Throw on the breaks. Ease it up. Broadcast a “Credit Crunch”.
A what? I’d like to say I understood what this all meant. All this panic on the TV, splashed across my daily broadsheet, rattling in my ear while I try to get on with my life. Two people warned me about this economic slump over a year ago before all this became public, one a king fraudster, on the fiddle most of his life, robbing from the rich as he saw it, a “champion for the people” in his own words. The other a young dishwasher, heavily influenced from his families religious beliefs, a heavy Christian kid who called by my home in the summer, stayed on the doorstep, spoke to me a great farewell, all smiles, a confidence about him that made me feel uncomfortable about my own belief. He told me about the world, about his religious calling and that we would probably never meet again. Finally, before he left he warned for me to be careful, that the start of the end of it all would begin with a world wide economical crash. He told me the world as I new it was coming to an end.
Separately and one with out the other I would have shunned their motivation for feeding me such spin, but two mad people with similar insight into my future, this made me consider my chances of a life to old age.
So is this the end of the world as we know it? In a way I hope so. I hope it is the end of the world as I see it, a world heading downwards in an uncontrollable way that makes us all dizzy and confused, blind to the reality of it all. I’d like to think that we can throw on the breaks a little, slow everything down.
We have fallen in to this terrible habit of allowing ourselves the luxury of a gaggle of men in bespoke suits, arguing the toss for our future, to be our saving grace. We have quite easily given up our democratic right with one vote and little else of our time, thought or effort.
We are happy to speed around the streets in our shiny new cars, little care for any pedestrian who might dawdle in our path, yes we have brakes but our horns are more for us. Yes us Brits with our goals and wants, our desires and needs we speed through our days notching up our social status, measuring our success by how many friends we have on our social networking site, how fashionable we look, how big or well situated our abode, how white our teeth, how big our debt. Maggie may be quoted as saying there was no such thing as society, because no matter what context she truly meant it, the fact there is indeed no such thing as society, seems oh so very true.
So while we leave the men of business and the politicians, if they are not one and the same, to watch our interests and run our island, all we need do is get on with our freedom, right? …..Wrong. We need to be involved in our community and keep asking questions, finding solutions.
While our youth dream of being pop stars, footballers, stage stars, great people of media, while our future generations are all dancing, jazz handing the final serenade in some wonderful final show the rest of us will be at home counting our possessions, feeding our face with St Michaels gooey chocolate pudding, raspberry trifle, rich channel island clotted cream, guzzling organic apple and cranberry juice, binge drinking in our local bar doing what we do best, wondering where it all went wrong, looking for who’s to blame, thinking to ourselves, surely those people we gave our vote, they’ll clean up all this mess.
My French friend voiced his opinion of the financial situation the west is finding itself in to me in his French/English accent that I often find difficult to take seriously – a left over comical crumb from my childhood experiences of watching Peter Sellers. “It happened before and it recovered, it will recover again.” He said to me. What great optimism, or foolish ignorance, I thought. I’d expected he would be riled to the point of revolt, throw up his black flag in protest, he is a Lyonnais, home of the black flag, but he was nonchalant about it all. Maybe he was just hungry, maybe he was right.
For me, I believe we sit back too much, we allow our world to be controlled by men who take us to war, men who turn who we are, our identities, into targets, into victims of a distant war. We become publicity tools for third world freedom fighters. We become urged to be fearful, there is a threat they tell us. It makes me think that if they can do this to me, what else will they do.
You could call it the great British resilience, a “fingers up” to anyone who dare threaten our way of life or you could call it plain ignorance, an unwillingness to actually play a role in anything outside of our own little world because in times when we should be asking questions we do what we do best, us in the west, we get on with our lives, we spend, spend, spend, we fill our pockets with credit and debt, allowing us to feed our desires. We continue pampering ourselves with things we don’t even need. Just take a look at our supermarkets, as soon as we arrive we are overwhelmed with aisles of choice, too much choice. There is no room to breath out there on the street with out having some consumption opportunity thrust in our face which we happily accept. We don’t only accept it, we want more, we want to be a part of it – all of this, all for us?
That’s how it is in our western world, we are all capitalists now. That’s why we are overwhelmed with all this choice, everyone is out to make a buck, from the man with his reggae sauce to the “buy to let” media influenced army of aspiring property tycoons, a nation of shopkeepers indeed.
There is the possibility that all these possessions and acts that give us a feeling of purpose could in the end amount to nothing but social gout. We voyeur in our homes, watching the world around us, wondering how and where we will fit next, we toe the line hoping that one day we will get our shot at a little bit of capitalism. We don’t give a shit about anything else, not really, we don’t even give a shit where we are headed, as long as we feel good, as long as in the end we get what we want.
Maybe we should take this credit crunch as a wake up call, a slap in the face. We should stop and consider just exactly where we are headed here, have a look at the mess we are in. Maybe sit down and start taking things a little more seriously.
I don’t know if this is the beginning of the end. I am not sure how we will get through it. My mother always told me that you should never borrow from Peter to pay Paul, in a way that is what we are doing to ourselves. What I do know, what we will all feel if this recession we are in turns in to a long depression, is that everything we could ever consider as valuable will become worthless. When our jobs, our homes, the food in our cupboards, become threatened we will wonder how we ever let it happen and maybe by then it will be to late for us to recover. Maybe we need to loose our selfish capitalist fervor and try a bit of social selflessness. See if we can’t get through this with a positive outcome.