Monday, 6 July 2015

Poverty Costs

What happens when you abandon people to poverty?

The British Isles have been a living laboratory for this experiment, led by Margaret Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph, continued by Tony Blair and culminating in the experiments on welfare by Dr Giddy Osborne. 

These experiments follow the same pattern: For a few years the low wages allow business to boom, so GDP rises and the media tell us we are getting wealthier. This is an illusion brought about by the myopic view of economic commentators who focus on the numbers and forget the people. In the real world people are getting poorer. 

By abandoning hundreds of thousands to poverty Governments reduce their tax take and thus have less to spend on education, health and welfare, the three public services that help to level out society.

And then one day someone wakes up and says OXI - "No; we have had enough of austerity for the many, and wealth for the few."

In Greece, ΣΥΡΙΖΑ ( Syriza ) was able to channel that anger into a majority for No. In other places in Europe - the banlieue of Paris for example - that anger manifests in other ways, with young men and women heading off to support Daish. Daish is the nihilist response to poverty, the negative counterpart to Greece's positive No.

The cost of poverty is thus not only the suffering, unhappiness, pain, poor educational achievement and an early death. Nor is it limited to the deaths and suffering caused when poor young men kill journalists in Paris. It is also €3.5 billion written off from the EU's economy, and a future €60 billion burned out of the world economy.

When will our politicians wake up to poverty? 

How many billions do we have to burn ("write off") before politicians realise that austerity creates poverty, and that poverty costs.

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