Book Sale

Monday 9 October 2023

When Times Are Tough


In medieval England people all across society would brew beer at home. Beer or ale was a staple of the English diet. It used to be if you wanted to consume something that you would make it. This was true for beer. Some people would brew far more beer than they needed. They may have been particularly proficient at making large quantities of beer or known for making really good beer and so they would open up their houses to the public so people could come and buy their beer.

These were known as "public houses" and later simply pubs.

We still call bartenders "publicans" in England. And pubs are still a vital part of English culture, and the culture of many of its former colonies. Some publicans opened rooms to people passing through town for rent, so they could make a little extra money. This did not just happen in England there were versions of this across medieval society and in other cultures as well.

The reason I mention this is because now people in Australia are starting to bring these old practices back to life. Not because of any sense of wanting to connect with our ancient Anglo-Saxon traditions, but because times are tough and people are struggling to pay their rent or their mortgages. It is not just a matter of people having too much debt, though this is an issue for many, but many people who are struggling have no debt, a decent level of savings and are paying exorbitant rents which are causing them to go backwards financially.

So now people are considering renting rooms in their houses to strangers, or in some cases renting their entire home to strangers through services like Air BnB a couple of times a month to make some extra money.

Times are tough out there for a lot of people, especially younger millennials who have a young family and have not had the chance to build a decent asset portfolio yet – and who may never get the chance with the way the economy is going.

I find it interesting how people are adapting and changing their lifestyles to seek to keep ahead of the creeping inflation and just maintain a basic standard of living. If you were to look at incomes and assets values on paper, Australians are wealthier than they have ever been. But if you compare the buying power of today’s dollar to the buying power of our money 5, 10, or 15 years ago, you can see clearly Australians are going under, quickly. Especially when you compare what people own on average to the average level of debt that people have in a household. Australians are sinking, and our wealth is evaporating.

But people are adapting. I find it interesting to see these old ways coming back again. I wonder how they will fair in this age of over-regulation of pretty much anything people do, or any possible way that people can even make a cent of profit. The dream of owning a home is quickly becoming a phantom for most Australians. But what is more shocking is the dream of having just your family in the home, is also becoming harder and harder for some Australians to achieve.

There is a kind of prosperity which is false and Australia is experiencing it. The luck of the lucky country is running dry. I wonder how this will all turn out? When times are tough people have to adapt, but how far can this go before our way of life is extinct?

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