Reading the business pages these days is heady stuff, and in particular today, which the BBC's Robert Peston labels the worst of all days. His list of banks and insurance businesses collapsing into financial trouble of the last few days alone is alarming. So how did we get into this mess? What started with a housing sub prime debt crisis is morphing into an international financial crisis. Our title The Credit Crunch: how safe is your money? by Simon Nixon offers some explanation of how things went wrong and a few answers to the current mess.
The recent bubble, now burst, is well illustrated by the party game, pass the parcel. In the financial markets, the 'parcel' layering was fueled by a desire to find increasing numbers of profitable investment vehicles, which in a period of very low interest rates, would satisfy the desire for more and more high yielding investments. This, twinned with the failure by ratings agencies to expose the true risk of some of the better 'wrapped' investments - resulted in the repackaging and selling on of layer upon layer of 'investments' for which no-one quite knew what the 'prize' was - the asset at the heart of the parcel. And it is this parcel of debt that governments and markets are still unwrapping.
Pocket Issue - the blog
Monday, 29 September 2008
Saturday, 6 September 2008
It’s a well documented fact that food prices have been soaring in recent months. Latest news is that the price of pork sausages has risen by 40 per cent in the past year, and the price of bacon has almost doubled. Food inflation has been running at beyond double the general rate of inflation for the past 12 months.
Some people have claimed this has led to a drop in demand for organic food, as hard hit consumers rush from Waitrose to Lidl and Morrisons in a bid to reduce their food bills. Nevertheless, there are plenty of farmers out there who are passionate about producing food in the organic way, and have no plans to change to conventional food production to pay the bills.
Many of these will be involved in some way with Soil Association's Organic food fortnight which kicks off on 6th and 7th September in Bristol with the biggest organic food festival in Europe.
Perhaps such commitment from the producers of organic food should cause us cash strapped consumers to stop for a moment and consider what we are really doing when it is our food bills we first seek to cut when the going gets tough. Clearly being economically sensible is a priority for many of us in the ongoing credit crunch, but is food the bill to be slashing first? Given that organic food is often better for your health, can come with minimum packing, (good for the environment) and often requires some preparation resulting in a fresh nutritious dish over and above a processed one, (a good thing given that obesity in Britain is reaching epidemic proportions), there are clear benefits to be had.
Two thoughts arise from the above. First, does organic have to cost more, or is it possible with savvy shopping via the internet and the farmers market rather than high end organic outlets, to still eat well for less? And second, what bills could we be seeking to cut before food? All suggestions welcome.
Posted by Globeman at 10:03