Friday, 14 May 2010

Tough choices are a time for new ideas

Our newly formed coalition government have some choices ahead. Austerity, efficiency savings and cuts will be the order of the day and everyone will have to tighten their belt. Where to cut and how to cut. Its going to be tough and feel tough. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Instead of reading economic numbers the new cabinet should read the fascinating book The Spirit Level. Its authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that societies with low inequality are happier, healthier and live longer. It seems that simply increasing gross national product does not in fact produce gross national happiness (to quote from the former king of Bhutan).

The Rumanian orthodox church has taken this one step further, arguing that their Government should build more churches to help people “create more jobs and fight individualism, by encouraging solidarity among people, and help believers avoid despair” I am not sure I would go so far but their point is well made, this is as much a spiritual as it an economic crisis

Jesus fought inequality and the accumulation of wealth for wealth’s sake; but he did so not from a politics of envy but a passion for humanity. Whatever decisions lie ahead for the new coalition, if they see past the pounds and to the people and focus on removing inequality wherever it occurs, we may well just see something more significant out of this crisis than simply painful cuts to reduce the debt

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