Sunday, 9 January 2011

Neoliberalism In Practice-Portugal.

Joana Gorjão Henriques writes on the 10.9% unemployment rate in Portugal and the fact that 6.5% of the 10 million population have left the country between 1998 and 2008 mostly young Portuguese. (The Guardian, Young people are fleeing Portugal in droves. But is this a bad thing? Saturday 8 January 2011),

And yet, it's worth asking if emigration on this scale is always necessarily a bad thing. Consider, for one, that one traditional reason behind Portugal's economic weaknesses has been our laissez-faire attitude to work. Statistics portray a youth that is averse to risk-taking, values comfort and longs for security. The Portuguese social structure is shaped by dependent children or married people.

Telling a Portuguese son or a daughter to find his or her own apartment at 18 would be unthinkable
, the equivalent of abandoning a child in the wild. There is no tradition of flatsharing; when middle-class twentysomethings get out of their parents' house, it's usually to get married.

The high number of young people leaving the country might indicate that something is changing in the Portuguese mindset. It might just herald the emergence of a more self-sufficient, curious, and less spoiled generation.
More inhuman neoliberal rationalisation for callous and incompetent government and IMF policies. If we want to create an atomised world of individualist consumers devoid of any attachment to a place called home many nations and cultures will simply wither away.

The process has happened and continues to in Poland. Perhaps Henriques wants the EU and entire nations to be deracinated economic zones where nobody really feel they belong and where the family and children are considered less important than hedonistic consumerism .

For in all nations in Europe, people already crave 'comfort' and 'security' but are driven by the absurdity of a rather sinister neoliberal economic and social model that requires "the individual" to work harder and harder to make more and more money to spend on more goods made in China funded by Chinese capital.

If this is the future, it looks pretty bleak. Does Henriques think that social reproduction is responsible for the "lack of individualism" ? And why would people want freedom is freedom means being torn away from the family, presumably forced to take out huge mortgages and get into debt fuelled consumerism.

The results in Britain are evident already. A growth in selfish narcissistic individualism devoid of social responsibility and 'affluenza', the failure to engage with one's own life, a sick society where 'social contact' and interpersonal relationships are reduced to Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. And we were told by Reagan and Thatcher and their ilk that neoliberalism was socially conservative and supportive of family values! What a cruel, cruel joke.