I would hate to think what Greece is like...

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 27th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1w7x1-8o/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Is the state of the world economy reliant on the teetering state of one nation? It often feels as if Greece is being blamed for the brunt of the world's wrongs. Economically it may be powerless to act, to save itself, but is Greece to blame, or is it just a case of bearing the brunt of a collapsing economy worldwide?

A Month in the Old country

Having just spent a month in the old country (UK) I have to say that I have seen living proof of what a truly austere economy looks like. The UK is in full blown deflation, the economy is in clear crisis as farmers are marching their cows through supermarkets in protest because the price of milk is putting them out of business. Let's be very clear prices coming down in the shops would seem a good thing, and at first glance it may seem so but of course associated with this will be cuts in pay levels yet rents remain as high as ever, indeed they are going up in certain places and the price of fuel is not decreasing - the deflating economics of Britain are accompanied by rising unemployment and an industrial sector that seems to have been in tatters for more than a decade.

England may have thrashed the Australians in the Ashes test series, but that is about the only good thing going on in the country right now. Three sex scandals involving current and former leading politicians is just the tip of the iceberg, despite the retaining power after the recent general election the Conservatives are clearly clueless about the state of the country and the truth is the other parties are incapable of offering any viable alternative.

Misguided Reporting

The TV news reports are misguided if they think the deflating prices in the shops is a good thing, to report the UK economy as buoyant, it is clear in talking to people with real problems that this economy (in a city that is in the industrial heartland of the country) has little hope for the future. This got me thinking if this is how the UK is in reality what hope is there for the people of Greece, yet I am also reminded that the UK has had a cosy gentleman's agreement with the IMF since they gave the Wilson/Callaghan government a slap on the wrist in the late 1970s, the real economic situation of the UK is far worse today than it has ever been, yet is hidden from international view where they hope it will be kept quiet for many years to come. But I do not bite my tongue - I will discuss it as I see it.

The British economy has been in tatters for the majority of the 20th century and is never likely to regain it's glorious past (except in the deluded minds of a few politicians) at least not while it is governed by the needs of capitalism, which look as if it is a spent force the world over.

The Pulse of the People

I have been speaking with people and there is widespread agreement that conditions in Britain are very fragile indeed and most people earn less today than they did ten years ago yet the cost of living has continued to increase during those years, particularly in cities like London which are getting more expensive by the day. Look at any city and it is possible to see that former glory determines the shape of the city with any modern employer incapable of rolling back unemployment and providing real hope for the future. Most people feel that any jobs available today are at best temporary in nature and certainly incapable of impacting the future industrial landscape.

One person even said to me that they fear that sometime during the next ten years we will see a repeat of the banking crisis which very nearly brought America to its knees but the difference being this time there will be no bailout package possible because of the debt that country has amassed and that is the trigger for the collapse of the rest of the Western economies. I must say this thought has crossed my mind as well more than once in considering general economic perspectives. I know this is only a straw poll but they often tell more than those official ones.

Greece and Economic Collapse

I would hate to think what it is like in Greece but I suspect it is not much different from the position the UK finds itself in, a sad country that has little or no hope for the future with a clueless government holding onto worn-out policies that never worked the first time around, at least Greece has a bit of sunshine going for it, whereas I understand the British summer has had little vitality to offer this year. Greece has a refugee crisis of horrendous proportions as thousands seek refuge in Europe, a similar crisis exists in Italy and Spain as economic situations decline in Africa and the Middle-East yet the target destination for many is the UK, which they perceive as being buoyant, yet the truth is very different indeed.

On Facebook I had a chat with a former colleague who made the remark that the visit would at least provide me the opportunity to understand why I made the decision to leave in the first place and whether it was actually the correct decision. Looking at the state of the country it does reaffirm the reasons for leaving in the first place, but that said no land is immune from the potential of world economic collapse especially if the the USA suffers the equivalent of an economic heart attack.

Truth is none of us desire an economic collapse, but again we are likely powerless to stop it should it occur and in truth the forces that bring it about have been underway for many a year. It may sound depressing to suggest that collapse of our economic system and is imminent, but it is better to assume the worst will happen and be wrong than to assume nothing will happen and be wrong. The Greek crisis is only the tip of the iceberg.

Picture credits

  • The Old England Pub by Wikimedia Commons
  • BBC News by the BBC
  • Leicester People by Sundip Meghani
  • Greek Crisis by Daily Telegraph

Other works...

