Saturday, April 05, 2008

Economic dreams and realities

When I was just a kiddy, admittedly a few a few years back now, our major bank used to come around the schools once a year handing out tin money boxes and lectures on saving our pennies. It wasn’t about driving profits; they didn’t even have charges on our miniscule ‘penny’ savings accounts.

The whole concept was to drive a savings culture in the future, so little tots would grow up with a positive attitude to saving, and of course to that nice bank that introduced the concept to us. I guess, now that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, established for the people, has long since jumped into the shark pool as a senior shark.

Those years of the countries own bank working on a strong future didn’t foresee a future of globalization where our meager savings add up to zip in the grand equation. In fact even our central bank, the Reserve Bank, are having second thoughts about interest rate increases cooling the economy. We, the poor bloody consumers, aren’t doing it – we aren’t causing the inflationary problem.

They were simpler days back in the 1950s, even for a little kid the message was easy to understand. Our savings would help us in small ways as kids, our country and ourselves in big ways as adults. But no-one in the 1950s could have foreseen the world as it stands today economically.

I recall, even in high school on the ‘60s, having an essay torn up because it “so lacked imagination it must have been written by an adult.” The question was, what will the world be like, technologically, in the year 2000? Unfortunately my essay painted a world altered stylistically rather than functionally.

I hope the teacher recalls the attack and is watching the predicted outcomes. Had I been asked about the economy rather than atomic powered autos and the like I might have been more creative. I would have talked about a world of Ward Cleavers, squirreling away their earnings and creating a pleasant level of economic comfort for all.

For a more technical explanation it's worth a trip to Lindsay's "Saving a nation from debt"


abi said...

Get 'em while they're young - the Joe Camel philosophy.

What a jerk that teacher must have been.

Cart said...

“What a jerk that teacher must have been.” Funny thing, he was an exchange teacher from Mass., some coastal town I can’t recall just now. I idolized the guy and we got on very well generally, he was a good teacher. But it never does to buck normalcy.

abi said...

But it never does to buck normalcy.

That's very true. And if the guy was from Massachusetts, he must have been right. ;-)

D.K. Raed said...

I recall those kiddie savings accts! Ours were small, but thick, manila envelopes. On the outside, you wrote your name, address & account #. Then you shoved in your coins & licked the flap & handed it to the teacher. They were collected weekly by the local small-town sponsoring bank. We could go into the bank every quarter & have them update our passbook, with interest, which made us feel VERY important. I kept threatening to cash mine in everytime I wanted something that the parents wouldn't buy. My mom made me keep it until I was a teenager. By then, I was earning beaucoup bucks babysitting, so I was adding to the acct, not subtracting. When I graduated & needed a checking acct, that bank became MY bank. Heck, I already had an account there. It remained my bank until I moved to another state. Today it has been gobbled up by a huge regional bank (an impersonal robotic monster that even tried to eliminate human tellers until people screamed). Needless to say, I don't do biz w/that bank, even though they operate in "the 11 western states".

About your overly dramatic teacher ... if his goal was to be remembered, he succeeded! I also recall some similar essay, where we were asked to describe one thing that hasn't been invented yet that will be common later in your lives. I came up with .... telepathy! Don't remember what grade I got, but we were treated to the teacher reading the best essays aloud & mine wasn't one of them. Other kids had come up with actual concrete inventions (like the atomic powered autos you mention), so it seems once again I was out in the ether.

Kvatch said...

Though I can't remember anything like the local bank coming into the schools, I do remember when savings and loans were distinct from banks. The former seemed to care about kids saving their money. I remember the show that the bank officer made of opening my first account. Banks where another kind of institution entirely. They were "downtown" and you didn't go there unless you needed a loan or were opening a business.

Cart said...

I guess if marketing people had crystal balls they would never have encouraged kids to save.
They don't want us to save, they just want us to hand it over.

lindsaylobe said...

Great post~I have linked when talking about the same subject!
Best wishes

Cart said...

Lindsay, as usual you really illuminate issues. I’m putting your link here for others.
Saving a nation from debt