In times of economic uncertainty, people striving to make a living can so easily bury themselves in work and while getting engrossed by work is a sure-fire way of getting things done, in this fast paced world in which we live it also means we may not be paying attention to everything else that’s going on around us.
Pause for one minute, stick your head up and look around and it’s amazing to see what’s gone by in just a few days.
Admittedly, some weeks are less impressive than others but with so much news available at all times from all over the world there is always something amazing happening. Be it good or bad news, the world is definitely spinning very fast.
And what a week it’s been!
This whole business of America’s long-term federal debt being downgraded by Standard & Poor’s for the first time is all still part of the fallout of the ‘credit crunch’. Remember that term?
The world is still trying to sort out the mess of debt that has been floating around for the last few years. Governments need to reduce their levels of debt but with slow economies the revenue isn’t sufficient to keep pace the with former rates of spending. Hence austerity measures such as tax rises and lay-offs which curb spending and attempt to increase revenue but also cause public spending to falter.
Governments have tough choices to make because no government wants their country or citizens to struggle financially.
Should S&P have downgraded the US long term debt? None of the other credit agencies did.
They apparently overstated the US debt by $2 trillion and in addition they claimed the downgrade was also due to the inability of the current administration to make decisions ‘at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenge’.
It’s true, the decision to raise the debt ceiling was made at the last minute but with so many decisions to make and so many factors to consider I would have used all of the available time to really thrash out the alternatives before making a decision too.
There was panic selling as confidence wained and investors fled to safer havens. Stock markets around the globe crashed and suffered huge losses only for many of them to bounce back days later but with warnings of more volatility to come.
Some fear another global recession which is more likely only going to be even slower growth than expected although it seems every growth prediction result these days is just short of the mark.
It seems the world is desperate to return to heady days of boom, boom, boom instead of sucking up and accepting slow, steady sustained growth and so the madness continues.
Technology, internet, gadgets and social media has altered perceptions and people still want the latest and greatest things now and they are not prepared to wait until tomorrow. As a result, Apple has more money in the bank than the US government! (I wonder, how many iPad purchases were made using a credit card!)
Lloyds is still suffering with PPI claims which pushed it to a £3.3 billion loss for the 6 months up to June and amidst all the news about London riots they slipped in another announcement of further job cuts.
Yahoo, once the US’s favourite search engine and a piece of internet history is now apparently worth less than it’s holdings in other companies so anyone able to buy Yahoo may be able to sell off these holdings and potentially make a profit!
I think the phrase is ‘it’s all going off’ but if you follow the news from around the world, it’s always ‘all going off’.
On a final note for today, London and other UK cities are a mess from the recent violence which has resulted in loss of property and loss of life and nothing good will come as a consequence of the rioting. My sympathies to all who have lost property and my sincerest condolences to anyone who has lost a friend or family member.