Peter Giblett regularly publishes here on Wikinut and contributes a semi-regular column on 2 Drops of Ink, a site dedicated to the improvement of writing, grammar, and prose and his own blog called GobbledeGoox. Recent works on Wikinut include:

Wikinut is great a place to share some of your own personal wisdom by adding a comment or becoming a writer, join Wikinut and write.

Tags

Collapsing Economy, Deflation, Economy, Former Glory, Glorious Past, Greece, No Bailout, Unemployment, Very Fragile

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
27th Aug 2015 (#)

That's an interesting picture you paint, Peter! The impression you give is that everyone in Leicester is going around with sad faces and complaining about their fate to anyone who will listen. It's not my impression!

OK - we have some problems, and austerity is having some very bad effects in a number of quarters, but overall inflation is currently around zero and interest rates (which affect the cost of mortgages, etc) have been extremely low for a very long time.

You say that the price of fuel is not decreasing, but this is not so - prices at the pumps have shown a marked decline in recent months, although they are still way above what an American (and presumably a Canadian) would think were reasonable.

As for the future, we are certainly going to be affected by what happens elsewhere in the world, and another economic crisis cannot be discounted. To that extent I have to agree with you!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
28th Aug 2015 (#)

John, I have been asking many people the question "are your family better of worse of today compared to 2005/2006?" The results are that most people feel they are worse off today than they have ever been. Salaries are down, and more people are unemployed and this is almost a universal response that I have received. The response in the UK was in fairness little different that what I have heard from Canadians and Americans.

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author avatar Ptrikha
31st Aug 2015 (#)

Not a very good state of a country which inspired many Indians to migrate there over the decades, and the land of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps we need a Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to investigate the case?

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
28th Aug 2015 (#)

Hello Peter .
I have to say , on behalf of the UK , I am very happy to live in this nation .
Yes , we have our problems to overcome , but compared to many we are truly blessed .
Of course I am not closed hearted to the current struggles elsewhere ie .. Greece, etc. and fully aware that world affairs can affect us all , but generally the UK is a good place to be ...
That is why so many try to get here .
I hope your eyes are better now .
Bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
28th Aug 2015 (#)

Stella, I am glad to hear that you are happy to live in the UK, many of my friends still do live there. I concluded in my youth that I didn't wish to live there.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Aug 2015 (#)

Yes, it should open our eyes and ears if Greece can cause such a turmoil in the world economy; imagine another country that really "matters"!

I think many subsist with the basics but now that includes those being added like gadgets without which one cannot function or even taken as "out of circulation".

I agree asset inflation has to be curbed and the lopsided effect is due to those who evade taxes especially in "poor" countries! I personally detest such though I am for an inclusive society.

Capitalism and democracy do not benefit the majority - so what justice in those systems? The rich can get richer but not at the cost of the poor. I think one should stop at being a millionaire in terms of GBP, USD; it is reward enough!

Thought provoking, thanks Peter - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Siva, I don't think that Greece is the cause of the economic turmoil, it's economy is merely a symptom of a much wider disease.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
28th Aug 2015 (#)

Peter, I found your article to be very interesting. Thank you for sharing it. I've always wanted to visit England. It does not surprise me that they have economic problems just like we do in the states. It's the way of the world now. Is it because of the greedy in the world? I don't know. Is it because of politicians? I have no idea. If things keep going the way they are now it will take all our ingenuity to survive in a turbulent world. I had to smile when you used the phrase "Old Country" I haven't heard that term in a very long time. My late husband's grandmother always used to speak of the "Old Country" I like the pictures you chose for this article. Congratulations on the shiny gold star! I must say it's very well deserved.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Nancy, The economic situation the world faces we should all be clear is a tough one. England is for me very much the "Old Country", when I left I stated that I had no desire ever to return and returning reiterated that feeling. This article represents a purely personal view.

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author avatar M G Singh
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Peter, you have painted a dismal picture of the UK. The fact is the war with Hitler was the last hurrah and it turned out to be a phyrric victory. England has never been what it was after the victory over Hitler.They lost their colonies and now are surviving by riding piggy back on USA. In any case your post was a nice expose.

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author avatar Retired
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Madan, I think we have made huge strides forward during my lifetime - all of which has been after World War II and coincided almost exactly with the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

For one thing, we have a welfare state and a National Health Service, with excellent educational opportunities for all. We have opened our doors to the world and now have a mixed population that lives together (most of the time) in peace and harmony.

