking about a recent report which seems to show that 52% of adults in Britain are having trouble paying their bills and making ends meet. In some areas it is even worse, in the North West where I live it is 60% while in Northern Ireland the figure is a staggering 66%.
Sorry guys, this ain’t news.
Well, the numbers may be but we all new the gist of this anyway. It seems to me, in the circles I move, that in order to have your own flat you need to be in a relationship and both need to be earning. I know many people in their thirties and even forties who are renting a room in a shared house. You see many ads in the papers for shared rooms which would be suitable for a young professional. I’m sorry but when is a shared house ever suitable for a young professional?
The rise of these payday loan companies is indicative of the fact that many people need to borrow money almost as soon as they get paid, it is also indicative of the fact that it is increasingly difficult to get hold of this kind of money from the banks. Incidentally the news also carries a story of a British bank having just employed a new boss, at £1,000,000 a year. The rise of “we buy your gold ” shops is also something of note, just before this downturn I sold 66 grams of gold in London and I had to search out the ages old gold dealers in the Hatton Garden area, but I got the right price and no glitzy, misleading, multi neon coloured ads.
Wait a second! What about other parts of the world?
Let’s take India because the gold market in India is massive. In fact in a country where, at least among the less well off, banks are not used as much, people invest in gold. There is a reason for this, firstly a mistrust in banks but also the ability to sell or pawn the gold when money is needed. Is this not identical to the situation in the poorer areas of Britain? Have no misunderstanding here, these gold shops and the cash converter type of shops where people in Britain can pawn their things are not to be found in the richer areas, but they are everywhere in the poorer areas.
Also in India, it is very common to borrow small amounts of money from moneylenders and to have to repay this money with huge amounts of interest added on. In Britain the people borrow money from payday lenders at huge amounts of interest, sometimes many thousands of percent. Again, this is identical in both countries, the difference being that in India this is, and always has been, accepted as normal and necessary, in Britain it is becoming so!
So back to the original point of nearly half of the population having trouble paying bills and making ends meet. Yeah, if you have ever been to India you will know that it is not a poor country, it is a country with a great many poor people. There are also a great many rich people. Could it be the case that half the population have trouble making ends meet? Yes, I believe it could!
India and Britain are not so dissimilar after all it seems, the players look different but the systems are the same.
It has been this way for a very long time, but while India grows as a world and industrial power, we shrink and our people become more and more impoverished.
We are not alone! look at Cyprus, Greece, Spain etc. Maybe it just is the case that Europe has had it’s day, we are making way for other powers to grow up in our place, India, China and Brazil among them!
Europe is too big and powerful to fall though, isn’t it?
I’m sure that that is exactly how the Khmer civilization felt, and the Greeks, and the Romans and the Mayans for that matter.