Wednesday, 15th July 2020

This Month's Magazine
We must work our way out of this recession

We must work our way out of this recession

We all need to calm down and go back to basics.

What made Iceland think that that their economic future lay in banking?

Well, after all small countries like Luxembourg and Switzerland, do quite well out of banking. Icelandic banks grew to 10 times the size of the economy but they overlooked that those model countries have had centuries worth of experience running banks and the associated infrastructure slowly and from scratch. Had they stuck to what they know best, they would have avoided a serious scandal.

What makes Supermarkets think that they can advertise and sell insurance and like services? Why don’t they just stick to food and make sure they do their own job right instead of causing a massive obesity problem along with other supermarkets worldwide in their attempt to increase the shelf life or products they should not really sell.

What makes banks sell insurance and pensions, is this not the job of insurance companies? If banks paid more attention to their own business instead of poking their noses into matters they know precious little about perhaps the world would not be in such a mess.

I believe that people and companies, motivated by greed in their pursuit of grandeur, behave this way with the objective of accumulating the largest possible sums of money. But the larger you are the harder you fall and this is exactly what we are seeing now, especially with banks. May I add that the faster you grow, the quicker you fall?

Unfortunately this absurd pursuit of illusionary grandeur is not limited to large corporations alone; it applies to all businesses at all levels.

What makes an individual with no experience whatsoever think he can start an estate agency business on the Costa del Sol, even without any knowledge of the local language or market, just because some who do are doing well at it?


The same applies to a number of other professions and trades like electricians, plumbers, mortgage brokers, financial advisors and many more including publishing.
This problem is probably worldwide, but it has been seen with greater emphasis here in Southern Spain where nobody actually seems to be taking the trouble to do anything about setting standards anyway.

There is a right way to go about it. In the first place there has to be academical knowledge acquired through working experience or tuition, then come the most important few years of training to gain the experience that is needed to offer a proper service to consumers.

You do not jump in at the deep end. The limited knowledge and experience cannot help the poor consumer who is now being exploited, and not served, by incompetents. Just because someone else is doing all right, having smart theories and ingenious ideas is no substitute for a solid business sense and experience based on the fundamentals of supply and demand.

If everyone stuck by what they know best and stopped sitting at other people’s dinner tables to “grab” their food, every one would benefit and the size of markets would not be reduced by the oversupply of goods and services many of which supplied by companies and individuals who need a few lessons in competence.
Massive unemployment, cutting down on wages or working hours, serious shortage of money to met commitments should all serve as a lesson. It is also time for tolerant immigration to be over, there are far too many people “eating at our table and not enough food to go around”. The picture may look grim, but we must shed our sense of pessimism and replace it with optimism while working our way out of this recession.

Let’s calm down and go back to basics. If you have a trade and profession, stick to it and get as good as you can with the object of offering as good a service to clients as possible.

Banks must be forced to lend to small businesses and not waste millions on large corporations that do not deserve rescuing and if you do not have a trade or profession or are new to an area, then first you have to learn at your expense and not at the expense of consumers.
Some weeks ago I responded to an advert in a local rag and I was quoted some €5,000 plus materials to install electricity in our newly built extension, when I queried this I was told that one has to pay for quality work by a qualified English electrician. I have actually got the job done at the right price by a qualified Spanish electrician for €300 plus materials. And what a nice job he did too!

Thankfully consumers are becoming more measured in their spending and more determined to get their right value for money; they must however learn to distinguish between what is cheap and what is correctly or competitively priced. There is a big difference between real cream and imitation cream, between a magazine and a local rag, between a plumber who tries to do the job of an electrician and an electrician, between a financial advisor (insurance salesman) and an accountant, etc. Let common sense prevail, “Cheap” means exactly that!

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