Thursday, August 11, 2011

Living with a busted boom

We hear a great deal about the economy these days, unsurprisingly, and more particularly about whether or not the British Government is going the right way about dealing with our national debt.  I'm not an economist and I don't claim to know the best way to deal with a debt so huge that the interest repayments on it are unimaginably high.  I do have an instinct that we've got to do something about reducing it, but it worries me that doing so seems to mean hurting some of those least able to protect themselves from the impact but also least to blame for the problems. 
I've just spent two weeks in Ireland, visiting family and having a wonderfully relaxing holiday.  But throughout the time there I was reminded regularly of the problems that come with tackling the national finance crisis too late.  People talked of the government perhaps bulldozing half built housing and returning the land to agriculture because no-one could afford to finish the buildings nor to buy them if they were finished.  I was told in one parish that10 young people emigrated to Australia this year and tried to imagine 10 young people from Egglescliffe just going like that, all in one group - the loss to the local community and the heartache for the families, knowing that they wouldn't see them again perhaps for years.  I talked with small B&B owners struggling to keep their businesses going while the government quango which now owns many bigger hotels offers rooms at cut rates to recoup some of the bank bail-out money.  And so it went on. 
No, I'm not an economist.  I don't understand how global money markets work.  But I do understand that some people made and are still making decisions on that scale with no apparent regard for the human consequences, whether it's the B&B owner in Ireland, the redundant council worker in England or the starving refugee in Somalia.  Man's inhumanity to man goes on.

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