Tuesday 11 October 2011

UK Crisis? Maybe... but where's the real crisis?

In an article on the effects of the economic crisis on the morale of we UK citizens Guardian columnist Marina Hyde uses such phrases as "weird formless terror," "the horrors still to come," "the cataclysmic event around the corner," and "vague inchoate dread." Little is to be gained from this wild exaggeration of the true state of affairs. Even if our economy will take several years to return to our 2008 level of output (when. as I recall, we lived extremely comfortably), we continue to be extremely rich. With a bit of courage from the government and a modest bit of sharing no one need suffer at all. If some of us need to start shopping at Aldi rather than Sainsbury's, tough, but there's absolutely nothing to justify M/s Hyde's hyperbole, and the Guardian should be ashamed for printing it.

Unfortunately large parts of the world are suffering genuine hardship from the financial crisis. The World Development Movement (wdm.org.uk)points out that that, when the housing bubble burst in 2007/8, the get rich quick monetarist "masters of the universe" turned their attention to speculation in food futures. As a result the prices of cereal crops have risen by 80% or so:a minor inconvenience for us, who spend around 10 to 15% on our incomes on food, but disastrous for those in the poor South, where families typically spend over 50% of their incomes on food, and amongst the very poorest, 90%.

As a result, many parents cannot feed their families. Children, already undernourished and with few reserves, are dying. This generates genuine "inchoate dread." Instead of making such a fuss about what, with sensible policies which we are rich enough to implement without difficulty to ease our own situation, our politicians should be taking urgent steps to haul into line the speculators whose greed and amorality is causing genuine, present day "horror" among millions of the most vulnerable.

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