For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
Progressive Film Club 11:15 Tue May 21, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Pregnancy and class 08:00 Tue May 21, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
New LookLeft out now! 07:58 Tue May 21, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Professor Ray Kinsella in the Examiner on the Crisis 18:42 Mon May 20, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
CAHWT protest in Dublin Central 12:23 Mon May 20, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Cedar Lounge >>
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
In God?s Country 00:39 Mon May 13, 2013
Fishy Talks Galway, 13 May 2013 13:36 Sun May 12, 2013
The Indo: Think I Know The Choice I?d Make.. 17:22 Thu May 09, 2013
Alan Ahearne, Johnny Boy 13:24 Mon May 06, 2013
Who Benefits from Austerity? Mechanics Institute Limerick Summer School, 4 May 2013 23:59 Fri May 03, 2013
Dublin Opinion >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
Ireland Allows Google To Send it?s Profits Straight to Bermuda Company Which is ... Mon May 20, 2013 23:41 | Donagh Brennan
New LookLeft out now! Mon May 20, 2013 10:50 | Irish Left Review
Framing ?The Gatekeepers? Fri May 17, 2013 17:46 | Raymond Deane
The May Issue of Socialist Voice is Out Now Fri May 17, 2013 17:14 | Communist Party of Ireland
Full-Sized Life Thu May 16, 2013 13:32 | Susan DuMars
Irish Left Review >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
A shot at bias in the media
Separating the News from the Noise Thu Apr 04, 2013 21:14
Blessed with nothing but good intentions Fri Feb 22, 2013 18:04
The Household Charge - How They Failed to Shape Our Perspectives Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:48
The web's political rainbow Wed Dec 07, 2011 09:47
The Forgotten Constituency: The Majority and The Irish Economic Crisis Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:49
Welcome to the downward spiral!
Sunday February 24, 2013 10:52 by Luke Eastwood
Despite the continued 'green shoots' talk, recovery seems increasingly far away.
It does not take a genius or even an economist to realise that we are in fact in the depths of a major depression, which is continuing to worsen. The mainstream media, especially the USA media 90% of which is owned by just 6 corporations, continues to talk up a recovery but this is pure hyperbole that an intelligent person should be able to see through.
Peak oil pundits have suggested that the effects of hitting the plateaux would be like a car that keeps stalling each time it gets into second gear. This crude analogy seems to be entirely appropriate – attempts to kick start the western economies have short-lived and limited effects because the underlying problem of relatively high production and employment costs will not go away. This is exacerbated by the high price of oil, which itself feeds into the increasingly high prices of basic commodities such as food and minerals.
So now rather than peak oil, we might be finding ourselves in a situation of peak everything! As prices rise and debt levels too the printing of more money (quantative easing) makes the situation worse by devaluing currency, making everything even more expensive, fuelling even higher inflation and continuing to reduce the buying power of every individual’s pay packet.
Economies with cheap labour and an abundance of resources (e.g. China) have done very well due to the imbalance between their production costs and those of western economies. However, as the western powers lose their buying power and people increasingly focus on necessities instead of luxuries, they too may well be affected. With a collapse in its export market China may not have a sufficiently strong local or domestic market to continue its expansion and any fiat currency based system of commerce that is not expanding is in crisis.
So what does the future hold? Simple household economics will tell you that if you don’t have enough money to cover your costs then you have to cut your spending until it is equal to or less than your household income. Using myself as a perfect example – I have relatively well paid professional employment but I have remained on the same salary to 5 years.
In truth my static salary has led to a reduction in income, in part due to inflation but also due to rises in taxes. So in order to compensate for this reduction I have had to reduce my household spending by finding better deals (e.g. cheaper insurance), providing essentials myself (food and fuel) or by simply cutting certain items from my monthly budget.
I’d consider myself fortunate that I am able to continue with my life pretty much as normal after accepting some cutbacks and adjustments. Many millions of people are not half so fortunate. In the western economies millions of people are defaulting on their debts, losing their homes and falling into poverty. Elsewhere the situation is far worse – in Egypt for instance most families spend 80% of their income just on food!
All indications are that this depression is far from over, in fact it looks set to become increasing severe in the years ahead. This situation may be exacerbated further by the currency wars that have begun and indeed by the real proxy wars between the main rival blocks (NATO and SCO) taking place in Africa and Arabia as I write.
Given this grim outlook I would consider it wise to be prepared for the worst, although I am ever hopeful that we might escape the worst case scenarios predicted by some commentators. If you can – pay off your debts; save some money as physical cash or metals; reduce your outgoings on unnecessary expenditure; become more self-sufficient. Even if things do not turn out as bad as predicted – cutting away self-indulgence and becoming more self-reliant are positive steps towards gaining more control over your own life – something worth doing even if a financial collapse is not coming.
Luke Eastwood is a writer and horticulturist living in Ireland,