The Greece I grew up in was a very different place form the one you see today. I will not bore you with statistics that you can easily see elsewhere, but I can tell you this: It did not feel like Northern Europe. Things were basic, but progressing steadily during the 1980s, and despite the occasional hiccup, people got progressively richer and life was gradually becoming easier.
Well yes, that was right-I have had to pay for every single penny and a rather hefty sum of interest in the process too. You see, there is only a certain amount of credit lenders will give you and once it's gone, it's gone, and so is your good credit rating. All of a sudden I went from living a life of luxury to one of near-poverty.
Children can't take out loans - but they can suffer the consequences of aggressive creditors all the same. The Children's Society is deeply concerned that bailiffs, utility companies and local councils who chase struggling parents over unpaid debts may be inflicting real damage to children's mental health.
It has become even more apparent to me that my time is my money, and that our sense of identity is tightly linked to our concept of money and the value we place on our time and ourselves. If I spend so much time and energy making money, surely I should spend a significant amount of time managing my money?
The UK - and therefore its population - is living way beyond its means. We have a Balance of Payments deficit of about 7% of GDP means that, on average, we are all enjoying a standard of living which is 7% higher than we are earning. To support this unrealistic life-style we are either borrowing from abroad or selling assets to foreign interests year after year on a scale unmatched by any other developed country.
We are told, time and time again, that the government should spend taxpayer money wisely, efficiently, and sustainably. Often these pronouncements are followed by promises to use taxpayer money well by cutting government spending and making efficiency improvements. There is an assumption behind these statements that is utterly inaccurate and dishonest, however. Namely, that there is such a thing as "taxpayer money."