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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Surviving the credit crunch weekend open thread


    by El Cid
    12th October, 2008 at 5:05 pm    

    We’re all Lidl shoppers now

    Galbraith’s seminal The Great Crash topped my reading list last Christmas. But that still hasn’t stop me from being blown away by recent events. Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, AIG, HBOS, Hypo Real Estate… and it hasn’t even finished. In fact, it has only just started. “Your safest bet is to leave your money on deposit!”

    Well not if you are an ISaver customer. Saving money will never be the same again. But saving is exactly what we will have to do — to pay down debt, to live within our means, to build up a bigger deposit to put down on a house, and to prepare for a rainy day, in case we lose our jobs. The economic consequences of that will be even less spending, more job cuts, and slower growth. From Birmingham to Berlin, Baltimore to Beijing — we are on the cusp of humanity’s first-ever global recession. Worst still, if you are a Londoner — we’re right on the frontline, along with NY. But, hey, why be miserable!! Where’s that famous Blitz, post 7/7 devil-may-care spirit? Get over yourself!

    So can we best survive this test? What tips do you have for surviving the global credit crunch? What music will we be listening to, what films will we be watching, what books will we be reading, what food will we be cooking, what holidays will we be having? I’ve already been drawn to Money Don’t Matter by Prince, and I am thinking of buying a tent (I’ve never been on a camping holiday). I’m also looking to tap my brother-in-law trader for his wholesale merchants card: it’s time to get baked beans by the palett. What about you?


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    Filed in: Blog,Economics






    20 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Dave S — on 12th October, 2008 at 7:42 pm  

      Relearn forgotten skills. The more stuff we can do for ourselves, the better off we are - and no economic crisis can ever take that away from us.

      Time to build our local self sustainability and get the gift economy going in our communities - everything from food growing to plumbing to computer skills to making clothes and the rest. The less we rely on money as an intermediate step, the better.

      But then, credit crunch or not, we should be doing these things anyway.

      Music we’ll be listening to: try making your own with your mates! :-)

    2. Derek Wall — on 12th October, 2008 at 8:19 pm  

      My children are gardening assuming that there will be a major crisis, and extra veg will be worth its weight in gold rather credit default swap certs…google Roberto Perez and look at his advice.

      Mutuals and coops are good anyway but less likely to go under in the present climate…so if you have money leave it with them…

      For a detailed analysis of the situation http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/summary.shtml?x=562658
      is good.

      You might even find my anti-capitalist economics blog interesting http://babylonandbeyond.blogspot.com/2007/05/book-at-end-of-world.html

      happy baking…

    3. Boyo — on 12th October, 2008 at 9:00 pm  

      i bank with the co-op which is a mutual so i hope you’re right.

      the book “financial apocalypse” had it close - there’s a website too - Google it.

      this is just the fireworks - the ordnance has yet to hit the ground - expect a tsunami of mixed metaphors in about a year’s time…

      seriously though: it could work out, but there’s a possibility it will be a very rough ride, worse in the UK than the 80s because we’re so much more bloated now so it will feel as if we have lost more, particularly in personal and govt. spending etc.

      stores will close, job losses will increase - up to a million by this time next year - unrest could occur.

      this could result in serious insecurity (as welfare is cut) so security could be a good investment. Or a move to the continent where they have far fewer qualms against putting troops on the streets.

      of course this is only say a 10 per cent scenario, but i think many people have yet to understand the profound implications of what has happened: this model has not only broken down, but the driver has had such a shock she ain’t getting back in the car. The result: she’s going nowhere fast.

      warned you about metaphors.

    4. Sunny — on 12th October, 2008 at 9:44 pm  

      Its time to buy gold!

    5. Shuggy — on 12th October, 2008 at 10:15 pm  

      But saving is exactly what we will have to do

      Why? If you have a secure job you should do the opposite: spend, dammit, spend. Haven’t you heard of Keynes? He’s become quite popular recently. Rightly so.

      Galbraith was a Keynesian, btw - which leaves me wondering….

