Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nothing quite lifts the spirits like a global recession, does it?

I’ve already been told off for gloom and scare mongering about house prices by mentioning, with a certain amount of undisguised glee, that the most dire predictions are of a fall of fifty percent and a long slow recovery that will only see them returned to their pre credit-crunch levels by 2017. Apparently I’m not supposed to mention this as it might upset people.

Red rag to a bull, I’m afraid.

Of course when the property market was booming and poor saps like me whose parents couldn’t rustle up a tidy deposit for them and who were stuck on a middling joint income facing a life of flatshares and exorbitant rents, well, certainly no-one ever had the bad taste to repeatedly go on about how lucky (or, well, really, basicaly, smart) they were to have got a flat in Up and Coming area X, and what a great investment it had turned out to be. It’s actually increased in value by six thousand percent in two days. A certain kind of faux-disingenuous gloating over their own excellent judgement and increased purchasing power now they could wilfully bump up their debts and offset it against their ever-expanding equity. Going on holiday again? That must be expensive. Oh, it doesn’t matter I’m seven thousand times richer than I was half an hour ago, my perspicaciously purchased bedsit in the much-sought-after Peckham Conservation Quadrangle has quintupled in value since the start of this conversation!

So if you think I’m not going to milk your impending penury for all I can you’ve got another thing coming. The parties over, innit!? Ten years of blindly binging on cheap credit, ears glued to any idiot that told you it can last forever, in debt up to your eyeballs cause you couldn’t resist all those trinkets, gimmicks and pseudo-experiences that late capitalist life was supposed to thrive on providing you with ad infinitum. The problem of economics has finally been solved, the dismal science gone dayglo! It’s all looking a bit grey and problematic these days though isn’t it? Poor you. Gas bill’s up forty percent you say? Seen the price of food in the shops? Filling up the Range Rover prohibitive? Inflation creeping back? Layoffs? Fibbed a bit on your mortgage application, desperate to join in the dizzy rush to success and social standing and finding it a bit of a stretch? Hang on, you didn’t see this coming? You who were always so keen to display the superlative wisdom of all your financial dealings? And now you want a bit of sympathy, a bit of pussyfooting around your monumental fuck ups? And maybe a bit of a help from the government, who should have kept their nose out and not tried to cool it when the market was booming and pricing lots of people out, but whose intervention is suddenly acceptable now Tarquin’s trust fund is looking a lot shakier, now that holiday home you were going to retire to in Spain has just plummeted in value? Strikes? Shortages? Petrol pumps running dry? The government stepping in to shore up industry with tax payer’s money! Why it’s just like the bad old days before the new economy was Magiked into being. Clearly what we need is thirty years of Friedmanite deregulation to put a stop once and for all to these immemorial evils and bring History to a close, that’ll be the solution, clearly there is no alternative. Ah hang on, we’ve just had that you say and this is the consequence? Same shit, new, Neo-Liberal flavour? Well at least we’ve had thirty years of wealth trickling down into the parched mouths of the poor, solving the problem of poverty once and for all, as only the markets can. Hang on, child poverty is more than twice the level it was in 1978? Not everyone has been sharing in that dream of a nice house with nice kids and a nice partner all eating nice food around the nice table and planning the next nice holiday with their nice friends? Shop till you drop? Live for today on the infinitely dilating never-never of the weightless economy?

Ahh well. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s all just scaremongering and negativity. It’ll sort itself out, won’t it? It has to. It just HAS to. Just like recycling those copies of the Guardian and fretting over food miles in Waitrose will sort out resource shortage and help fight global warming. I know, I know, a recession affects everyone, not just the well–off. But then that’s what’s so heart warming about it, isn’t it? We’re all in the same leaky, captain-less sloop when there’s a downturn. The boom only benefits a few. No need to have too much nostalgia for that lost Blitz spirit, I’m sure we’ll all be kipping down on the Underground platforms together before too long.

Maybe it will sort itself out, but honestly I’m sure you wouldn’t be so mean as to not allow me a little wallowing in the nasty mire of my own resentment now this window of opportunity has opened up for me, would you? I’m sure it will be reassuringly slammed shut again soon. Indulge me. After all, we’re none of us bad people, really, are we, deep down.

4 comments:

Jake said...

So its not just me feeling cheery at the impending economic implode.

steve57 said...

Just think, no more patronising 'Oh but you really need to get your foot on the property ladder before it's too late, you know?'.

Pompous fucks... Now who's bringing up house prices in conversation, huh? HUH?

Anonymous said...

I found that during the last recession there was a lot more healthy interaction between classes, races, employed and unemployed, better access to housing, less exclusive door policies and less twatty obsession with the trendiest gadgets, districts, clothes etc.
God forbid I'd get nostalgic for the Major years, but it's nice to see the bubble of 'boom' (for some) smugness finally bursting. Funny how people who constantly talked about house prices two years ago are now talking about looking for jobs...

chimp said...

tank yu