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So When Will the Economy Recover? Probably Never

14/08/2013 17:47 BST | Updated 14/10/2013 10:12 BST
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Forget the headlines, our economy is on the high road to ruin. Its apparent recovery is artificial and the reality is that our government is set to bankrupt our country.

Don't believe me? Believe this.

UK public debt

Source

Whilst I was researching graduate unemployment rates the other day (currently around 9%) I quickly found myself down a rabbit hole which led me to come across the scary looking chart above. Like many others, I had blissfully believed that the current government was doing so much to reduce public debt in response to the global financial crisis. There have been enough cuts to public services to make us believe it.

Yes we all know they bailed out the banks and our failed financial system, and that wasn't cheap was it? But I had no idea that we were now in such ludicrous and unprecedented levels of public debt. That's you and me, the taxpayers. I had no idea how bad things are.

So now a good slice of our banking industry is 'safe' and sound in the hands of the taxpayer, The Bank of England continues to carry on printing more money to keep up the illusion of a growing economy. The result is increased rates of inflation, which suits the treasury just fine.

Why? Because it keeps us spending!

The devaluation of our money coupled with measly interest rates on savings gives us an incentive to spend the pounds in our pockets today. If on the other hand we had deflation, we'd hold out purchasing big ticket items because they will be (in real terms) cheaper tomorrow.

So if spending is seen as good for the economy, then what happens if we have a deflationary situation? Well, the crash of 2008-2009 speaks for itself.

uk inflation graph

Source

Therefore we do need good levels of consumer spending for a healthy economy. The problem however is that we can't afford it! So we borrow and print more money, a vicious cycle and a doomed path.

As sad as it has become, money also keeps us happy. We're in a consumer age and love to buy the latest things. And the David Cameron - Nick Clegg duo don't want to be the ones who stop the party, which has been going on for almost 70 years since the boom times and rise of the middle classes post-WWII. Industry and technology grew like crazy. More and more women (rightfully) were now at work leading to double-income families and more money than most knew what to do with.

So what did they do with the money? They bought stuff. And companies grew to meet demand, employing more people. I wasn't around, but from what I gather, times were good.

But now with this exciting new consumer era, we were hooked on spending. It became all about "keeping up with the Joneses". And companies were getting really good at manipulating us through marketing, helped by the rise of the television and now the Internet. By the way, I don't blame them, it's their job.

Sooner or later, our wants outstripped our bank balances. But that was OK, because we had the generous banks providing us with credit cards. Buy now, pay (much more) later. Dangerously irresistible, like food shopping when hungry.

Then inevitably in our increasingly capitalist system, things take a dive. Stock markets plummet and we're into recession. That's pretty normal, as any book on economic theory will tell you. Capitalist systems will always have booms and busts. It's in their cyclical nature of creative destruction.

Now I'm no economist, however I feel that things are very different this time around. I just don't see how we're going to get out of this mess. Do you?