We are tolerant of every religion and political point of view, and have eliminated most sources of discrimination in the workplace and civic life.

OK - we still have problems to solve, and the world economic crisis has taken its toll, but life for most Britons is considerably better than it was before the War.

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author avatar M G Singh
29th Aug 2015 (#)

John, I have half or more of my immediate family settled in England . many for close to 50 years. They went there from Punjab in search of a better life, but now they are not too sure. I spent a lot of time in England myself, but it didn't suit me and I came back and joined IAF. I have a soft corner for England , but sad to see its decline on world stage. Its not even the powerhouse it was displaced by Germany in Europe. In future it will be tougher to live in England.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Madan, yes I did paint a dismal picture of the UK of which waiving goodbye to the colonies was a major part during the post-war era yet the economic issue is much more serious than that (especially as the debt commitment for such a tiny country includes paying for the Napoleonic war and the cost of colony building since). That burden will not be easily discharged, yet the rich do very nicely bacause of it. As John says the country has made many good advances, tolerance being one of them - yet there are many bigots in the country. Britain is listened to because of it's status of former leader but that is all.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Never set foot outside Asia, okay been to Australia and Middle East. I feel what matters is happiness and contentment. If the poor are not fearful, apprehensive, of their future then the country is doing well. And the elderly should be taken care of. Most countries fail in these respects and they should not fall through the safety net; many do not even provide one! I feel UK is doing well especially with regard to universal, affordable, healthcare.

Countries like US, Canada, Australia have natural resources on tap but others are not that well endowed. Overall, what I understand is UK is doing alright compared to other countries without living now with the stigma of having colonies - siva

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author avatar Tony Barnes
29th Aug 2015 (#)

I loved my time in the UK...was stationed at RAF Greenham Common for 21 months in 89-90. Lived in Surrey county and went to church in Aldershot.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Aug 2015 (#)

Thank you Tony.

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author avatar Retired
29th Aug 2015 (#)

I don't regard the process of decolonisation as a sign of weakness at all. Surely it was with a great measure of pride that Britain was able to cut the apron strings of its colonies in Africa and Asia (etc) and see them set off on new paths of independence. Do parents regard it as shameful when their adult children get married and flee the nest to start lives on their own? Far from it!

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author avatar Retired
31st Aug 2015 (#)

Capitalism is what made U.K and U.S. great. The Industrial Revolution started there across the pond, extending technological innovation and freedom to enterprise the inventions.

You forget the origins of our once great nations and now malign the systems that enabled prosperity.

But now and for quite a while, an entitlement mentality has swept first U.K., then all of Europe, with America now knowing the benefits of living off somebody else's money.

The Greeks don't want to work, all of Europe lives under socialist rule, all seek support of the people who earn their own livings, but the people who earn are dwindling without jobs.

You can malign capitalism all you want, but when you support socialist goverments, you send national economies further downhill. Socialist nations of the world have all failed. And nothing will change that spiral until the Thatchers and Reagans of the world restore the only system proven to restore prosperity.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
31st Aug 2015 (#)

Au contraire, Le Rain, I above all people know the origins of capitalism and the part Britain (and even cities like Leicester) played in developing that system, my comments relate to the fall from grace that this once former great nation is experiencing today. You are quite wrong to characterise Europe as living under socialist rule - IT DOES NOT and has never been socialist in any form, indeed the ills of Europe are purely based on capitalism. Even another Thatcher could not save Europe today.

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author avatar Retired
31st Aug 2015 (#)

Peter, As you will appreciate, many people in the US have a very strange notion of what Socialism is.

Modern British government can best be described as liberal conservatism - based on capitalism but with a social conscience so that the weakest are not allowed to go the wall and public services are supported from the public purse.

This is very different from Libertarianism, according to which a government withdraws from social policy and the market rules supreme. The only support available to those who do not succeed under such a system comes from individual charity.

I am all in favour of Liberalism, but certainly not Libertariansim.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Sep 2015 (#)

John, I do appreciate that and also know that writers like LeRain and Jessica Russell also need to understand what capitalism is, how it was founded, how it has changed in order to understand that welfare reform is not a case of dismantling capitalism it was a social necessity, but that does not change the basic system under which Europe operates.

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author avatar Carol Roach
3rd Sep 2015 (#)

It has caught up with Canada we are in a technical recession now too.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Sep 2015 (#)

Yes we are in recession here in Canada, but Europe seems to have the disease in a much worse state.

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