    6. sonia — on 13th October, 2008 at 3:55 am  

      devising an alternative way of understanding and denominating value - thinking more about the problems of ‘money’ as it is currently created, stop calling this the credit ‘crunch’ cos its about much more than that: getting people to think about this - this is a brilliant opportunity for people to actually start thinking about money and economics and so called ‘banking’.

    7. digitalcntrl — on 13th October, 2008 at 5:22 am  

      “Time to build our local self sustainability and get the gift economy going in our communities - everything from food growing to plumbing to computer skills to making clothes and the rest.”

      I have a wonderful idea. You guys can do all the work and then bring me all the gifts you want : ). I promise to let go of money and sit on my lazy ass sipping margaritas.

      No offense but the majority of humanity is not motivated by caring for their fellow man, only self-interest seems to do that trick.

    8. halima — on 13th October, 2008 at 7:58 am  

      Hmm. Trying not to panic. But i fear it’s not about banking and credit but much more… as Sonia says.

      Here’s a good discussion on the new economics foundation site - the folks that I like to read that might de-mystify things both from an economics and environmental perspective.

      Folks are talking abou the Tripple Crunch and comparisons with the Great Depression.

      http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/triplecrunch.aspx

      “Financial meltdown, soaring food and energy bills, high oil prices, accelerating climate change. The global economy faces a ‘triple crunch’ which could develop into a perfect storm to rival or surpass the Great Depression. Time is short.”

    9. Bhargavi — on 13th October, 2008 at 7:59 am  

      Interesting Op ed in the NYT this am … apparently Gordon did good.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/opinion/13krugman.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    10. Trofim — on 13th October, 2008 at 8:49 am  

      Baked beans? You should immediately invest in a pig and chickens. There are no more environmentally useful ways of converting any old rubbish into protein and providing high grade fertiliser for your garden. The concept of waste food will be one of the past. But you youngsters must forgive a bit of schadenfreude from somebody of 1947 vintage. I used to greeted with incredulity, contempt and laughter when I said I’d never had a debt, except for my mortgage, which I paid off in 5 years, on a very modest NHS income by living in my habitual ingrained penny-pinching manner. It will be fascinating watching the young coming to terms with reality over the next few years.

    11. Jai — on 13th October, 2008 at 11:21 am  

      El Cid gets two gold stars from me just for managing to find an excuse to mention the mighty Prince in his article.

    12. MaidMarian — on 13th October, 2008 at 12:39 pm  

      Trofim (10) - ‘I used to greeted with incredulity, contempt and laughter when I said I’d never had a debt, except for my mortgage, which I paid off in 5 years, on a very modest NHS income by living in my habitual ingrained penny-pinching manner. It will be fascinating watching the young coming to terms with reality over the next few years.’

      Erm… with all due respect, not paying off a mortgage in such a short space of time could barely be called reality for people who are young today. It takes rather more than, ‘penny pinching,’ to have a 5 year mortgage today. Perhaps there is laughter because the only alternative would be to cry. The incredulity may come from your attitude that, ‘schadenfreude,’ is a way to treat people who will never know (let alone experience) the cosseted ways you apparently did.

      You do not say whether you are amongst the generation that coined it in at the expense of the young when it comes to the housing market, but I would hazard a guess that the young today face a wildly more pressured life that you did. Maybe you were not of the generation that became known for the ‘loadsamoney’ attitude. Maybe you were or were not of the generation that raised the ‘loadsamoney’ attitude. But you certainly are not a part of the generation that will experience the fall-out. This may be partly why you experience the contempt you mention.

      I would be interested, what do you define as ‘young’ because I rather suspect that you are probably talking about people who fit the title ‘middle aged.’

      The so-called credit crunch is to my mind another manifestation of the generational robbery idea. I don’t agree with every word of this, but it is food for thought.

      http://www.newstatesman.com/life-and-society/2007/03/generation-pensions-housing

      No - the young today I imagine have experienced a far greater blast of reality than you. They surely are far more exposed to the credit crunch and will probably end up paying for fecklessness they could legitimately argue was largely the fault of the previous generation.

