Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Second blow

TV ad tonight: Woolworths children's jeans £2. I said, you wouldn't have got a zip for £2 a few years ago. (So many Birmingham kids I used to teach years ago thought school didn't matter, they'd be getting a job at Tucker Fasteners anyway. That or Lucas' - now joining the list of nostalgia subjects.)

Then a thought: when the recession really bites, the price war will be unrestrained. I don't know what is still manufactured in Britain, but in the second phase, when the poor become acutely cost-conscious, I can't see domestic manufacturers staying in business.

Of course, with social benefits still generous, we're not there yet (they're still buying their kids Xboxes and Lacoste trainers, while SoSecurity lay on taxis to take the tearaways to school-for-the-expelled); but wait for the tax and benefit reviews when public finances finally unravel.

And if I ever do get another new car (the Fiat Brava is kept going on a radiator refill every Saturday), maybe it's the Tata Nano for me.

I'm looking at checkmate and trying not to believe it. But that's my problem; the difference between Western waster education and Chinese school is too clear. And we'll be a sort of nationwide museum of once-were-workers. But I don't want to live in the past.


Schadenfreude said...

Two points:

The danger is that the growing Chinese population will demand all the food and have the money to pay for it, leaving bankrupt Britain starving to death. I know that people don't want to believe that sort of thing, but we are highly reliant on food imports and could end up begging for special favours. World wars start for much less - (after all, if you are starving to death joining the army to get fed and invade somewhere that has food might seem like the only sensible alternative).

On the subject of education I am rather split. Sure, for many students the education system is a failure, but you see I travel a lot around the world and the Brits have a lot going for them in some respects. The education system seems to generate a lot of creative people (by accident perhaps?). Nowhere else can manage to do the same anymore. Even the Americans seem increasingly relaint on British talent for making movies.

The problem is the current government. We only have limited human resources. If we spend all those human resources building new schools, new hospitals, stuffing them with new staff and so on then we don't have enough employees in wealth creation. The economy is unbalanced. It might be nice to have these things, but we simply can't afford them. Just not enough people. The only solution is to make the public sector more efficient, but Labour won't do that. Unfortunately, break neck public spending only encourages the private sector to chase after the governmnet £, which makes matters worse.

John East said...

Cheer up. I expect our decline will not be as a whole nation, whereby every individual suffers equally under some sick socialist model. When the decline sets in it will be every man and woman for themselves, and the niceties of Western liberalism will be forgotten.
Even in the most dysfunctional and bankrupt societies of today there are many winners and losers. You just have to plan your affairs so that you are one of the winners.


JE: Hoboy... don't we just love a challenge?

S: Can you run an economy entirely on creatives?

Baht At said...

there is a quality point to these cheap jeans - I have a perfectly wearable pair of Brutus Gold jeans bought 30 years ago, a pair of Asda £4 jeans lasted less than a week because when snagged on a nail they ripped.

The Brutus Jeans wouldn't do that.

The fact that we are prepared to market and buy such tat as the £4 jeans says alot about how poor we have become


Yeah, shabbification, BA. But that's gone on a long while - when I took my grandfather's bolt of cloth into a tailor's to get me a suit made, he remarked that you simply couldn't get material of that quality any more. That was some 20 years ago.

dearieme said...

I wonder if there's a tailor who could buy a bit of cloth and expand my old kilt for me? Then I need never buy trousers again. Hm.

Semaj Mahgih said...

when the poor become acutely cost-conscious, I can't see domestic manufacturers staying in business.

I'm sure that's part of the game plan - then people will have no recourse but to buy global conglom.