The British (and World) Economy – a lighter viewpoint ……
By Cllr Alex Lung
Chair the Finance Committee, Standon Parish Council
Immediate Past President of Rotary Club Stevenage
The problem with writing articles on such a broad subject is quite often to find a new angle on the matter – also, to try and avoid issues that are known, or to incorporate loads of statistics that will ensure the reader never gets past the first paragraph.
Racking my brain, and mulling over events of the last few years – which has seen a couple of US estate agents/mortgage providers start a worldwide recession, in turn, leading to European countries declaring bankruptcy – and all really due to one particular currency the World has decided to base its financial dealings on!
So, how could we all avoid making the same mistake – and here the difficulty starts with finding such a scheme that would work in local, national, and a worldwide context.
Perhaps a truly universal currency – would we all be prepared to change? If every country agreed, we could introduce the ‘Zonk’ unit of currency (each Zonk being divided into one hundred Zaks). Given a universal unit of currency is now in place – how is its value set? Would 70.6 Zonks buy the same value wherever you were in the World?
Would our Political leaders be able to cope with sorting ‘universal value’ – most likely not – doubtful if this could even be achieved on a national basis, let alone internationally. (The removal of all Political leaders is another option – which means the idea might just work).
This idea seems to have not left the drawing board, and we are now faced with the continued search for an answer. Strangely, at this point, the light at the end of the tunnel, has turned into a lightbulb moment – the real answer is as old as the hills, is still the ‘unit of currency’ in many places Worldwide – and even operates within this country – and is called ‘Bartering’.
Most things go in cycles – from experience each 15 to 20 years – but what was the norm a thousand or so years ago has taken much longer to re-appear. Perhaps now is the time to bring this ancient form of ‘purchase-power’ back into being.
Of course there would be minor delays whilst some scale of barter could be agreed, but given there were no Political leaders to delay the process, we could agree this between ourselves on a group e mail and/or conference call – job done!
I can see a few obstacles to overcome …..
Imagine if you will, a popular Takeaway restaurant – say in Stevenage – when the till is dispensed with, and a storage unit has to be built at the back to house all the bartered goods received – pending their onward barter for settlement of purchases.
Multiply this up and straightaway there will be no spare land available for the growing of crops. Suppose three cats and a vacuum cleaner is not acceptable as offerings for a balti and rice? Would HMRC for example, wish to take a herd of cows in settlement of my tax bill? How would a value be set on exchanges?
In reality, perhaps we should have some Political leaders who, in their infinite wisdom, could introduce a unit of currency, say the ‘Pound’, agree on its values, agree on a Worldwide exchange rate …. and move forward.