UK Politics

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

The Spectator lists thirteen potential upsides to an economic recession. The authors argue that the disappearance of the following boomtime phenomena can only be seen as a good thing:

1. The reporting of rising property prices as though this is universally good news: For most people (those at the stage of their lives when their next move is upwards) it is good news when property prices fall. The same applies to stock prices. Why the BBC reports all financial events from the standpoint of rich, retired shareholders owning large homes, we despair.

2. Insane working hours: The introduction of the American work ethic to the UK has had appalling effects on quality of life, and may be a welcome casualty of the recession. We have no particular urge to return to an age where the very act of working is seen as slightly vulgar — but the opposite is worse. And long work hours are dangerously self-reinforcing. As Joseph Stiglitz observed recently, the great problem destroying leisure today is the problem of co-ordination. In other words, there is no point in knocking off at 6 p.m. when you know all your friends will be working until 8.30 p.m. Before we adopt US working practices, we should remind ourselves that the white American genetic make-up is exclusively drawn from the most restless, obsessive, zealous, neurotic and friendless 5 per cent of the European population. The reason the Pilgrim Fathers were forced to leave these shores had little to do with religion — it was because nobody liked them.

3. The Organic Movement: Vegetables, fruit, meat and fish simply weren’t expensive enough as they were. They had to become ‘organic’, produced without the use of certain pesticides and antibiotics, using the power of love alone to fend off whitefly and foot rot and in turn separate the classes: the poor eat the drug-pumped battery-farmed thighs and the rich feast on the organic, massaged-before-bedtime fillets. The reality is that most organic produce tastes the same, if not decidedly worse than the evil GM variety.

Full list here. Knock yourselves out.