      To answer your question, what you seem to regard as a harmless, ‘bit of schadenfreude,’ is, on the fase of it, actually you being a rather nasty piece of work.

    13. El Cid — on 13th October, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

      Nice article Bhargavi — and on the day Krugman wins the Nobel prize for economics too!
      I wonder whether we’ll see that mentioned on the TV news tonight.

      Back on the subject of Lidl.
      It’s a dilemma.
      Take a tin of toma’aaahtas…. 19p. 19p!!… compared with.. i dunno, 50p at Tescos? That’s a no brainer. Being of southern European stock, I can make any ol’ tin of toma’aaahtas sing.

      But take a processed good like baked beans. The price differential is similar. But can you really compromise on quality there?

      I also bought some gorgonzola from Lidl. I’ve tasted more flavour in an Edam. What a load of rubbish.

      So watch’a gonna do?

    14. Refresh — on 13th October, 2008 at 3:10 pm  

      Do the Wall Street Shuffle!

    15. halima — on 13th October, 2008 at 3:28 pm  

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081013/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_sweden_nobel_economics

      Mr Krugman is definately the man of the moment, much deserved, and long time coming …

      The New York Times article i posted a few days ago on PP on the rescue plan …

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/22/opinion/22krugman.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    16. halima — on 13th October, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

      “This is terrifying,” he said, comparing it to the financial crisis that gripped Asia in the 1990s. “I had never thought that in my lifetime I would see anything that resembles the Great Depression, but this in fact does.”

      From above. Yikes.

    17. Trofim — on 13th October, 2008 at 10:13 pm  

      MaidMarian, you have a remarkable faccility for judging a person’s character simply on the basis of a couple of paragraphs.

      If you want to buy a house, why not wait till you’ve saved enough for reasonable deposit, like I did before I got a mortgage at the age of 42? Until then I lived either in a room in a nurses’ home, or in rented accommodation.
      If you want to own a car, why not wait till you’re 50, like I did. In the intervening years you can save for one.
      If you want to go to university, why not wait till you’re 30, like I did, with 14 years of work in factories and hospitals behind me. (I’d never heard of university till I was 25). By then you will have either have grown out of it, or you will be highly motivated and want to go for the right reasons, instead of wanting to drink, shag and party, and imagine that you can get a highly-paid job just because you’ve got a degree in meeja studies from “uni”.
      Want furniture? Look in a skip.
      What’s up with these kids? “Oh, it’s not fair. I want it now. I’ve got to have it now. I’ve got a right to have it now. It’s all the fault of those wicked old people”.

      And I looked up that Faisal bloke who wrote the article. He’s only a kid of 30! That means he was only born in the late 70′s. That was just yesterday. Kids. Can’t they cope with delayed gratification?

    18. MaidMarian — on 14th October, 2008 at 12:50 pm  

      Trofim - touched a nerve?

      You have a remarkable capacity for judging the actions of others by standards which can barely be said to be extant now. What a horrible person you come over as being!

      My friend was recently told that he was likely to struggle to get a mortgage after he turned 32. This with a very substantial deposit. My wife and I did indeed save for a double digit deposit, having lived in a single room. Presumably your sense of morality meant you did not take advantage of housing market hyperinflation?

      Neither of us drive, ultimately for financial reasons.

      You may not believe this, I realise and think I am making this up, but the labour market has changed somewhat. I would hazard a guess that tuition fees were not a concern you in your more cosseted time had to face?

      It is not nice to have words put into my mouth, but to read into my comment, ‘Oh, it’s not fair. I want it now. I’ve got to have it now. I’ve got a right to have it now. It’s all the fault of those wicked old people,’ is a stretch and then some! Are you denying totally the idea that maybe, just maybe there is a generational aspect to this? But then I suppose that denial is easier on the cosseted side of the divide.

      But what actually struck me most was this, ‘And I looked up that Faisal bloke who wrote the article. He’s only a kid of 30! That means he was only born in the late 70’s.’ Nothing to say about his arguments? Just a one dimensional judgment made on his date of birth.

