Wednesday 20 June 2012

The Debts Are Due

We are told that in the USA around half those recently graduated are either not in employment or engaged in work that does not require graduate status.  I know the feeling; at one time I was the highest qualified parcels porter on British Railways. But at least I was clear of debt.  

In those days credit was not available to the likes of me or my kind.  Unluckily, in the USA today it seems that the total student debt is running at $1 trillion or thereabouts. Quite what it is in the UK is less certain.  

However, the jobs market is not good at present for many graduates and there are few who do not have debt of some kind.  Apparently, there are many whose future in the next decade or two will be compromised by debt incurred as students. 

Allied to that are the reports that many UK household are one nasty or unexpected big bill away from trouble and the overall levels of purely personal debt are said to be a liability to increasing consumption or “investment” in motor cars or the latest gizmo’s to hit the market. 

It is not too difficult to see what may be happening and that is a sea change in the whole jobs market, the kind of jobs to be done and who are available for it.  Sadly, few of us do see this or accept that the world has turned upside down.
 Then there is government debt, much discussed and rising.  

Then there are the stratospheric levels of international debt and other states in difficulty.  Then there is all the banking and financial debt, much disguised.  To finish then there is all the corporate debt, the immensity of whose figures has yet to be revealed. 

In their widely read book “1066 And All That” Sellar and Yeatman stated categorically that “The National Debt is a very Good Thing and it would be dangerous to pay it off for fear of Political Economy”.  They were joking and the laughing soon stopped. 

Shakespeare in “The Tempest”, written around 1611 when the scale of the spending in London by King James VI of Scotland and I of England was becoming apparent has his own guarded comment.

James was fond of masques and theatrical entertainments based on fantasy and borrowed money.


Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.


Pictured above is The Debtors Prison by Hogarth from “The Rakes Progress”.  He knew Oliver Goldsmith, who knew the Marsh family, who were from the Cotswolds and married to the Aylesbury family who were married to the Somervilles who were Shakespeare’s best friends in Stratford. Like debt, all things are connected.  

Sleep well.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that you state so well all that I and my best beloved think, is not necessarily going to ensure a tranquil night's sleep. God bless anyway.