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Mr Micawber and his lessons for today


CHARLES Dickens was an English novelist whom many regard as the greatest writer of the Victorian era. He was tremendously popular during his lifetime and his novels and short stories are still widely read today.

One of his best-known characters remains Wilkins Micawber, who appeared in the novel David Copperfield. Micawber was good-natured and kind, but was prone to mood swings. When he was up he was the eternal optimist and was convinced that ‘something would turn up’, but when he was down he thought his career was in crisis. Micawber was generous to a fault but was lacking in his own financial skills and was perpetually in debt. This quotation has become known as the Micawber Principle:

‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen and six, result happiness.

‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.’

Of course Mr Micawber was completely unable to follow his own advice, which gives his character so much realism and authenticity. We all know what we should do when it comes to money, but what we do in practice can be entirely a different matter. Living within your means, which is the simple way of expressing the Micawber Principle today, is not encouraged nowadays; the opposite is true. Debt of all sorts is pursued and encouraged from all quarters, not least by the huge and grasping banking industry.

Personal financial skills are so important to all of us that they should be taught, as a high priority, in schools. They are not, of course. I wonder why? The basics of what Albert Einstein called mankind’s greatest discovery, compound interest, are not explained, nor how this can be so important to us. If we pay it, we are in debt. If we receive it, we are heading for financial health.

There are two types of slavery in the 21st century: wage slavery and debt slavery. Not many of us can completely escape the former, at least when we’re young, but most of us can minimise the latter if we are aware of its importance and create a mindset that is independent of society’s pressures to conform.

Since the Second World War and the advent of hire purchase coupled with the huge rise in consumerism, debt in all its forms has become normal. Where people once saved to buy things, they now accrue possessions by surrendering their freedom to the lending institutions who have grown obscenely rich in the process. There is another saying which  is true today, that ‘people’s expenditure rises to meet their income’ which results in a phenomenon whereby even those who might be considered well off live hand-to-mouth on a monthly basis.

The Independent newspaper has just published a survey which indicates that 26 per cent of those earning upwards of £100,000 are living pay-cheque-to-pay-cheque. The same survey highlights that just under 30 per cent of those aged 40 and under say they have nothing left at the end of each month.

Savings in the UK also paint a sorry picture: half of all people in the UK have savings of £1,000 or less. Around 27million Brits (51 per cent) would not be able to live off their savings for more than a month.

Debt is the biggest threat to freedom there is. If you are constantly anxious about financial solvency, you are less likely to resist the government of the day when it makes decisions that are against your interests. Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why our politicians, our health workers, and our population as a whole are reluctant to do the right thing or act in the right way: fear of losing their livelihood that maintains their debt levels and standard of living.

Living within your means, the Micawber Principle, not accumulating debt wherever possible and resisting the pressure to conform – is it possible? Or have we arrived just where the globalists want us: a captive population enslaved by our own desires to have stuff we don’t need paid for by money we don’t have?

It strikes me as incredible that someone earning £100,000 per annum could be financially strapped, but there you have it. Perhaps what is needed is a return to reading Dickens and taking on board the lessons of Mr Micawber. It should be required reading in schools, along with basic financial management but will we see it? Of course not, because therein lies a degree of independence and freedom to master one’s own destiny, just what the globalists don’t want.

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Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins is a furniture designer/maker who loves to write.

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