Uppermost in many people’s minds of late is the state of the world economy and how it will affect them personally.
Many worry, with just cause, about their pensions being eroded almost daily as billions are wiped off the value of shares and property values plummet.
How did we come to this, people say. Why is the country, in fact the western world, in so much debt with entire countries threatening to default?
For instance, I was alarmed to read the other day that Microsoft’s Bill Gates has lost a fortune and that his net value has plunged from 67 billion Dollars to a mere 58 billion.
Poor man must be beside himself with worry. I mean, to lose your wallet in the supermarket is one thing but to misplace 9 billion…Well I mean, how is it possible?
Poor old Billy boy had it the day before so where is it?
Well, it’s no good asking me of course. I’m as confused as the next guy. You see one day there was all this money swilling around and then, almost overnight, it was gone.
One day, everyone could take out a 110-per-cent mortgage on a hugely overvalued house, based on 20 times their annual salary with repayments over 87 years, and the next day…Well they couldn’t afford to go to the pub.
So I ask you, where did the money go? Did they burn it? Did one of James Bond’s villains hatch some dastardly plan to take over the world by nicking all the cash?
Well, it’s no good asking me of course…That’s right, (you’re catching on), I’m as confused as the next guy.
But as I sat and pondered these grave and incredibly complex issues on my balcony, watching the comings and goings of customers at the large supermarket below, something struck me.
Like a bolt from the blue I discovered how we came to find ourselves in the state we are in, burdened with massive personal and national debt, while billions, nay, trillions of Pounds, Euros and Dollars disappeared before our very eyes.
The answer, of course, is obvious…
There you are… The whole world of economics comes down to broom handles.
You see, among the trolleys of shopping, piled-high with enough food and drink to survive nuclear Armageddon, there they were…Broom handles.
I tell you, enough broom handles to satisfy an army of ‘Triggers’ for the rest of their working lives are flying out of my local supermarket daily.
Well… Quite a few anyway.
Now, growing up, I don’t remember my parents buying a broom handle. O.K., maybe one. But why would they?
It was a long piece of solid pine, screwed to the broom head, fit for purpose and almost guaranteed to last forever, unless you took a saw to it.
Today, we have metal broom handles. Even stronger, you may think. But this new breed of broom handle is covered in a plastic coating, to give a better grip, I suppose.
Trouble is, the plastic coating comes off and so…Yes, you’ve got it. People go out and buy a new broom handle.
Well… It doesn’t matter. They are cheap enough so why complain that the bloody thing isn’t fit for purpose.
So there you have it. Rubbish, build not to last.
The entire world economy built on the assumption that we will carry on buying rubbish, bolstered by an endless supply of monopoly money.
But hey…Not to worry… It’s really cheap so just buy a new one and keep spending money.
It makes the world go around and we need the world to keep spinning because, if it stops…Well, God forbid, we might have to go back to using wooden Broom Handles.