Thursday, 13 October 2011

When Money is like Water, is it time to build an Ark?

Rain, Rain, Rain... and the burn keeps rising!
Philosophically speaking, this is the society in which we live!

Here in Scotland, it isn't unusual to get wet weather. It isn't unusual for the ground to show signs of frost from October all the way through to June and I've seen snow on the ground in late May, so I'm not unduly worried by the recent wet spell we've had, despite the burn being about a metre deeper that it was a fortnight ago.

The waters may be deep and troubled, but our own simple bridge, thankfully, remains intact - for now!

It would be a lie to say I'm not a little jealous of the mini-heatwave experienced by our English counterparts, but that is only because it was plastered all over the news on TV, radio and Internet practically every day, otherwise, I wouldn't have known. (I do wish the BBC would realise that the UK consists of several different countries and that it isn't all a poorly built extension of London and the south of England.)

There is an easy solution - switch off the TV/Radio/Internet and, for added entertainment, imagine what would happen if they continually broadcast our weather to the much softer southerners every day. That highly amuses me but I've come to depend on the Internet for my communications with the outside world, so cutting that off isn't something I could happily live without - can you even begin to imagine that?

But all this continual wet weather is making me think, again, about Noah's Ark and how that old fellow went about preparing for what he believed was about to happen. Yes, it may well be a Bible story, it may well be read and understood in its literal sense or it may well be nothing more than a symbolic representation of a general set of circumstances, the understanding of which we are all free to interpret in whichever way we see fit. But, even as a fable, the moral of that story surely has to be that we pay heed to warnings, try our best and be prepared to take whichever actions are required to steer us from ruin.

The current economic climate is slowly grinding many of us down. We all need to make the choice to either sink or swim. With every day that passes, some new 'con' emerges to try and manipulate us into spending our money in ways that we don't really need, so we should be prepared to fight back.

For some, these peaks and troughs symbolise the potential for financial ruin, so we try to prepare ourselves and share whatever little knowledge we have with others, in the hope that they, too, can ride out the impending storm.

But what of those who ignore all the warnings? Will they simply be swept away in a tide of debt, whilst others battle to stay afloat in a rickety old boat filled with home produce, foraged fruit and whatever milk, meat and eggs are available from what's breeding on that boat? Will we be cast adrift on a sea of other people's debt, drifting uncontrollably until the tide turns and we can find a safe haven for our money and our possessions? Should we even worry about it? We could, afterall, sit back and let others bale us out of our sinking ships. (Many do!) The trouble with this, however, is that the Governments and big financial institutions themselves look to be aboard sinking ships and we are baling them out!

The good ship Frugaldom has sailed, we are too late to turn back in the hope of finding a sunny, warm new land of full employment and financial stability for all. This world is not an equal world, it is dominated by a minority whose only claim to fame is their ability to earn millions or else shout loudly enough to be heard over the waves, declaring to all exactly how those millions should be spent. Worse still, if we don't like it, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. The simple fact is, money talks and we of the frugal brigade have almost no voice.

NOBODY needs vast amounts of money simply to survive. But we are human, we are of a competitive nature, we have dominant males within our species who will continue to fight for power over lands and people, or even homes and families. (I'm a sexist, ok? Deal with it!)

Regardless of how low down the pecking order anyone may feel, there will ALWAYS be someone or something lower, just as there will ALWAYS be someone or something who is above and beyond their reach, regardless of how much they try, how hard they work or how much they earn.

It's the very nature of life itself and we need to learn to embrace that in a way that we can enjoy the challenge. Money is not everything. Look at our simple little bridge, with its tumultous flood waters crashing between those strong and reliable banks. Cash values, like the water, can rise and fall.  Just as easily as that stream could dry up during any drought, so too could those banks completely collapse, sending the water in all directions; there's simply too much off it to handle. It's a bit like carrying all your eggs in one basket, then dropping your basket.

