This article is written by AB at @happyops.
10 years of right-wing Conservative Party government featured “the gamblers” David Cameron (former British Prime Minister) and George Osborne (former Chancellor of the Exchequer), followed by “lack of foresight” Theresa May (current British Prime Minister). The austerity measures were cost saving policies spread across British government, reducing budgets, ceasing projects. Year after year, the austerity measures cut away at emergency services, health care, education, and other elements of British society. After 10 years of austerity measures the face of British society has been reduced down to pale imitation of it’s old all-inclusive self. This in-turn has a knock-on effect to the rest of society – government workers no longer grab a morning coffee, a lunchtime sandwich, a Friday evening beer, and 100 other small items bought through the week because that job and that income no longer exists. This spiraled into a sense of fear of spending and a fear into the minds of consumers, which encouraged individuals to exercise caution and cost-saving in the face of the unknown.
The austerity measures were brought in as cost saving policies in the face of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. But the failure of these policies was predicted by by US economist Paul Krugman and almost 100 years earlier by US President FD Roosevelt. The US President FD Roosevelt introduced the New Deal – a series of policies to spend their way out of the Great Depression through public spending projects. These policies put money into the pocket of the worker and confidence into the minds of consumers, which encouraged individuals to be spend comfortably.
Now comes the uncertainty of Brexit – meaning uncertainty for both individuals and for businesses thinking of relocating to Europe or whether their business model is possible in a post-Brexit world. There is certainly nothing left in British society for austerity measures to cut away. Only when a clear direction is set for Brexit and difficult decisions are made will the British economy be able to move forward.
Economic policy might seem like a far call from Buddhism, but money has the capacity to drastically change the day-to-day quality of entire populations. This makes participating in politics and the democratic process becomes increasingly important. Unfortuately in the UK, the Conversative Party only continues with austerity measures, whereas the Labour Party seems irrelevant and the Liberal Democrat Party seems unwilling to accept that Brexit is happening. I warmly encourage the Liberal Democrat Party to remove their hands from their ears and open their eyes so they can participate in the conversation about Brexit. I hope that the Labour Party can soon select an electable leader. At the moment I cannot vote for any of them.
Politicians such as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump seem to treat politics like a game or television program with fantastic prizes to be won. They seem to forget that they are making decisions that directly affect the happiness of others living just down the road from them. The monetary policy should be larger than following political philosophy on austerity measures but consider the needs of the wider population.
Politics seems to have become a show that is suitable for television but is not suitable for running a country. Politics seems to have completely missed the opportunity to improve the lives and increase the happiness of others. I hope that politicians can recognize the importance of the opportunity that they have and choose to increase the happiness of others, rather than their own adulation.
Wishing you every happiness, AB and @happyops.