Till debt do us part?
You could be forgiven for not celebrating today's report that the worst of the recession is over. It is not the first time experts have said we are through the worst, but it comes amid headlines of job losses and hot on the heels of the Bank of England's new attempts to get us spending again to help ease the credit crunch. With people still nervous about splashing out, despite cuts in the Bank rate, a change in our mood towards spending is a key driver in boosting the economy as the financial sector thrives on us feeling ready to part with our money.
It is a far cry from where we were not so long ago when debt seemed all the rage. In name alone Stop Buying Crap sums up the attitude bemoaned by many as the root cause of the current crisis.
Unconstrained debt, as opposed to healthy debt that a growing economy depends on, has become a cultural norm. Our economy has relied on the right amount of borrowing balanced with the right amount of spending -as Declan Curry explained aboard a hot air balloon:
The Simple Dollar agrees that debt has been too readily accepted but also blames a general ignorance about personal finance and a media ramming consumerism down our throats.
Basil and Amanda Rankine found a way out, albeit one that many found morally questionable. Panorama interviewed the couple who seemed to have found a way to dodge their debt or, as critics see it, dodge their responsibility. But what is beyond doubt is the spend, spend, spend attitude Can't Pay, Won't Pay highlighted, an attitude now catching up with people across the world.
This week sees the World Service launch a global look at the economy in a series called Taking the Pulse. With reports from around the world it promises to be a comprehensive look at how the pinch is being felt internationally. An interactive map lets you add your story to chart the global financial crisis.
But if your worries are closer to home you may find the Debt Test a useful tool complete with tips and links to places you can get advice.