Society is as precarious as the very water that falls from the sky - each molecule is based on nothing more than a single oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. We can make it and we can break it, but we can never stop it raining of its own accord.

I still can't decide what's for the best.

Do we hope the banks, which are already being shored up by our cash, hold indefinitely to ensure a safe flow of our own cash?

Do we somehow stem the flow or our own cash in a way that ensures it need not rely on the support of the banks?

What do we do?

Whichever way we look at it, whether the water represents surplus cash or rising debts, the more there is of it, the easier it is for those banks to collapse under the extra pressure.

Anyone care to comment?

NYK Media


  1. Well said. I have no time for banks what so ever. Saying that. The people at my local Credit Union are nothing short of saints! We would have no roof, sanitation or floorcoverings if it wasn't for the credit union. They lent me ten thousand Euros and I had no job! Lets have co-operative banks and even co-operative book publishing? Everybody needs credit some time!

  2. That's why I enjoy the various bartering systems so much. I would far prefer to have everything I needed and know I could afford it in some way, rather than be burdened with the worry of cash debts. Unfortunately, there are so many people who don't seem to be able to see past their bank balances that alternative ways of redressing any imbalance are missed.

    Credit where credit is due, I don't think it should be purely based on cash with an expectation that it be paid back with exorbitant interest. Any employer investing time and money in an employee, in my opinion, should work equally both ways, but employees are seldom made to feel their worth.

    Could debate this forever, it's such a fascinating topic.

    I'll bring up the co-operative topic in the forums, I think, we'll see what develops.

  3. Sometimes (OFTEN!!) would rather put my money in a metal box I have cached away than in the bank for them to use and then try to give me almost NOTHING on interest on said deposit, which wouold be a ridiculous rate if I was to try to borrow!! Self sufficency is the only way...wish I could live in Scotland too (instead of the US>>>)

  4. Hi Lynda, I agree about the banks, there really is something not quite right when they can lose millions and yet still pay millions to their chief executives and the like.

    Be careful what you wish for, as Scotland's not all that far from the US, in the grand scheme of things - the unpredictable weather is the only thing that scuppers the fruit & veg growing here. I'm now almost as far south as I can get, so it's only frosty here between late October and early-May. LOL

  5. Just read this article.

    Yes, it's so criminal the way the big banking corporations lose millions of depositers (our) money, get bailed out by the government using our money, yet still pay 7-figure salaries and bonuses to the fat cat directors who got them into the situation.

    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that it's not worth having much money, but sadly we can't live entirely without it nowadays. Any money above what we actually need to pay essentials just seems to be appropiated and used by somebody else.

  6. Cumbrian, I guess as long as we can feel secure without being indebted to anything or anybody outside of our own family & friends network, we should be happy without savings. It's good to be prepared to meet unexpected expenses but such a pity our money is, despite everything, still safest in a bank of some description.

    6 and 7 figure pay-outs are a disgrace. These things should be performance linked and we should be able to trust those who are appointed to safeguard our money. I'd far rather see interest rates above inflation than see the fat-cats paid fortunes.

  7. The interest rates are what is wrong! Interest rates SHOULD be higher (historically somewhere about 10%) but having encouraged people to borrow for everything over the last decade, instead of saving, as in the past, these cannot now be corrected without bankrupting millions of people and businesses. Sadly the financial institutions now have control over the whole economy.

  8. 10% would be great for frugalers with savings but like you say, there are so many people in debt nowadays that we'd see a repeat of the late 80s. The first ever mortgage I had peaked at around 15%, which was too much for us even on borrowings of 3.5 x annual income over the 25 years. Minimum wage limits certainly can't help small businesses diversify or expand, regardless of how careful they are with spending, it simply costs too much to employ anyone. I really haven't a clue what the answer could be. Property prices are tumbling here but still not to a level that first time buyers could opt for low mortgages.

  9. Marshal, with all due respect, the case of employees being seldom to feel their worth is a fault not of the employer, but of the employee.

    wites & kapetan


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