Since I signed up to participate in Blog Action Day and saw that the topic was “poverty” the global economic meltdown has moved from being a relatively minor blip in the US (and some other’s) economy to what the pundits are comparing to the Great Depression. The banking system has for decades enabled many to act rich as they spend borrowed resources that they have neither grown nor earned.
Banks have achieved this “something for nothing” gift by loaning many, many times more money than they have themselves been loaned. This ensured that saving was not well rewarded, while spending was. Banks and others vied with each other as they woed the borrowers. (When was the last time you saw a TV ad for a banks savings interest rate, how many ads have you seen recently – or at least before the “shame” of governments throwing money at them to “bail them out” – begging you to borrow more? If you pay off your credit card each month you will be used to the company raising your cretit limit higher and higher (Till it becomes a large fraction of your annual pay!) in the hopes of enticing you into accepting a loan.
And now the house of cards has begun to fall.
And now we see real poverty, not among bankers and financiers (they have their Platinum Parachutes, negotiated long ago in the boomtime days) but among those already poor.
- Watch as the prices of commodities, like coffee, cocao, rubber and the other products poor peasant farmer produce tumble – more people who cannot afford medical care for sick family members.
- Listen as charities that feed the refugees, with falling donations, have to cut the meagre allowances of those who cannot grow their own because war-lords and “governments” drive them from their land.
This is what poverty means in the wake of economic crisis, but don’t worry, you will not be troubled (much) by seeing it on your TV or reading dense paragraphs of analysis of their plight in your newspaper. The focus will remain on how to protect the rich from the consequences of greed, not on how to protect the poor from disaster. NZ and the USA have elections at present. Anyone care to guess how often the world’s poorest and most exploited will get a mention as the politicians bid for your votes?