Are you comfortably numb?

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's not just students

BBC News at 6pm last night showed a package about interest rates rising to 5% with some basic information about what this means for borrowers and savers. They showed a clip of an interview with a couple in Essex who have a £100,000 mortgage.

"It's hard enough saving for Christmas as it is, let alone having to pay more for the mortgage. We're not going to have as much money to spend on Christmas presents."

Poor poor little rich girl... might your children not be able to have the X Box and instead have to receive some other form of entertainment that doesn't cost hundreds of pounds?

Also, do people not realise that by raising interest rates, the Bank of England is trying to stem the rapidity with which inflation is increasing, thus actually doing the same people a favour because otherwise they would be whinging about how much inflation was going up?


  • Hmm.

    £100,000 is not a big mortgage. You'd be unlikely to get (say) a flat in a gated community in Sussex for this size mortgage without a deposit of about £100,000. And the change in interest rate will only result in an additional expense of about £30 per month. They may well not have been rich at all.

    However, I agree that the point of the interest rate rise is to squeeze consumers.

    By Blogger Paul (probably - maybe Liz), at 12:23 am  

  • What do you mean by 'rich'? Considering she is probably in the top 5% of richest people in the world, I'd say that constitutes rich. Sure, she may not be 'rich' compared to the population of Sussex but given she can afford to spend extra money on Christmas in the first place, and she had what looked like a Tiffany's necklace around her neck, a good haircut etc, I'd say she's plenty well off, in terms of the world's standards. And isn't that what we should measure our wealth by? What we have compared to what the poorest have? Otherwise we'd all be poor.

    By Blogger Bec, at 12:43 am  

  • We know that we are all rich in this country compared to many in other countries. And the woman on the news made me puke too. (Tho' I guess the guys in the B of E who made the decision have even less to worry about than her when it comes to an increase in interest rate!) However, that doesn't mean that we should not compare the wealth of people within this country. For some people (not the Essex woman) even in wealthy Britain, an unexpected additional expense is still the difference between eating properly and not. Is it acceptable then to say 'Well they are still richer than people in Liberia so we needn't be bothered about them' ? You also have to be careful in condemning the attitudes of people in Britain when you are also a rich person living in Britain. What is an acceptable standard of living? Should we only not feel guilty if our standard of living is the same as the poorest people in the world? We all tend to think that we ourselves have got the right balance and anyone more well off than us has got too much!
    Hope you're ok! Lots of love!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:59 pm  

  • Another problem we notice is that there is just as much expectation and pressure building up among really poor people about "saving for Christmas" in order to spend for Christmas because it is good for the economy generally to encourage consumerism here in Brazil. We watch TV reports about the growing industry in Christmas decorations, special food, tourist packages etc knowing that for a season this will generate more jobs but, mainly, like all the other 'special days' exploited here -mothers, fathers, namorados (equivalent to Valentines)- it is the already richer who ultimately gain from the profits. This is the 'true meaning of Christmas'nowadays, isn't it?

    By Blogger Cora, at 1:54 pm  

  • Okay, interesting thoughts (sorry I take so long to reply, so busy at mo, still haven't got round to the Christians/socialists one again!)

    First, I'm not saying we shouldn't 'compare' wealth within this country, and I'm just as keen to fight injustice here as well as in poorer parts of the world. However, there is a difference between being able to eat properly or not, and being able to buy expensive Christmas presents or not. The people who might not be able to eat properly would probably not have a mortgage in the first place because they'd be living in council housing... or something.

    Second, I'm not saying this is about guilt at all. I don't think we should feel guilty for what God has blessed us with in this country. However, I do think that we should count our blessings. This is what I intended my point to be; sorry if it got blurry. I am fully aware of how much I have living in this country, and I don't feel guilty about it, but I DO want to try and never moan about what I don't have, because I have so much more than I need. I know I fail sometimes but that is the idea. And that was my issue with that news bulletin; that people aren't really aware of how ridiculous we sound when we put things in perspective sometimes.

    By Blogger Bec, at 2:22 am  

  • Its worth dropping the term disposable income into the conversation. The perceived rich kid may very well earn a healthy income, however if (s)he shells out most of it they are left with very little disposable income. In this situation someone living in rented accomodation may have more money to splash around.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:56 pm  

  • Hi, Bec. All fair points - and I've little doubt that had I seen the interview concerned, I would have been as nauseated as you and Liz.

    By Blogger Paul (probably - maybe Liz), at 11:11 am  

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