Austerity Poverty

Many of us often come face to face with poverty. Often only of a kind known as monetary poverty. Someone by the name of Kumarendra Mallick recently wrote on Face book: ‘Daridra Narayan’,
the poor is the lord has been an age-old slogan, though a hollow onea convenient escape route to flee from responsibility by glorifying abject poverty… The rich have their ways to mock at and cheat the poor in some pretext or other – sometimes offering pest-eaten rice and wheat at reduced rates and at times waiving off bank loans only to ensure their win in the election…

Political parties in power often try to tackle it, but not really, because they themselves suffer from another kind, the mental poverty. They very often engage in extravagant expenditure till they face an economic crisis; and then they talk about austerity!! As someone else posted on Internet:
Everywhere, austerity is the demand of the day. To be sure, there are seeming exceptions for the moment in a few countries - China, Brazil, the Gulf states, and possibly a few others. But these are exceptions to a demand that pervades the world-system today. In part, this demand is absolutely phony. In part, it reflects a real economic problem. What are the issues? On the one hand, the incredible wastefulness of a capitalist system has indeed led to a situation in which the world-system is threatened by its real inability to continue to consume globally at the level at which the world has been doing it, especially since the absolute level of consumption is constantly increasing. We are indeed exhausting basic elements for human survival, given the consumerism that has been the

basis of our productive and speculative activities. On the other hand, we know that global consumption has been highly unequal, both among countries and within countries. Furthermore, the gap between the current beneficiaries and the current losers has been persistently growing. These divergences constitute the fundamental polarization of our world-system, not only economically, but politically and culturally. This is no longer much of a secret to the world's populations. Climate change and its consequences, food and water shortages and their consequences are visible to more and more people, many of whom are beginning to call for a shift in civilizational values - away from consumerism. The austerity that is being practiced is an austerity imposed on the economically weaker parts of the world populations. Governments are seeking to save themselves from the prospect of bankruptcies and to shield mega-corporations (especially but not only mega-banks) from paying the price (lost revenue) of their egregious follies and self-inflicted wounds. The way they are trying to do this is essentially by cutting back (if not eliminating altogether) the safety nets that were historically erected to save individuals from the consequences of unemployment, serious illness, housing foreclosures, and all the other concrete problems that people and their families regularly face........ Immanuel Wallerstein Both have a point indeed!! But miss the larger picture perhaps!! What about mental poverty that afflicts a major fraction of any society; is there any need foe austerity in this sphere? Rakesh Mohan Hallen