The mass media are finally catching up. So are the “experts”.
We’ve started to get stories about people borrowing money from payday lenders to pay their rent, such as this in the Guardian.
I said a couple of months ago that the problem with payday loans was that people used them for the wrong things. They buy things they don’t need, and then don’t have the money for things they do, one of the points I made being:
“having material things might temporarily make you feel one-up on the neighbours, but shortly the bill would come in and the neighbours will take out an even bigger loan to buy an even more expensive car, TV, gadget or whatever. Then we’re into a sort of purchasing arms race, with everybody spending money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like, by buying things they can’t afford. That way lies bankruptcy and madness.”
Instead of an outcry about people trying to make a living (however repellent their morals might be), why not educate the population to understand what they really value and to prioritise and set goals for what is important – like their rent?
In the same way, we have lots of outcry about gambling in the high-street, with councils wanting to be able to stop this “urban blight“.
I pointed out that it wasn’t the availability of gambling that was the problem, it was the way that people thought about it. If people are educated about what makes them assume that gambling is a realistic way of dealing with finance, they can get some control over it, they won’t gamble so much and you won’t have masses of bookmakers and fixed-odds machines in the high-street, because there will be no profit in it.
As I said:
“The odd flutter on the Grand National, a couple of pounds a week on the lottery to give you a few hour’s pleasure thinking about what you’d do with the money etc. probably isn’t going to hurt you (but it still might, if you don’t actually have the money to gamble with). But if you look at gambling as a way to solve problems – you probably need help.”
It would be so good if the charities, Government etc. stopped complaining about businesses taking advantage of people, and started to educate the people instead.
They could start by buying everybody Taming the Pound – it would give everybody what they need, and would be a lot cheaper than constant litigation to prevent businesses advertising, opening shops and making loads of money!