email me at: Mickey Sharp explains: THE CREDIT CRUNCH OK! So you’ve heard of the Credit Crunch right? When the banks ran out of cash. It must have been a bit like when you realise you’ve dropped a pound down the back of the couch and it’s just out of your reach – you know that feeling where your finger tips can touch the top of it but you can’t actually get a grip on it unless you get a growth spurt in the next two minutes. And you know that your mum will go mad if you pull the couch apart looking for it because she’ll say you aren’t showing enough respect for her cushions or something. Well it was like that. Except the banks dropped all the money in the world behind the couch. And then they lost the couch. So what happened? Well, you could do what my Dad does and listen to bald men with glasses on the TV explain it to you. That’s when this kind of stuff happens. The guy in the studio says, “So bald guy with glasses. Tell us what happened.” And bald guy with glasses goes, “Debts…Iceland…Sub prime...this is so exciting my glasses have steamed up.” And nobody has got a clue what happened. Especially the bald guy with the steamed up glasses who now can’t see anything but mist. But I’ve worked it out. And I’m here to explain it in one easy to digest format. So untwist a cold cola, pop open a packet of cheese ‘n’ onion and give me your full attention. In my class there are two types of kid. There’s kids like my ex-best friend Umair who has been saving money ever since he was like three or something. He gets money for his birthday and he just keeps it and puts it with all his other money. It’s called saving. I’ve never been very good at it but at least I’m not like the other type of kid – that’s kids like the Morons at the Back. The Morons at the Back can’t keep money in their hand for more than about a minute. As soon as they have it they go into the first shop they see and spend it. And if there aren’t any shops they just lose it. Or throw it at people. I’ve still got a dent in my head from a pound coin. But these two types of kid grow up to be two types of adult: either an Umair or a Moron at the Back. So the Umairs of this world have got lots of money and they need somewhere to put it so they stick it in a bank and tell the bank that they won’t need it until they are pensioners or they need a new bathroom. Meanwhile the Morons at the Back haven’t got any money so they don’t bother going to the bank because people would just ask them what they were doing and the Morons at the Back would hit them. But then the banks had a really big idea. Instead of just keeping Umair’s money and giving it back to him they thought maybe they could lend some of it to the Morons at the Back. They figured they could make themselves lots of money if they lent the Morons ten pounds but made them pay back twenty and they figured that the Morons would be too stupid to notice. They were right about the first part. All the Morons at the Back came running into the banks to get some money and when the banks said, “You’ve got to promise to pay us back double!” The Morons said, “Yeah! Course we will. We promise.” Now I’ve seen student teachers ask the Morons at the Back if they will behave better in the next lesson because if they don’t then they’ll have to report them to Mr Walton. And the Morons say, “Yeah! Course we will! We promise!” What happens next lesson? The Morons go crazy and the student teacher decides to be an accountant instead. Exactly the same thing happened with the banks. When the time comes for all the millions of Morons at the Back to pay up double the money, they just give the banks blank looks and say, “What money? I haven’t got any money. I’ve spent it on something shiny with buttons and a plug. Get lost.” And the banks are just like the student teacher. Except because there isn’t any money left to count they can’t become accountants. So that’s what happened in the Credit Crunch. The banks took loads of money off all the Umairs in the world and gave it to all the Morons at the Back. Who spent it. And now it’s all gone. Now you might think that the bad guys in this story are the Morons at the back. But that’s not true. The Morons at the Back are just morons. They can’t help it. That’s how they are. And every kid in my class knew from really early on in Year 7, like after break on the first day or something, that you never ever get involved with them. They’ll throw a rubber at your head every now and then but apart from that have nothing to do with them. And never ever ever lend them money. So if a class of Year 7 kids can work that out in a morning why couldn’t all the banks that are stuffed full with people who’ve been to college and watched a thousand interviews with bald men wearing glasses on the TV? I don’t know. But it’s their fault. If they’d have come into our class for like five minutes I could have explained it to them. And then we wouldn’t have all the money in the world stuck down the back of a couch. I’m just saying. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR MICKEY SHARP? EMAIL THEM TO US HERE home mickey home