So you’re reading the *new* People & Planet blog huh? Presumably that must mean you’re interested to listen to the ideas and opinions of people around you. Well, perhaps you should give yourself a pat on the back then – because that puts you one step ahead of our beloved Mayor of London.
Two weeks ago the right Lordfull Boris Woop-se-daisy-am-I-on-have-I-got-news-for-you-or-running-London-today-urm-I-forget Johnson donated us, the good public (or at least the Telegraph reading portion), with some of his pearls of wittily crafted but ultimately short-sighted and dangerously irresponsible ‘wisdom’
Have a read – go on, I dare you.
You read it yet?
Well, yes indeedy, Boris would have us spend more bucks to get out of the recession, which after all, makes perfect sense if you focus on the very troublesome problem of consumer spending falling causing shops and their suppliers of various ilks shutting down, meaning fewer jobs. Simple right? Not buy stuff equals no jobs. Therefore buy more stuff equals jobs. Brilliant Mr. Johnson, you’ve done it again!
No infact the reason I lampoon the right honorable chap is because there is no way he listened to a damn thing any of his economic advisers said when making these apparently ingenious deductions.
In case you’ve been in a cave (which by the way, is a great way to spend a day, but perhaps not 6 months) something called the credit crunch has ocurred – which when boiled down and separated into its constituent fluids, can be explained something like this: companies made truck loads of cash so had loads to invest, so you could get money on the cheap, so people borrowed too much for too little cost, and lenders made a lot from selling crap loans to each other, before realising it was all terrible mess and running away to Hawaii leaving us to pick up the pieces (thanks).
So what do you notice about this problem and Boris Johnson’s solution? Well, it seems a lot like spending more will help out the high street meaning companies succeed again and make lots of money so have lots to invest and… oh dear we’ve done it again.
Yes indeedy it’s about time we all, and not just our dear leaders, woke up to a strikingly unpolitically palettable truth: contraction is not a bad thing. We need our economy to get smaller so we can focus on producing what we need (things like energy and food), and stop producing things we don’t.
If you are living in a world where there’s loads of stuff knocking about to use up, then it makes sense to do more to make the most of it. But as most economists will tell you, that is not the world of the 21st century. Telling people to spend more is downright irresponsible. Cheap fuel, minerals, even food and water are becoming scarcer. This is not about the environment anymore, this is barely even about long term thinking (unless you count 5 years as long term). We need to plan our economy to wind down at a decent pace, because if we just keep trying to spend more, we will crash and burn. This is a great opportunity for a rethink that must not be wasted. And if it takes a massive failure by idiot bankers and a government who was happy to let them idiot-up everything to kick start the process, then so be it.
This ladies and gents is view from the top, the bad-news-blog. Stay tuned!
This post was originally published on the People & Planet Blog.