Posted by: Selina Todd | October 6, 2008

Class, the ‘credit crunch’ and ‘affluence’

As Britain teeters on the edge of recession, BBC Radio 4 has begun a blog designed to get your views on the so-called ‘credit crunch’ and how it is affecting people. Comments so far range much wider than house prices – the usual media focus – with listeners and bloggers offering their thoughts on the cost of living more generally. Many of them are feeling ‘the pinch’, but their comments indicate how region and social class still shape people’s standard of living. However, they also indicate that many people have been finding life difficult during the so-called ‘boom years’ of the late 1990s and early 200s. They highlight how difficult it is to define the ‘standard of living’, ‘boom’, ‘bust’, or even economic ‘development’ – terms often bandied about in the media. Comments indicate that many factors: fuel bills, mortgages, credit availability, but also benefits, employment and environment all contribute to how people feel about their lives and the society of which we’re all part. In the 1950s and 1960s, the term ‘affluence’ found its way into much media reportage about British society, and glossed over some of the underlying causes of poverty that never went away: old age and unemployment being two of the most major. The Radio 4 blog is a reminder to look behind ‘credit crunch’ headlines to discover the real causes of poverty and inequality in Britain today…and suggests that asking ordinary people their opinions might prove useful. Check it out here.

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