Personally, I do not necessarily agree with all of John’s observations but believe that his points add to the public debate. Regular readers of this blog will know that I passionately agree with Nobel Prize winning, liberal, economist Paul Krugman that austerity has been too deep in the US, the UK and Southern Europe. Now we have evidence linking increased suicides to austerity.
When will the austerians, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, soften their stance on austerity?
What do you think?
SOME REFLECTIONS – JOHN GELMINI
Having no money is obviously depressing but it is more depressing if you are lonely and if you cannot see any end in sight for your own condition.
In recessions and times of austerity, divorce and cohabitee breakup increases and more people choose to remain single and alone, often far away from their families. As this happens people get depressed as evidenced by the fact that in the UK 40% of the population are permanently depressed and constantly ingesting serontonin uptake drugs like Prozac and Seroxat.
Money or in this case the lack of it is just one cause of depression, others are poor diet, lack of friends (they often disappear when there is no money) and lack of normal human relations (most of us are not best suited to the lives of Trappist monks which is why monks take vows of poverty and chastity and pray a lot).
Eating sugary foods, ingesting soft drinks, drinking too much cheap beer from supermarkets, not maintaining a disciplined routine and lack of a strong and sustaining personal philosophy will also allow you to get depressed and remain in that state.
Some religions, including my own, forbid suicide and so in those communities there is less of it than there is in other parts of the population.
If austere conditions go on for too long, unless they develop mental toughness and stoicism, a proportion of these people will become clinically depressed and then will commit suicide in greater numbers than would be the case if there was no austerity.
Beyond that politicians have to take a lead and explain the game plan for getting out of the austere conditions, how long the process will take and by their every word and deed convey the impression through intelligently devised programs that they WANT to ameliorate the conditions of those austerity victims who are most at risk.
At present the politicians have no clear strategy, are not offering hope and are spending money whilst they claim there isn’t any on unnecessary wars, overseas aid and a whole host of other things. Whilst I am resigned to the fact that they are doing this and understand the deliberate and wider agenda which is to kill off by stealth, the old (Liverpool Care Pathway), healthcare rationing, squeezed fixed incomes, energy taxes, the weak, the voiceless and anyone who might cost a healthcare system too much money, others such as those affected by austerity in America and Europe who rummage in dumpsters for food /attend Trussell Trust and Knights of Malta food-banks cannot cope.
In the UK, there is an unofficial but very real policy of “sanctioning ” a proportion of benefit recipients (sanctioning means denying benefits and often stopping crisis loans) which then drives people to petty criminality, the use of food-banks or in extreme cases suicide.
My take on all this is that austerity has to be time limited and that export led growth and inward investment has to be aggressively promoted to bring in the money to create growth and jobs.
Secondly, the Government and other Governments need to promote enterprise so that people can create their own jobs and regain their self esteem.
Along with this, we need to be building system-built houses and using converted shipping containers to rehouse Housing Benefit recipients to put builders /blue collar workers to work, eliminate the housing shortage and reduce and eliminate the Housing Benefit bill.
Third, there must be a UK “Charity begins at home policy” with no more foreign aid, local authority wastefulness or massive rewards for failure on the part of civil servants, CEOs, quango-crats and the like—The words “We are all in this together” really must have some meaning.
Fourth, we must promote marriage and inculcate mental toughness in people so that when things are difficult they can sustain themselves.
Fifth, we need to move all long-term unemployed people out of their own areas and comfort zones into areas of the country where there is more work in a form of National Service run by the Army.Leaving them where they are just creates a breeding ground for criminality, drug taking, depression and gang culture and yes, in some cases, suicide. Each of these people needs to be mentored and trained and given spiritual help and guidance and a pathway to normal life devised with/for them by people who know what they are doing (not DwP staff who generally know next to nothing).