You may have come across the news that the world’s economy is in the gutter, and it’s not looking at the stars.
The bubble has burst, and as the US and European economies in particular have discovered, that bubble was full of class-A bile. The question is: How far will it go? Or, more to the point: How badly will it affect us?
Let me reassure you by saying that I haven’t the faintest idea. The paranoid side of me can picture my family and friends wearing big leather shoes lining up outside a factory with tin bowls and sad faces. The optimist sees that same picture, just with slightly better shoes. Things will get worse before they get better.
There is an upside to all this, though. In the same way that the pain in your toe disappears when you are smashed in the face with a spade, the magnitude of the financial crisis may well replace our trivial concerns with more weighty and considerable issues.
Before Al Gore got his laptop out and made us feel bad about melting ice caps, most of us didn’t know much about the earth. To us, it was a great big fun-ball that made oranges and rivers and sunsets for our enjoyment.
Now, its atmosphere full of car fumes and cow methane, it’s annoyed and sending hurricanes at the American coast every week. Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Piers. Hurricane Rosalita.
Soon, they will run out of names and start mixing them like parents in Benoni. Hurricane Chadwin. Hurricane Bradford. Hurricane Chantony.
Things have got so serious all of a sudden. It appears that, after all, we are accountable for our actions. Borrowing money is a bad idea. Hummers are bad for the environment. Greed backfires. After a spell of indulgence, we are beginning to wake up to an almighty hangover.
South Africa’s banks have been among the least effected, mainly because their lending policies are far safer than those of their American counterparts, whose criteria appeared to be: ‘All citizens with a face and at least one pair of shorts as surety can qualify for credit’. The ‘Land of the Free’ will soon mean more than it set out to.
Speaking of free – another heads up about the Vespa competition. Send in your entry before the 7th of November. Enter now, or forever hold your peace. Or something. Just enter.