Eva Bradley: Boring on a global scale


Hands up if you're sick of hearing about the global financial crisis.

Are you over talk about the recession?

Had enough of listening to forecasts about fiscal debt?

Know anything at all about what is happening in Greece and Italy ... or care either way?

For what seems like years now, it has been impossible not to tune in at least partially to the white noise that emanates from the TV at six o'clock every night, telling us that our international financial markets are poked, our fiscal outlook is dire and our hope for the future grim.

I'm depressed about the depression.

Now I know 32 per cent of you will disagree with me, but I believe understanding what is happening in the world we live in is as important as voting.

But when the idiom is high finance and you are Joe Public who was just stoked to make it through School Cert maths, understanding the global recession is about as easy as nutting out the finer points of quantum physics.

While I'm a whizz at all things creative and my head is like a portable thesaurus, when it comes to numbers I'm ashamed to say that on occasion I can still be seen counting on my fingers.

I'm all about crossword not Sudoku, Scrabble not poker. I've been known to lose a game of 21 simply because I couldn't add up the card values correctly.

So how's a girl supposed to get her head around GDP percentages, primary budget balances and projected fiscal debts?

I have trouble counting to a thousand but, globally, we're dealing with trillions and, quite frankly, I'm a little confused.

What I have managed to establish, however, is that the countries that should know better are spending more than they earn.

Which is a little foolish. Even when I was 5 years old and got 20 cents pocket money each week, I knew better than to ask for 25 cents worth of sweets at the corner store.

Essentially, as a planet, we are broke.

And we owe lots of money. Lots of it.

But this got my tiny brain thinking the other day - to whom does this collective "we" owe all of these trillions to?

If the US, Europe and every developed nation in between has been borrowing money and has none of their own, just where is this magical bank in the sky that keeps on giving it to us?

Have the Top Brass been doing back-room deals with a hushed-up collection of well-financed Martians?

Even I understand the basics of treasury bonds and the European Investment Bank but, ultimately, who is richer than the collective bulk of the entire developed (but virtually bankrupted) world?

It seems to me that the paper chain of who borrows from whom and who lends what and where is so long we must surely be facing a pulp-and-paper crisis along with a financial one.

After much mental gymnastics trying to figure this one out, I have resigned myself to the knowledge that when it comes to global finance, I have none.

What I do understand is that in the absence of finance companies and safe international markets to invest in, there must be a whole big bunch of mattress manufacturers out there doing a roaring trade catering to garden-variety idiots such as myself who simply don't know anywhere better to stash their savings at the moment.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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