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Entries in credit crunch (2)

Wednesday
Jun242009

Thrifty Styley

As you probably know I'm a big fan of music promotion on a tight budget, and have come up with all manner of ingenious ways to spam - sorry "befriend" - you in various online contexts.

I'd just like to give a shout out to a blogging accomplice of mine who has recently started a blog about how to be thrifty when it comes to doing stylish things with your house. I've yet to follow any of the sage advice on her blog, as my idea of a stylish home is one with lots of guitars in it...but for those of you who are interested in being funky with your home whilst keeping the purse-strings firmly shut, the blog is full of very good and credit-crunch friendly tips.

Please check it out and subscribe if you can at http://thriftystylishhome.blogspot.com/

(Normal rock and roll and hyperbole services will resume shortly).

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Tuesday
Oct072008

There goes the economy...

Right, so it looks like the global economy's about to go down the loo. The UK government is nationalising a load of banks. The US government has effectively brought Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae back into public ownership (very oddly-named institutions by the way - remind me of a Rod Stewart song). All over the world, governments are doing the same, stepping in to protect citizens' savings and trying to keep national economies afloat.

Nationalisation has been, for the past 25-30 years or so, a filthy word. Common - but not good - sense has prevailed that public equals bad and inefficient; and that private equals good. This is daft, as anyone who has ever got an overpriced, overcrowded train in England can testify, but it has nonetheless led to all manner of privatisations, or marketisations of things that were formerly publicly-owned.

All over the world, governments have handed over things as vital to everyday life as hospitals, transport systems, water and education to the 'care' of big business. This is true particularly of the UK, where there are hardly any publicly-owned public services left. The ones that are still state-owned, like the Tube or the NHS, have been forced to involve private sector organisations heavily in their operations, leading to things like the billion-pound Metronet fiasco and filthy hospitals. We've also seen dodgy educational establishments being set up that allow rich individuals to invest a certain amount and, wait for it, set the curriculum.

But now it seems that the rules are being rewritten: it seems as though there's a bank nationalisation every day of the week now. Why? Because, with banking, the private sector has failed massively - to the point where governments have no option but to do what governments are elected to do: a bit of governing. The private sector might have been able to get away with running public services badly and expensively for years, but it's harder for the government to sit idly by and be all laissez-faire when people's houses and savings are on the line.

But what's really important about the banks' failure is this: the private sector is meant to be good with private finance. If it can't even get that right, why on earth should it have anything to do with things as fundamental as drinking water, education and healthcare?

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