Friday, 22 October 2010

I've been meaning to write but...

As all good behavioural economists know, habit is a hard nut to crack. I got into the habit of thinking: I'll write that blog post tomorrow. And, suddenly, six months had gone by.

In the world of the multi-web, this is the equivalent of having become extinct and then re-evolving seven million years later. Even in the real world a good deal seems to have happened.

In the domain of enough, it would be a waste of effort to attempt any synopsis or synthesis of external events: suitable summaries I'm sure abound. Instead, I want to spend a few moments on a couple of things that didn't happen:

  • There has not been a resurgence of consumer spending in the UK. There are still millions of people spending billions of pounds on stuff they don't really need, to be sure, and the government is still desperately hoping that sometime soon there'll be a recovery on the high street to rescue us from the 'brink', but weird signs are popping up here and there. I encountered reference to a paper reportedly circulating among Europe's car manufacturing companies that is wondering what to do about the fact that young people have fallen out of love with the car as a status symbol.
  • I personally have not bought: a television, a radio, a new hi-fi, a new suit, a new briefcase or a new phone. I have not bought several shirts, several pairs of shoes and several new pairs of trousers. I have not been on an aeroplane, nor have I bought any furniture, carpets or heavy textiles.
That's not enough, of course, there's plenty of others things that I could have not done, and there's plenty of things that didn't happen that would have been good if they had, but I wanted to get off on an optimistic footing.

I noticed that The Guardian's G2 supplement this week had a piece on 'things to do for free'. This is all well and good as part of coping with austerity and all that, but HAVE THEY ANY IDEA WHAT'LL HAPPEN IF THAT SORT OF THING BECAME A WIDESPREAD HABIT?



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