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THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN

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WHO LIVED IN A SHOE

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The old woman recently arrived from Fairyland where she was a casualty of the castle bubble.

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Castles were doubling in value every 2 or 3 years. Simple Simon, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, anyone, in fact, could get a loan to buy a castle. No bags of wool or gold or chickens were required to put toward the loan, because the castle was always going to be worth more tomorrow anyway. And as soon as Three-Blind-Mice-Finance granted the old woman her loan, they sold it to King Cole’s Investment counting house with all their other loans. King Cole’s, London Bridge and other investment banks had borrowed massive amounts of chickens and gold and were buying up all the castle loans.

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Then they created a little something; they made bundles of these loans and sold pieces of these bundles to humpty dumpty, the man in the moon and other investors. So when Simple Simon, Peter Peter and the old woman made repayments, or refinanced and paid off the loan (because castle values always went up), humpty dumpty and the man in the moon would be the ones getting the chickens.

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And just for fun, King Coles also created a little extra something; a Promise to pay lots of chickens if Simon, Peter or the old Woman couldn’t make the repayments. They sold that Promise, and bought other banks’ promises about other loans.

And then castle values stopped going up.

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The old woman couldn’t make repayments. She never had any chickens. And now her castle was worth less than her loan, she couldn’t refinance. She lost her castle. Humpty and the man in the moon lost their chickens. King Cole’s and London Bridge had been selling and buying Promises like crazy and suddenly they realized there weren’t enough chickens in the world to pay or get paid all those Promises if everybody stopped repaying their loans…

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The old woman came here, to Lullabyland. Here, Castle prices are high. Rents are high. Average rents range from 36 to 47 bags of wool a week, but if you’re reliant on Newstart, the maximum baggage a single person will receive is 35.8 per week . No-one gives easy loans to people who can’t pay. Some people are living in their carriages. Peter Peter has his family in a pumpkin shell.
The old woman lives in a shoe.

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SHE HAS SO MANY CHILDREN SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO;

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SHE GAVE THEM SOME BROTH WITHOUT ANY BREAD

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Jack Horner, Jack Sprat, Jack & Jill, Tomb Thumb, Little boy Blue, Peter Piper, Bo-Peep, Miss Muffet, Mary Contrary, Mary and her little lamb; there are too many children in Nurseryland.

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215 million women still don’t have access to contraception, which contributes directly to 53 million unwanted pregnancies every year . By mid century the combined population is set to hit 9 billion. And food is a major issue. Researchers believe, at this rate, Nurseryland will need 50% more bowls of broth, pumpkins, pattycakes and blackbird pies than it produces now.

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Professor Frog outlined 3 approaches to the problem:

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1 Make a bigger pie: increase productive capacities through technology and innovation
2 Put fewer forks on the table: Reduce numbers and expectations of people through such means as family planning and vegetarian diets
3 teach better manners: change the terms of people’s interaction through improved planning and government to enhance social justice.

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Why vegetarian diets? Why social justice? Prof Ladybird points out that if you take all the food in all the lands, and divide it by all the people in the lands, there would be 2700 calories and 75g of protein per person per day, which is more than enough. But we feed a lot to animals. We simply waste 20 or more percent. And, of course, while the queen has her bread and honey in the parlour, the old woman is simply too poor to afford it.

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2013

 

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