Saturday, 19 November 2011

Teaching Money Matters in Schools - WHY?

Home Economics + Basic Arithmetic = Good Kousekeeping!

I've been watching the recent news and developments with regards to the petitions that are floating around the place. They are plying us with reasons to pledge our support to their cause, asking us to help bring money matters into schools as part of our basic education system. To be frank, I just don't get it!

School is a place for children learning the basics needed for their future adult lives, isn't it? These lessons are simple, they establish an elementary understanding of subjects that are important to everyone during future careers, regardless of what that career may or may not be. We can choose to listen and learn or we can tolerate these 'lessons' up until the point we have the freedom of choice to leave school and learn in another capacity - through life itself.

Some may see school simply as a place where children get sent during the day so they aren't wandering the streets with nothing better to do, biding their time until they are old enough to earn. School, like nursery, could even be seen as a place where children go so their parents can carry out activities other than childcare, like earning an income or anything else they see fit to do in the absence of their offspring.

Whatever any of us thinks of school, it is our right to have a basic education and our duty to provide similar for future generations. But it is not our duty to accept responsibility for the bad spending habits of others. We each receive a basic understanding of reading, writing and arithmetic, along with the simple concept of economics, be they home or otherwise, so common sense should prevail. But it doesn't!

Those who should know more than us have burdened this society with false beliefs that we should all be classed as equals, that we should all be able to partake of a decent meal, own designer labels, buy the most up to date gadgetry and possess all manner of luxury items. We should all be able to afford hobbies, pastimes and holidays, convenience and luxury should be readily available, en masse.

They led us to believe that we could all own our own homes and have the basic skills necessary to turn us into entrepreneurs or even just start our own businesses. But they overlooked one fundamental flaw in the plan - the fact that money is not a living entity. It cannot grow naturally, it cannot adapt to its surroundings and it cannot learn right from wrong. It is nothing more than paper, plastic and metal developed, manufactured and controlled by the chosen few who, to their disgrace, have been unable to balance the nations' books.

The concept is simple - take one pile of money, divide it be any number to whom you see fit to lend, then sit back and watch them pay dividends, by way of interest. If those payments fail, charge even more, add on penalties and drive the borrowers further into debt. Offer an array of incentives and promises of a better future, more security, better choices and the potential to feel good and then sit back, watch the borrowers borrow more and spend more, lining the pockets of the chosen few or those who chose to become one of them by sheer grit and determination. They all seem to have one thing in common - a total disregard for others when things, not surprisigly, go wrong. But there are always the get out clauses of insolvency and bankruptcy!

This continual building of debt has now escalated to such a height that even they cannot fathom out an agreeable method to stopping it, let alone putting it right. Their solutions are to print more money, cut back on what they think is 'unneccessary' spending and make it ven more difficult for 'normal' people to build real, reputable businesses that can grow to prosper and employ others.

They price ordinary people out of the market with legislation governing maternity pay, paternity pay, pension schemes, insurances, restricted working hours and minimum wage thresholds, then sit back and await the next emergency move.

But where do they go when all the previous options fail? They need to cast blame further and wider, so now we see the blame being laid on the children... If the youth of today and the common people had learned more, this may never have happened.

Well that is bullshit!

Those who dragged this nation to its proverbial knees were the very people who allegedly benefited from extra education. All their accumulated wealth of wisdom and expertise led us to where we are now, watching and waiting for the next global catastrophe that can quickly be assigned a few billion that adds to the amassed debt. They need huge tragedies, wars and disasters, so future generations can look back on history and point the finger of blame in any direction except that which is true. Nobody appears to have shoulders broad enough to support the burden of controlling what really cannot be controlled, so let's start again - educate the young.

To whom should we look for this teaching?

How and why are the current teaching methods allegedly failing us so badly?

Controlling a company, household or personal budget is nothing more than a combination of basic arithmetic and home economics, so why are so many people so bad at it?

Why isn't a closer look being taken at the education system itself?

Why are teachers failing to teach the basic principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division?

Why are parents failing to teach their children the basic skills necessary for survival in a capitalist society?

Is it not possible that some form of brainwashing has swept through our entire Western civilisatio, engulfing an entire generation, and that generation is not the youth of today! Nor even is it their parents' nor their grand parents' generations.

There has always been poverty, unrest, unfair division and class differences. YES! I dare to suggest that we still live within a 'Class' system and I dare to deny the existence of this so-called 'classless society' or equality that was dreamt up by some 'numpty' who thought the only way to cast off blame from those who should have known better, would be to invite society's minions into their lifestyle of wanton greed and waste - offer them more credit, hold them down by debt, if they come out fighting, let them take the blame when it all goes wrong.

So, I guess what I am trying to say here is that, in my humble opinion, people won't learn lessons that they don't want to learn, even if it is taught in schools. Brainwashing is everywhere - it's called advertising! Unless we ignore all of that and accept that debt is caused by spending more than we have, then what gets taught in our schools matters not one jot.

It is up to us, as idividuals, to challenge ourselves to live within our means and if speculative investments need to be made, have a back up plan in the event you don't quite pull it off in time.

Shona Prophett


  1. You say Westeren civilisation, its not the same everywhere. Not all countries have gone to the extent the UK appears to have gone. I read that the UK has 80% of the total European personal dept. Here (NL) it is very common to pay cash for large purchases - eg cars. Credit and loans come with a health warning - borrowing money, costs money. It is obviously not perfect here and there are plenty of people in dept but I think it is far from the scale in the UK. In Germany house ownership is Not expected. Renting is fine for a huge portion of the population. Oh and the weather is better too.

  2. Perhaps too much of a generalisation using the term 'western civilisation', but all the same, the more developed nations do tend to expect more for less.

    A secure roof over our heads shouldn't be too much to expect, but renting is only a feasible option as long as there are houses to be rented, provided by reputable, trustworthy landlords.

    Here in Scotland, we have a Landlords Registration system in place but even that isn't being properly monitored.

    There are many, many bad landlords and many who have failed to meet the basic legal requirements of being fit and proper to do such a 'job'. In fact, many have failed to even apply for registration, let alone prove themselves worthy of providing secure and safe housing for longterm tenants.

    On the credit/debt issue, the current situation seems unsustainable and probably has been for more years than anyone cares to mention, but what can anyone do? Pay off their personal debts? If the historically low interest rates cannot be reflected in personal debt repayments, how can this be affordable to those who are losing jobs, being forced out their houses or falling ill? Yet still so many are failing to take account of their personal spending habits until it is too late.

    In order to generate cash, the Government needs the nation to work and spend, taxes are crucial to the success of Government services and yet legislation cannot keep abreast of tax evasion, the cost of these public services or its own debt repayments.

    Teaching kids that they shouldn't spend £1000 when they earn only £200 isn't going to work, especially when generating that income in the first place might cost them more than it's worth. The sad fact is that the downward spiral began many, many years ago and it doesn't appear to be stopping (or slowing) any time soon.

    Best to be prepared and try to ride out the storm in the hope that it blows itself out sooner rather than later, perhaps. Laying the responsibility of controlling future financial chaos on the schools shouldn't be the only option when teachers have little or no power to teach pupils who don't want to be taught.

    Thinking back to school, we are already taught the basics, as stated, of arithmetic and home economics. It's what we do with those basic principles that makes all the difference.