How things change – and not always for the better. The age-old cry of the older generation is ‘The young have it easy, far easier than we did!’ But today that’s possibly the biggest lie of all. I for one would hate to be starting out right now.
The crux of the matter is that over half the total private wealth of the UK and for that matter in most western countries, lies in the hands of people aged between 45 and 65. That’s scary enough in itself, but when you compare this with how things used to be then the scale of the imbalance between the generations becomes clearer.
The new younger earners are facing the prospect of drowning under more and more debt, but where is the lifebelt? And who might throw it?
Now things are rather different, with the future burden on the younger generation looming ever larger and with little prospect of things improving either. Instead of having future proofed pensions today’s younger generation have the burden of student debt to drain their earnings. Instead of having a hidden store of wealth in their property they have an almost unimaginably high starting price just to get onto the property ladder
But that’s only part of it – there is a hidden time bomb, which is emerging. Over the last ten or even twenty years as house prices have soared we have been suckered into believing that we had a golden goose with an inexhaustible supply of golden eggs. Banks and lenders kept popping up, offering us the chance to get a little slice of the easy life by borrowing against the value of our houses, and suddenly that golden goose has been well and truly cooked! Now it’s payback time and although there are low interest rates we no longer have a get out of jail card up our sleeves.
Worse still, instead of having a hefty chunk of wealth to pass on when we pop off, our children stand to get far less than we did in relative terms, and in the worst possible cases we could leave them with debt as their inheritance!
Our task is quite simply how can we deliver more of what people want in a way that isn’t going to cost us, or them, the earth. We need to find more energy-efficient ways of production and cleaner ways to get the goods and services to where they are wanted.
If I wanted to make this palatable to even more people then I would suggest that funding for research into how to overcome the problems is immediately available and at NO COST to you! All those indecent bonuses about to be handed out to investment bankers should be whipped away from them and deposited into mega funds whose sole duty is to find out how to clean things up or produce more cleanly and then to deliver them to the emerging countries.
Naturally the bankers would squeal, but hey, let’s be fair to them and explain that they too can get their share of the wealth that will be generated, but not for simply moving obscene amounts of hedge fund money around. Instead they will get their rewards when the new projects come on stream and deliver normal profits say five or ten years down the line!
What do you think? I somehow think that this would be a handy vote winner for the people who had the balls to go with it! But then again I am not a politician – just have a look at my expense claims and you’ll see that’s true!