Sunday, May 12, 2013

RESEARCH RELATED ESSAY: THE EFFECTS OF AUSTERITY MEASURES


 In the last few years, many European countries, in particular Spain,Greece and Portugal, have been in trouble with rampant debts and budget deficits which can be cited as a consequence of economic crisis. In tackling these financial difficulties, they have undertaken austerity measures. This being the case, the harsh payment scheme in accordance with austerity programmes have devastating effects, ranging from public income to healthcare.
Initially, austerity measures dramatically affect the average income per person. The governments generally arrange their budget and consumption by reducing pensions and increasing interest  rates at banks. For example, in Britain, the median household income fell 4.2 percent over the 5 years after the economic recession, according to the research done byThe Family&Parenting Institute. In addition, the governments increase the taxes, which put a strain on taxpayers and the corporations.
Along with the increased tax payments, other harsh implementations lead to social unrest. For instance, in Greece, the retirement age was increased and pensions were decreased during the economic downturn. Furthermore, the unemployment rate has increased significantly . It is estimated that the number of unemployed civilians in Greece will have increased 4.000 by the end of this year and it will have reached 15.000 by the end of 2014. This alarming number and worsening conditions proven by GDP trigger protests and riots. In Greece,hundreds of unemployed teachers made a protest in order to attract the government's attention.
Lastly, the austerity measures also have a devastating impact on public health. Along with austerity implementations, the governments began to cut healthcare payments and improvements in medicine. For instance, in European countries and North America, up to 10.000 suicides and hundreds of cases of depression occurred during the economic recession. In addition, The AIDS-virus proliferated by up to 200 percent. Furthermore, many people in such countries become deprived of proper healthcare.
To conclude, most of the European countries have suffered a lot from the economic crises, and some measures need to be taken as precautions. Cutting healthcare expenditure, reducing wages, laying off employees can be listed as precautions. Nevertheless, these austerity measures contribute to social unrest, serious diseases and low living standards. It is my contention that the governments should consider public welfare while they are taking austerity measures.
Elif Gürbüz ADV

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