Blog: Dave LeggettEnding better than mending?

Dave Leggett | 20 April 2009

There's some interesting news coming out of Slovakia where retailers are coming up with their own scrappage schemes for non-automotive goods. I wonder if that will catch on?

A big problem for policymakers is that consumers aren't in the mood for spending and an upturn in spending has to come if economic recovery is to be realised. At this stage in the economic cycle people need quite a bit of cajoling to get their wallets out.

In places like the US and UK consumers have been on an unprecedented spending binge that was boosted by asset price inflation. But the flip side of that coin is a hard economic landing now as consumers rein themselves in and unemployment climbs - which it will continue to do for a while even if there are signs that the economy has hit bottom. 

Is that it for rampant consumerism? Will this recession see underlying attitudes to consumption and spending change for the long-term? Or is the (my tongue is in cheek) natural propensity to improve one's quality of life via the continued acquisition and accumulation of material things merely lying low, dormant for a while? It's an interesting general question to which the environmental aspect to the hitherto unfettered culture of consumerism can be rolled in also. And what matters more, CO2 or MPG? Discuss down the pub.

Anyone want my old trainers? On second thoughts, maybe I'll be able to trade them in for a new pair soon...

THE FRIDAY STORY: Retailers copy Slovak scrappage scheme


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