Only one part of the population survived the energy crisis unscathed, whose members could be described as rich without embarrassment. This brought to mind the old truth that some people are equal, others more equal.
Since the beginning of 2022, there have been inexplicable contradictions in the behavior of domestic households. People first reacted to the high price rise and bought as usual. However, they suddenly started saving even on basic needs to such an extent that the drop in retail sales was the deepest in the entire European Union. This has not changed so far, although, on the contrary, services or goods associated with luxury, including holidays abroad and new cars, have started to sell better since the spring.
It does not make sense, however, only if we count on a single homogeneous social group of “Czechs”, which includes the entire population of the Czech Republic. In fact, even here there are social classes and each of them behaves differently.
As the Central Bank pointed out in the Report on Monetary Policy, “Czechs” began to save more during the energy crisis from the beginning of 2022. However, he points out that, unlike in the times of covid, this time not everyone started saving, but only a fifth of the households with the highest incomes.
Huge protest potential
This explains the contradictions in the behavior of the “Czechs”. They shopped according to their previous habits as long as they had enough money. However, four-fifths of them ran out of reserves relatively quickly.
However, the remaining fifth had enough money to not only continue to spend, but even save more, and then perhaps go on vacation in the summer or buy a new car. The wait for the others to join the fifth of the richest in spending may drag on for businessmen, especially since, according to a survey by the Ministry of Labor, higher wages have grown faster in the past twelve months.
For serious politicians, this means a bleak prospect, for populists, on the contrary, a temptation that is hard to refuse. If four-fifths of the population can be counted among those who do not feel quite well in economic terms, then there is a huge protest potential that can be easily exploited.
However, an even deeper dilemma is hidden in the social area. The crisis has revealed without any doubt that in the Czech Republic, in that country of egalitarians, the rich and the poor are facing each other.
There is a whole class of people who can show off their exceptionality by pointing to income and wealth, and the rest have no choice but to try to get “up” in the raw capitalist world. At the same time, not everyone can succeed. Perhaps the crisis has definitely woken us up from the beautiful poly-footprint dream that we will all get rich in the end.
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