      You may not think you are like loadsamoney, but your sentiments are exactly that. No, I can’t judge people by a couple of paragraphs, but in your case I make an exception.

      Delayed gratification - what a lovely way of smiling at the people you very likely kick.

    19. Dave S — on 14th October, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

      digitalcntrl @ 7:

      I have a wonderful idea. You guys can do all the work and then bring me all the gifts you want : ). I promise to let go of money and sit on my lazy ass sipping margaritas.

      No offense but the majority of humanity is not motivated by caring for their fellow man, only self-interest seems to do that trick.

      No offence taken, but we can create any sort of society we want to, and it’s in our self interest to do so. There are plenty of societies around the world (I can name some names but I’ll have to look them up) who still operate upon these principles - in fact, it’s even said that to call such behaviour a “gift economy” misses a lot of the subtleties about how the exchange of goods in those societies actually works. “Gift” is too blunt a word to describe it accurately.

      Just because predatory hyper capitalism is the flavour du jour in Western “civilisation” doesn’t really mean much. It wasn’t always this way here, and it doesn’t always need to be this way either. Look back even to the beginning of the 20th century (and I’m sure more recently, even today) and there are copious examples of the poorest in society sharing what little they have with each other.

      Really, the only way our current hyper capitalism “works” is by externalising the true costs of our consumption: onto the environment, onto those in majority world countries who make or grow the stuff we consume and so on. The wheels are already coming off this model, as (for example) the populations of China and India start to adopt more consumerist lifestyles and demand the same levels of consumption that we currently “enjoy”.

      Who’s going to be making their cheap goods in 20 years time? (Actually, the poetic justice part of me thinks it might be poverty stricken Brits and Americans… that’d be an interesting turn of events, wouldn’t it!)

      Even in ultra-capitalist Britain, there are plenty of examples of the gift economy at work. You don’t have to look much further than things like gardeners sharing vegetables with neighbours (actually, my mum almost pays her neighbours to take her excess garden produce away), people helping each other paint houses, mend cars, doing voluntary work. We could probably spend all day coming up with examples and not run out.

      Then there’s examples like the Open Source Software movement (which now poses a growing threat to the likes of Microsoft), Freecycle, Freeconomy and so on.

      Furthermore, there is mounting scientific evidence that altruism works in favour of group survival. I was reading this article in New Scientist about it only the other day. Ironically, you’ll need a paid subscription to read the full piece online, though I get hand-me-down editions of the paper mag from a friend of mine. Works for both of us - I reduce his collection of old magazines, and in return I get interesting reading material.

      Speaking of reciprocal altruism - look no further than file sharing communities to see the threat that the gift economy presents to current capitalist tendencies.

      I reckon hyper capitalism is just a phase that humanity will grow out of sooner or later - perhaps even reaching the point where we oust those who still cling to it from society. I for one hope we’ll grow out of it sooner, otherwise we might not be around to see later.

    20. MaidMarian — on 14th October, 2008 at 7:12 pm  

      Dave S (19) - ‘Really, the only way our current hyper capitalism “works” is by externalising the true costs of our consumption: onto the environment, onto those in majority world countries who make or grow the stuff we consume and so on.’

      Sorry if I am missing something relly obvious but what is this way of life you refer to where externalities are internalised?

      How could anyone establish a ‘world’ of basic equal per-person rights to an ecological/externalised footprint (presumably as an inalienable human right) in a manner that restricts growth, or I suppose contraction, to the equivalent level as natural productivity increases or decreases?

      Surely by their very nature externalities come from human activity?

      It may make some sense if there was a way of determining how well or badly societies (if such a thing could exist in your idea) can generate best value from natural resources, however even f that were possible wouldn’t geography cause a problem?

      For that matter, you may well struggle to convince me that there is a standardised gauge that could measure always and everywhere ‘human happiness.’

      For that matter I am not quite so certain that altruism and capitalism are quite as mutually exclusive as you suggest, or that altruism is per se a good. There are quite a few ‘poor’ estates I could name where, not that long ago, very strong home made alcohol (gin especially) was the foundation of a ‘gift economy.’

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