As I travel around and visit many different places, the disparity in the speed at which the credit crunch is unfolding in different places is readily apparent, and with it the attitudes of local people to warnings of hard times to come. In places where the bursting of the credit bubble is more advanced, such as Ireland, people are generally more interested in understanding what went wrong and what they can do for themselves and their communities. In such places, where homes may already only be worth 40% of the mortgage on them, there is more public recognition and discussion of the issues, even if there is still a great deal of collective denial.
In other places where the impact of the bubble has yet to be felt, for instance Canada, where I am currently, there is still a sense of invulnerability. We haven’t got as far as denial yet. That’s hardly surprising when you can’t tell a crack-shack from a mansion in places like Vancouver. This is bubble psychology at its most extreme, where no one cares what they pay for something, because they think someone else will always pay more, and no one cares what they owe, so long as the monthly payment is manageable in the short-term. Most other Canadian cities are still in the grip of bubble psychology as well, although not to the same extent. Needless to say, the level of public discussion in Canada is abysmally low. Continue reading “Bubble case-studies: Ireland and Canada”