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Posted on 18 May 2011

Should you be concerned?

Posted in LINKEDIN  MARKETS  risk 

Trying to cheer up an old business acquaintance recently whose company is holding on for better times, I said ‘Hey, look on the bright side – we have just survived a downturn as bad as the 1930s’.

He wasn’t convinced, and argued that there was no comparison between now and then.

Who is right? We will probably never know, nor will anyone know for certain. I would agree that the current situation is not having such a dramatic impact – no soup-lines, no destitution, no wandering bands looking for work –- and that can only be a good thing, but the short, sharp pain has been avoided at a cost, one that I believe will be as high or higher. Here’s why.

In a recent Citywire article, Brooks Newmark (a conservative MP and no friend of the government) calculates that the true extent of public debt (money borrowed by the government on our behalf) could be as high as £85,000 per household – think of this as a mortgage that you didn’t know you had but still have to repay. Even if Newmark is only half right, this is a tremendous burden that is likely to weigh us down for very many years.