Looks like there’s a major financial crisis. The Guardian has asked me via a poll if I think a crash is likely. Yes. Yes, I do.
Actually, I don’t know, but I voted yes pour encourager les autres. If enough people vote yes in the poll, and enough people look at the poll to think -ohmigod there’s going to be a crash- then that makes the possibility of a crash more likely. And, I figure, with the cold eye of a revolutionary, things are always far more interesting when you have geezers in suits running around major financial centres tearing out their hair and beating their chests, howling with rage.
I take it all back. Stock market crashes are horrible things. Luckily, all the right men are making all the right noises:
US president George Bush tried to calm the situation, telling reporters that the problems in sub-prime mortgages were unlikely to spread to the wider credit market. “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” he said, although he accepted there was a need for better financial education on the part of mortgage borrowers, whose struggle to keep up repayments is at the root of the crisis. “Anyone who loses their house is someone we’ve got to show enormous empathy for,” he said. “A lot of people have signed up for things when they’ve not been sure what they’re agreeing to.”
Bush is right to point the finger at the stupid poor people who take out loans they can’t pay off. It’s not as if banks practically begged them to take out credit by way of massive propaganda campaigns, is it? It’s not as if we live in societies where unless you have more stuff to display you’re a complete failure, or anything like that. And it’s not as if you could ever get the impression that you’re a complete failure from watching advertisements and TV programmes. Hell, it’s not as if we live in societies where being rich is glorified or anything like that.
Goddamm homeowners. If they’re not slumped in front of the TV watching How Clean Is Your Dog’s Wife Swap?, they’re taking out loans they can’t afford to repay, causing world stock markets to plunge.
Are these people complete morons? Why can’t they just buy a big half-hundredweight bag of oats every month to keep them going on the nutrition front, with 2 dozen lemons or so to ward off scurvy.
That would be the first step toward paying off their debts and greater stability in the markets, and whilst I don’t think that the likes of Kraft or Masterfoods or Unilever would be too happy about it at first, I’m sure they’d come round to it when they realised that that their shrunken profits are all to the greater good. The people who run these institutions are decent people, after all, with a sterner grip on financial reality.
Then, the second step would be that they should do the decent thing and buy an old banger for 500 quid instead of a spanking new shiny thing for 20 grand on credit. Better still, they should start using public transport. Sure General Motors, Ford and the other dudes wouldn’t mind at all, to say nothing of the banks who make a profit on the credit, the oil companies, the supermarkets whose revenue comes from car-bound consumers, and Kraft, Masterfoods and Unilever and the likes.
Perhaps one way of putting a halt to the crash would be if all these uptight people in financial institutions spent the rest of the day in the pub, and had a good long think about things over the weekend. Open a nice bottle of wine tomorrow afternoon, have a long lie-in on Sunday. By Monday they’ll be living in a perfectly new manner, if -if, in short, anything turns up.