Austerity Kills: How the EuroCrisis is Being Used to Break the Social Contract

Published on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, JUNE 16, 2012.

One aspect of the Eurocrisis that has not gotten the attention it deserves is the way it is destroying not just jobs, but the very underpinnings of society. People who took actions that were prudent at the time are increasingly at the mercy of forces beyond their control. And this isn’t a tsunami-type disaster but a man-made one whose severity is worsened by the callous attitudes of the European elites.  

We’ve featured stories from time to time on how Greece is unraveling. Suicides have increased sharply. Garbage is not being picked up. Public transportation is largely a thing of the past. Even though Greece always had a large black market, more people are resorting to barter, which shrinks the tax base.

And in some ways worst of all, the health care system is on the verge of collapse. Critical medicines are not being imported and hospitals are short of basic supplies. Not only are people dying unnecessarily due to their inability to get drugs and operations, but worse, the breakdown of healthcare greatly increases the risk of a public health crisis. How many children are being vaccinated, for instance? What happens when curable but silent killers such as syphilis go untreated? Key excerpts from a Reuters story (hat tip Aquifer): … //

… Greece has been told to reduce health care from its current 10% of GDP to below 6%. Imagine what would happen if the US were told to cut its medical expenditures by over 40% in a one or two year period. And if the IMF boot were put on the US neck, and we were told to get medical spending down to 6% of GDP, we’d need to reduce it by 2/3.

In a Real News Network interview, Rob Johnson of the Roosevelt Institute describes further how the EuroCrisis has become a tool to break the social contract:
Watch the video with Rob Johnson: Euro-Crisis Used to Destroy Social Contract , 15.18 min (also on YouTube).

(full text).

Video-Links:

Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine – The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 93.38 min;

Noam Chomsky: The Contours of World Order – Fifty Years of the United Nations, 106.32 min;

Dahr Jamail: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, 79.51 min;

Egypt Moves Towards Outright Dictatorship, 14.54 min;

Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 04: THIS LAND IS MY LAND, 54.59 min:

  • PART ONE: THIS LAND IS MY LAND:The philosopher John Locke believes that individuals have certain rights so fundamental that no government can ever take them away. These rights—to life, liberty and property—were given to us as human beings in the the state of nature, a time before government and laws were created. According to Locke, our natural rights are governed by the law of nature, known by reason, which says that we can neither give them up nor take them away from anyone else. Sandel wraps up the lecture by raising a question: what happens to our natural rights once we enter society and consent to a system of laws?
  • PART TWO: CONSENTING ADULTS: If we all have unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property, how can a government enforce tax laws passed by the representatives of a mere majority? Doesnt that amount to taking some peoples property without their consent? Lockes response is that we give our tacit consent to obey the tax laws passed by a majority when we choose to live in a society. Therefore, taxation is legitimate and compatible with individual rights, as long as it applies to everyone and does not arbitrarily single anyone out.

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