Saturday, 7 August 2010

Growth, jobs and debt

A couple of years on, 23,000 job losses, 84% stake by taxpayers has provided a modest £1.1bn profit for RBS. Other banks are returning to their modest profits, Barclays: £4bn; Lloyds: £1.6bn; and so on.

Meanwhile unemplyement has soared by 3% (to 8%, i.e. risen by 60%) and the country's total debt is around £4 trillion. £1.5 trillion is in personal debt - money that you and I owe to the banks most mortagages (£1.2 trillion).

This is from Credit Action: "Average household debt in the UK is ~ £8,650 (excluding mortgages). This figure increases to £18,021 if the average is based on the number of households who actually have some form of unsecured loan."

GDP has increased by around 50% in the past 10 years and our ConDemLab parties all want it to continue to rise for ever. For GDP to rise we need to consume more, spend more and borrow more. Our UK consumption levels already mean that if the whole world consumed the way we do, we would need a couple more planets to live on.

The solution will have to be radical.

Personal debt is crippling but driven by our perceived needs and the way that the economy is structured. Capitalism continues to drive the wealth to the few and provide bail outs when necessary. The austerity cuts are driving inequality upwards and moving us towards a double dip recession which will push unemployment higher. And of course consumption is slowly killing us all.

There are good groups of people with the right type of ideas. This is from the people at the climate camp who are outside RBS this month:

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