Neoliberalism is driving us nuts

– if we live to realise it at all.

Interesting short article in (remarkably) the ‘Telegraph’ from the Health Foundation think tank.

People, since 2010 (I wonder what happened then?) have been –  and, as far as I can see, this is unique in Europe –  been living less long, and so too, are current life expectations shortened.

The report draws on links between insecure work with higher instances of psychological stress, saying that millennials’ future health may suffer on the back of trends such as zero-hour contracts and graduates working non-graduate jobs.

A secure home is a “building block” for good future health, the report adds, yet just 31 per cent of the 2,000 people aged between 22 and 26 who took part in the survey said they had had strong support networks while growing up.

Less than half of the respondents said they had enough financial and practical family support, and 49 per cent said they had enough emotional support from family.

Meanwhile we will, it is alleged, leave debts to our grandchildren. And although this is a daft concept in the first place, it now means, that because the ONS statistics and projections are actually that the grandparents themselves are likely to die earlier, we will in fact be leaving these debts to our great-grandchildren.

What a political success.

The devastating conclusions of the ONS are highlighted below:

 

So all this is in fact, the result of the recent political outlook, which is this thing we’ve now called Neoliberalism.

It is disastrous even in its own terms.

It was suggested that this was a way that would make society better – and effective for everyone.

In fact, it is obvious that we need to make people much less indebted. And these days people are often indebted by the state for no clear reason.

Indebtedness is clearly bad for our mental health. (Having owed substantial amounts, I can vouch for this).

And, in reducing personal debt we can improve society’s health, functioning and substantially lessen all of our problems; thus improving our personal wellbeing and mental health.

I quote a moving extract from the ‘Bootstrap cook’, Jack Monroe, article – now, sadly, off line:

…why I am once again packing all of my belongings into corrugated cardboard and preparing to start again. The truth is much simpler, and yet much more complicated. The truth is that this has been a long time coming. Ever since I came home early one morning to find three men had picked the locks of my beautiful stained glass front door to rip out my gas meter and install it with a prepaid meter, I have been mentally preparing to leave this house. The home that was my retreat, my sanctuary, my peaceful place, in that instant became a living hell. I stopped answering the door. Stopped sleeping at night. Started letting the post stockpile on the doormat again. Started to live in fear of unknown callers on my mobile. Started checking my banking app ten, twenty times a day. Started crossing my fingers out of habit every time I put my debit card into a chip and pin machine to pay for groceries, despite checking my bank balance in the queue thirty seconds before. I started cowering behind the front room door every time the postman came. Parcels were sent back. Letters unsigned for. I lay awake at night, every creak in the central heating an imaginary boot waiting to kick in my front door, every slowing car on my busy seafront road a group of henchmen, every flashing light an imaginary Police car for imaginary crimes. I have barely slept properly, alone, in over six months, and it is, as the song goes, time to say goodbye. ….

…Have you ever been in substantial debt? I certainly have been.

Until you realise that debt is created out of thin air, it is to most of us, very, very worrying – often mentally debilitating if not destroying.

So much less personal debt and much more honest government debt, aka society’s saving money – or ‘assets’, would not only actually improve the economy – but also, importantly, personal wellbeing, society and indeed, all of our ‘lives’.

Comments

  1. Donald Liverpool -

    There’s a difference between life expectancy falling as stated in the second paragraph, and life expectancy still increasing ( but at a lower rate than before ) as stated by the ONS.

    1. Ivan Horrocks -

      Indeed there is, but the underlying question still holds: what has caused the reduction in mortality improvements since 2010? Peter suggests one possibility. Perhaps you could suggest alternatives?

  2. Peter May -

    The second para could probably be better worded. Still Prof Danny Dorling, for example had this to say in the London Review of Books of October last year.
    “In the UK official projections have now been altered because of the tens of thousands of people who have died earlier than expected. If you subtract the latest ONS figures from the figures published two years ago, you can see that a further one million earlier deaths are now projected in the next forty years (the ONS itself doesn’t publish this number). What has happened is no longer being treated as a decline; it is the new norm. On 26 October the Office for National Statistics announced that it estimates that, by 2041, life expectancy for women will be 86.2 years and for men 83.4. Both figures are almost a whole year lower than projected in 2014.” And continues “Already in the year from July 2016 to June 2017 an additional 39,307 people have died. Seven per cent of them were people between 20 and 60: almost 2000 men and 1000 women. Well over four-fifths of the premature deaths projected by the ONS will be of people who are now in their forties and fifties.”

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