Soberheid en demoralisatie

NEW HAVEN – De hoge werkloosheid die we vandaag de dag in Europa, de Verenigde Staten en elders zien is een tragedie, niet alleen vanwege het productieverlies dat ermee gepaard gaat, maar ook door de persoonlijke en emotionele kosten die voor de werklozen voortvloeien uit het feit dat ze niet langer deel uitmaken van de beroepsbevolking.

Volgens sommige pleitbezorgers zou soberheid het moreel juist moeten verbeteren. De Britse premier David Cameron, een groot voorstander van bezuinigingen, zegt dat hij gelooft dat zijn beleid de “afhankelijkheid van de sociale voorzieningen” vermindert, de “discipline” herstelt, en “de doeners, de scheppers en de levensgenieters” stimuleert. Op dezelfde manier zegt het Amerikaanse Congreslid Paul Ryan dat zijn programma onderdeel is van een plan om de “creativiteit en de ondernemingsgeest” te bevorderen.

Sommige soorten soberheidsprogramma's kunnen het moreel inderdaad een steun in de rug geven. Monniken vinden hun levensvervulling in een uiterst sobere omgeving, en van militaire trainingskampen wordt gezegd dat ze het karakter vormen. Maar het soort bezuinigingen dat nu in de praktijk wordt gebracht heeft het onmiddellijke effect dat mensen er werkloos door raken en hun levens met niets anders kunnen vullen dan met een gevoel van afwijzing en buitensluiting.

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