The collapse of global markets is generally considered to be a bad thing, but I pride myself on being able to spot a silver lining. 

 

However badly markets fare, we in the west are unlikely to slip into absolute poverty, we’re not going to starve.  Our notion of poverty is a relative one, relative to those living around us, and so is our measure of wealth.

 

I count myself amongst the hapless winners in this global economic downturn.  I own no stocks, I own no property, I have no assets to speak of, just my own human capital.  From my perspective a reduction in asset prices is a good thing.  If the markets really tank I might even be able to afford a house. 

  

In anticipation of a global recession petrol prices are falling, food prices are off their highs.  Every time a jobless banker is forced to sell his Porsche I get a little richer, if only comparatively.  Compared with Britain’s richest man, Lakshmi Mittal, who has lost £20bn in the past four months, I’m smelling of roses.  My only concern (I concede it is a sizable one) is securing future employment.

 

The 3 billion people who live on less than $2.50 a day are also getting richer, compared with the global average; but then relative wealth is a hollow measurement when you’re living in absolute poverty.

 

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