Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 7/1/2002I can't work out this economy business. Before Christmas, we were being enjoined to go out and keep the whole business running by demonstrating Consumer Confidence.

Monday 7/1/2002

I can't work out this economy business. Before Christmas, we were being enjoined to go out and keep the whole business running by demonstrating Consumer Confidence. Rates were cut, central bankers prostrated themselves nightly on the TV, and captains of commerce raised their tear-stained faces to the heavens and prayed for sales.

And we the Consumer heard. We the Consumer consumed. Best Christmas for years. Didn't we do well!

Er, no. Now we're being told off for buying too much on tick. Having inveigled us all to get as deep into debt as possible, the banks are shaking their podgy fingers at us and threatening to raise interest rates in punishment.

Of course, they can't close us down. Look at Japan -- a country with an economy that's been quietly dribbling in the corner of its padded bamboo cage for years now. Has a new austerity swept the nation? Or is it still the sort of place that will happily buy three million cellphones just because they've got cameras in?

Guess. At least, that's what Reuters says today: the Japanese have taken to mobile photography like ducks to hoi-sin sauce and never mind the post neo-classical endogenous growth theory.

Now, I like the idea of cameras and cellphones getting it on. I even more like the idea of 3G digital cameras, because then you can dump your pictures to your Web site or your pal's email the second you take them. No more messing around with flash memory cards, and lots more fun. I just hope that, like the Japanese, we find a way of affording them when they finally come no matter what the bankers say.

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