A Warning from the Future?
The recent fiasco of a ‘computer glitch’ at RBS group’s banks, including NatWest and Ulster Bank, could be a presage of what is to come if and when the Euro-shit hits the fan.
People have been annoyed, inconvenienced and worse because, for some of them, money hasn’t been available in their accounts to pay bills on time. Credit ratings could have been damaged, rent payments have been missed for the last time, and so on. The banks have promised that nobody will be out of pocket, meaning, I suppose, that they will compensate people as necessary once things are back to normal.
That is all very well for what is, in the end, a minor problem. But it is a look into the microscope compared to the much bigger problems that could arise if the Euro crisis, or some other crisis, decides to finally blow up and destroy our currencies and banking systems on a large scale. For now, politicians have been mumbling and fumbling and generally passing the parcel around and around, but what are the odds that sooner or later they drop it?
Maybe, just maybe, they can keep the crisis contained and it will just mean higher inflation and 20+ years of debt repayments for the countries of Europe. Or, maybe they cannot keep it contained. Maybe China’s property crash will finally happen and destabilize things even more than they are already. And then what?
If the banking system really seizes up, this little debacle will look like nothing in comparison. You might not be able to draw cash out for days, or even weeks. Cash could be worthless anyway. People will use jewellery, gold and silver coins, mobile phones, even cigarettes as currency instead: barter will rule, for a while. Maybe quite a long while.
Me, I’m buying a couple of extra cans of food every time I go shopping, just in case: everyone should have at least a week’s supply of emergency food in their cupboard, just in case they can’t buy anything for a while. It doesn’t have to be caviar: beans and spaghetti hoops will keep you alive, after all.