Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Rise of the Pound

Might this be a solution to the current financial difficulties? Not being an economist, or even someone who is savvy about her own finances, I rather doubt it.
Nonetheless, let me tell you the story of a very personal rise in the pound.

My much-loved computer, after serving me faithfully for many years, finally succumbed to old age. A new computer was ordered and duly arrived to take its place. Although I felt disloyal to my old friend in even admiring this newcomer, it had to be admitted that it was very beautiful.
Not only that, it had the amazing facility of allowing its operational parts to be completely detached - it was, literally, wire-less.
The keyboard that I am typing on at this moment has no connection to its parent body, the 'mouse' is equally free to roam at will and responds to being gently stroked on the back.
How does everything operate under these conditions?
I've no idea . . . but I'm suitably awed and impressed.

The one thing that was reassuringly familiar was the layout of the keyboard. Here, if nowhere else on my modern marvel, I felt at home. Letters, numerals, signs and symbols, all were positioned as they always had been . . . or so I thought. Only when I had the need to use the pound symbol did I realise that something was different. There, on my new keyboard, was the dollar sharing a key with number 4, the pound sharing a key with number 3, and the euro sharing the 'at' symbol on a rather crowded number 2. The three major western society currencies were all there.

However, when I attempted to type the pound symbol all I could get was an unexpected and unwanted 'hash'. The dollar was working perfectly, but not the pound.

What had happened? I knew the economy was in dire straits, but I didn't realise that the pound had sunk without trace.
But what if the problem was more subtle than that? What if my American-designed AppleMac, mindful of its country of origin and of America's colonial past, had felt slighted by my wish to use the pound symbol before using the dollar? What if the detached keyboard had decided that other links could be severed, and had done so by removing the pound and establishing a fiscal Declaration of Independence?

I phoned the helpful technician who had installed my new marvel. By means of gentle tweaking, raising a flag here, lowering a flag there, yet maintaining an entente cordiale throughout, we managed to restore the pound whilst retaining the dollar. The 'special relationship' had been re-established!

My new computer can now, free of any national allegiance offer the pound, the dollar or the euro to anyone in need.
I wonder, might this same technique help our economic crisis? A little gentle tweaking, a recognition of flags and priorities, an acknowledgement that some things are beyond our understanding and that, ultimately, we are all here to help each other?

It might be worth a try.