29/07/2016

[Newspaper Column] Negative Interest

Each week the Romford Recorder has the Steve Allen column. If you're in the Romford area you can buy the newspaper every Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.


You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.


On what can be a frivolous radio show sometimes, this week we were talking about macro economics. A bank has said it may have to bring in negative interest rates and it took us a whole show to get our heads round what that would be like.

The old model of banking was simple; we would deposit our money, they'd use it to make more money, and we'd get a slice of the action. That kick-back was called interest.

That could be flipped on its head. With negative interest we would put our money in the bank and the bank would take a bit for itself, like a tip. If I went to a restaurant where they only put one chef on at peak times and made me queue for most of my lunch hour I don't think I'd tip.

Unsurprisingly most callers didn't like the idea of something that used to earn you money now costing you, and that could be the start of things to come. If the banks pull this off how long till we have employers charging you to go on a zero hours contract? I'd hate that as I am no good at making sportswear.

If you get three matching pictures on a scratchcard you'll have to give them your wallet. If you take a family heirloom to the Antiques Roadshow and Fiona Bruce will follow you home and mug you on your doorstep.

Just when I was about to write an angry letter to the banks trying to give them a guilt trip about how we bailed them out when one caller pointed something out. If interest rates are negative would that mean they'd pay me for being overdrawn? Finally, there's a way to make money when you do a frivolous radio show for a living.

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