Saturday, September 19, 2009

Citzens - Sea Changes Ahead!

The sharecrazy shares' investing site often provokes thought on non-investing topics. Mdtrader's thread: "Proof that the world has gone mad, just 6 months"; is one such.
Often posters myself included, gripe about, berate or worse;
"government" "insitutions" etc and a recent riposte to my comment that perhaps we get governments we deserve was "Nobody deserves a government like what we got".
That top down approach tends to peter out before reaching the bottom of the apex occupied by ordinary individuals such as yours truely, which is a shame as consideration of personal failings financial or otherwise is likely to result in more improvements than general political action.

Take borrowing; many say that they have overborrowed. Government responses are largely geared to demonising banks and bankers and may be then nationalising them. Yet is not a part of the problem caused by individuals offered cheap loans with few questions asked, acting like children faced with a heap of sweets being unable to resist tucking in?

The counterpoint to over borrowing is overspending. Larger loans were often taken out to buy new motor cars with govt. encouragement. Cars add to the quality of life in many obvious ways but at what a cost? Cars tend to be imported into the UK. The UK has a huge trade deficit; cars pollute and are intrusive. Despite all that and in London at least an extensive public transportation system, individuals' obsession with the private motor car continues.

Having dispensed with a personal motor car and opted for a Streetcar club membership instead
the benefits of dispensing with an individually owned car become increasingly obvious. They are illustrated daily by the sight of suburban and city streets strewn with cars mostly parked for most of the time depreciating and taking up valuable space. So far at least the decision to opt out of car ownership is yielding sizeable runing cost and capital financial benfits too. Such changes are obviously not possible for all to consider but presumably those who commute daily into work by public transport leave their cars gathering dust on most days. It's of course much easier to describe an hopefully positive personal action already taken than to dwell on others which could be but have not been taken (yet?) such as in my case too frequent flying as a low cost airline passenger...

Until ordinary adults take individual responsibility for their individual actions, community actions eg by government for the underprivileged and the greater good risk being forever hamstrung. A yardstick for determining whether individuals are accepting personal responsibily for their borrowing spending and climate change, may be how if at all their/our attitudes towards private transport change in the years ahead - I see sea changes (and in the air) ahead being somewhat of a challenge in both private and public life.

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