In Australia, economic impoverishment is what single parents, unemployed, carers of the elderly and disabled experience usually through no fault of their own. Support of family and friends often fall away when circumstances hit. So, without the support of a caring extended family, and the attitude conveyed in the meager support payments, there is the reinforcing of the demoralised valueless position that is a stigma for those who are already the most vulnerable in our society.
Surely, this is akin to the scourge of ostracism of the Middle Ages where the unlovely dwell impoverished on the outskirts of society. A society cannot consider itself sophisticated while this occurs especially in the midst of an increasingly rich country where it is only the rich who are getting richer.
Any prosperity that is not an expanding and inclusive concept is not prosperity but greed and self indulgence of the worst kind. No one person or group of people can position themselves to claim that it is their efforts that have induced prosperity. Rather, like most things of the global scale which is what we are all subject to, it is an entity that has its own momentum through a range of complex factors that are outside that knowledge of economists or anyone else. As such, there is no group who can claim that prosperity is through their efforts. They may have been able to be opportunistic and take advantage of the changing dynamics but that is not the same as actually creating the circumstances for prosperity. This means that they are no more entitled to a greater share of the prosperity than anyone else.
When we live with this sort of blindness it is a corruption of the soul of those who life at the expense of the less fortunate because iIt doesn’t have to be this way. The outstanding communities of sophistication at this time seem to be the Scandinavian countries who are reknowned for their robust economies while at the same time extending care and enabling to all constituents of the society through a strong and fair taxation system, rather than a taxation system that only entrenches and escalates the disparity between the fortunate and the less fortunate. In fact The National writes, “While many western countries are still reeling from the widening economic crisis and some southern European economies are regarded as basket cases, Scandinavia has been weathering the global financial storm surprisingly well.”
And it goes further to say, “The fact that Scandinavian countries have onerous tax systems and generous state welfare benefits seems to contradict accepted economic wisdom in other parts of the world, such as in the United States and the United Kingdom, where the role of the state is generally being rolled back where possible in response to the global crisis.”
The Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are part of that prestigious group of countries with top rating financial credibility from the viewpoint of the most solid and credible credit rating agencies. The confidence in these countries is such that Helge Pedersen, the global chief economist at Nordea, a financial services group in the Nordic and Baltic region says they have the status of financial safe havens.
A study conducted in 2009 (Jackson:145) shows the disparity of trust within European nations. The general verdict is that western society is exhibiting a ‘social recession’ and that this is recognised by both the left and right side of politicians, though they see the symptoms, causes and remedies differently.
I want to know where is the community outrage, the lobbying efforts and the community support for those most vulnerable in our own Australian society.
The rich tell the middle class to blame the poor.
Jackson, Tim (2009) Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Earthscan.