In the latest instalment of the Global Financial Crisis (“GFC”), following the lead of Ireland and other countries, the Australian Government has taken the extraordinary step of guaranteeing all deposits with Australian banks, building societies and credit unions as well as locally incorporated subsidiaries of foreign banks. The guarantee can also extend to wholesale debt (if banks pay an as yet undetermined guarantee fee), which allows protection of bonds issued by Australian banks offshore.
A colleague has lent me a copy of Oliver James’ book “Affluenza” and, while I am not far through it yet, it is scathing in its damnation of the effects of capitalism on individuals in society. At a time when capitalism is rapidly losing it shine on a global scale, with the financial sector collapsing around us, this individual perspective is an interesting small scale counterpoint to the large scale picture we are seeing on the news each day.
The thesis of the book is that an “affluenza virus” has spread thoughout English-speaking countries. This virus leads us to be obsessively focused on shallow material pursuits. At the same time, it leaves us anxious and prone to low self-esteem, addictions and depression as there is always someone with a faster car or a bigger cigar (to quote The Beautiful South).