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UK Doom & Gloom

Doom & Gloom

Like anyone living in the UK today I am as aware as the next person of the real doom that surrounds us all in our day to day lives. If you watch a news channel, read a newspaper, or listen to the radio you can not escape the stories of rising prices, falling house values or the impact of some Hicksville American bank. The “credit crunch” and its effects are all around us.

But as I sat on the London underground this morning, listening to my iPod, heading to work, reading my paper, I found myself looking at those around me, and wondering is life really all that bad. Yes I know there will be people for whom things are harder, but in general is it really as bad as the media are painting it. I suppose if I had a degree in economics, I could read between the lines better, or make more sense of the potential outcome of all this. But as I don’t I can just go by how my fellow Londoners appear. And to me they look the same as they always have.

Many years ago I worked, for a very short time, in PR. And from that time my view of what I read, or heard, via the media, has really changed. So many stories are “created”, they are manufactured for a third parties selfish motive. And I am sure that people make money in both a bear and bull market then they could be the source of such doom and gloom.

There are of course some real advantages to lower house prices, and even to higher oil prices, maybe not in the short term, but over the next few years. If oil priced its self out of use, and alternatives were created, we might have less wars, and, a greener planet. Both of which would be good steps forward. If more Londoners got on their bike over the next year that would be a good thing, if we all learned not to waste so much food that would be a really good thing, and if us having to watch the pennies for a while thought us all to be that little less materialistic and susceptible to the “throw-away” society then that has to be a positive improvement. A bit like going on a diet, no fun at the time, but far better for us all in the long run.

Another quirk of these times is the clamour for support, for “justice”, when a company like a bank goes into trouble. These are the same people who have made money out of the good times, but never felt like giving it back. If you invest in a fund of some sort, and the company does well, you earn from that, but if it fails, you lose. So why should tax payers then bail you out. The same must be true regarding houses. When my house went up and up and up in value, I was not there thinking I should give some of this back, all I could see is that every other house was also going up, so I was just living under the status quo. And the same situation must now be the case as they go down. 

My point is this, despite the obvious increases in our daily costs, and for however long they last, are we really worse off, are we really living a life of doom and gloom. Are there enough obvious long term benefits to today’s situation that somehow in our minds we can see past the short term pain, or is it that day to day we just don’t see the pain that some people are talking up. After all a house is only valued by what someone is willing to pay, or by what they are told it is worth. At the end of all this, if a lowering in the number of estate agents is one impact, then maybe we will all be thanking those greedy American banks after all.


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