Nobody is openly calling it a depression but then it’s a difficult call to say whether you’re in a depression or not when you’re actually in the midst of one.
Aside from the obvious financial difficulties that a growing list of countries are finding themselves in, signs this time around are seemingly all around on the smaller scale too. The list of bankrupts seems to be growing although that’s not really a terribly reliable sign in these days of financial engineering.
What’s perhaps more obvious is the number of small shops gradually disappearing. The smaller shops are more dependent on the local economy than the large chain stores and they tend not to have a large financial cushion to help them ride through the bad times either. Indicative of this too is the rise in the number of charity shops which can operate through financial difficulties as they don’t pay their staff nor do they pay for their stock. Thus in difficult times, charity shops tend to replace small shops.
Slightly strangely in some ways is that the chip shops and home bakeries are closing up. Two different reasons are working here with the chip shops suffering as they’re popular as cheap food outlets and thus have a fall-off in trade when those at the bottom end of the income levels have to make cuts. To some extent that affects the home bakeries too but there’s also the element of their products being a bit of a treat and that “treat money” is in shorter supply these days.
Will we all look back on this period ten or fifteen years from now and call it a depression? Somehow I suspect that the answer to that will be yes and that there are even more difficult times lying ahead.
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