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Finance Friday | Priorities

Can you imagine living in a country where you don’t have any opportunities and struggle to get clean water and enough to eat? Here in the UK, most people are lucky, but there is a lot of inequality. Young people on benefits go into MacDonald’s to eat, just because it’s there. 

Television is great, but it does brainwash young people into thinking they are part of the consumer society and should be able to eat at MacDonald’s, drink Coca Cola and wear expensive trainers. The multinationals actually target young people with their advertising and then avoid paying their taxes and pay young people minimum wages to serve in their image conscious fast food joints.  Should we have financial education in schools? Should we teach kids that MacDonald’s is not for them, that they should drink water and not Coca Cola? Many kids in third world countries would be glad of clean water.

We could teach kids to buy what they need first and recognise what money is surplus to their needs, pays for the luxuries. That surplus income that can be spent on luxuries is getting less and less for many people. After some people have paid their water bill, food bill, rent, council tax, TV licence, phone bill, energy bills and bus fares to the Jobcentre, there isn’t much left. The problem over the years is that councils now charge ‘economic rents’ for council housing on estates that are like open prisons. The privatised water companies and the energy companies have become major drains on people’s incomes. The energy companies are mostly owned now by foreign companies, who recognise a good monopoly when they see one. The BBC thinks the TV licence is a licence to print money. You even have to pay 6 months in advance for a TV licence, they are that powerful, they can get away with anything and often do.

We have to fight back against the monopolies that rob us and become proactive as much as we can. We can demand a fairer society and try to boycott companies that are against the people. Interest rates are pathetic at the moment, but we can try to save money and become more financially secure. It is better than being exploited by pay day loan companies and banks. There are positive signs in society, like peer to peer lending such as Zopa. There is a movement towards Corporate Social Responsibility. I see civic society movements growing. Whenever society, as we know it is threatened, some people try to fight back or at least resist and show support for the fighters.

We can all try to take some responsibility for society and try to make it better. Lots of little things, like driving carefully, shopping around, being kind to people and being aware of the problems can make a difference.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

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