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Press Panic People Into Pinching Purse Strings

Sep 1, 2008
You cannot open a newspaper or news page on the internet these days without being filled with doom and gloom for all the reports of recession, credit crunch and housing market crashes. We even have predictions of how crime and violence as well as family breakdown will all be symptoms of people's hardship. But is this not scaremongering? Is it all really so bad?

There is no doubt that financial and housing markets are suffering but is this not part and parcel of an economy that can become unstable at the drop of a piece of gossip? Scaremongering only adds fuel to an otherwise nervous population who then want to batten down the hatches and cut costs on everything - just in case.

Yes, house repossessions have increased, mortgages are difficult to secure and property prices have dropped but this happens often. The more you report it, the worse it will get so just how responsible is the press for the downturn? The housing market may be slow but houses are still selling. The price may be lower but this just means that first time buyers are in a better position to get onto the housing ladder.

If this current climate does nothing other than teach people to be a little less careless with their money then it would be a good thing. In the past, people have been so used to this type of economy that penny pinching and belt pulling were ways of life not catch phrases. It didn't necessarily mean people were no longer able to respect authority or that pillaging and plundering were everyday activities. It meant that people pulled together that little bit more. The fear of families breaking up - well who could really afford it in these circumstances? Maybe this will encourage families to stick together a bit more rather than take the easy option when they have had enough.

Often when in the grip of a recession, holidays are something you take at Clacton on Sea, not overseas. Yet the holiday trade, although slacking, is still there. Airports are still flourishing and a whole new business has built up around these airports from airport parking companies to beauty shops and travel shops.

These companies would not be able to continue if people were pulling in their belts to extreme. Maybe a holiday abroad would be a bit of a luxury but if money were that tight would they really want the added expense of specialised airport parking? Would they not simply park some distance away and get a bus in, or even get someone else to drop them off? Airport parking is one of those unnecessary luxuries and people are still using it so how bad can things be?

There are also the little shops that spring up around airports that are all still doing just fine thank you very much. It seems that this country is just not used to dealing with hiccups in the economy and any news of a downturn panics people into evasive action that simply escalates things. The UK have long had what can only be described as an affluent time of it. Spare money has been around, companies have flourished and the money lenders have been far too free and easy with cash that has been forwarded to people who really couldn't afford it in the first place.

We all have a responsibility to be careful but an even bigger responsibility not to panic.
About the Author
Economic expert Catherine Harvey looks at how the media are capable of hyping problems beyond propertion and how even smaller, unneccessary businesses like airport parking are still functioning quite well despite this.
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