As the countries of the former Soviet bloc integrate into the global free-market economy, the living standards of a large part of their populations are declining. Some are falling into unbearable poverty that was unthinkable under the former regime. In recent years, the decline has accelerated.
In today’s response to a question from a local newspaper, I comment on a phenomenon that was completely unknown a few decades ago – starvation.
“It is not directly about starvation, but rather about long-term malnutrition and the various health problems that result from it. That is the part of poverty that is not visible. If someone is begging or digging in a garbage can, everyone notices. But they don’t see that a normal-looking person hasn’t eaten in two days. Or that he has two rolls a day. This type of misery has been around for years, especially with foreclosures. On the one hand, there are people who technically have nothing and are drowning in debt, yet they drive luxury cars. Next to them are decent people who have never stolen anything, go to work and cannot eat properly. We have no independent data, but all the indications are that these people are growing rapidly.
It’s also important to note the increasing number of reports of suicides, often such that, for example, a desperate mother kills her children.
Of course, desperate people do desperate things. Including attempting to steal food. But it’s not easy. A decent person who has worked and obeyed the law all his life simply cannot steal. And there are other desperate options. It’s also important to note the increasing number of reports of suicides, often such that, for example, a desperate mother kills her children. These are exactly the kind of desperate situations. We can also expect outbreaks of violence where a desperate person hurts random innocent people.
It’s not just food, it’s also energy and driving people out of their homes. And energy is not just discomfort, it is also, for example, needless deaths from pneumonia. We can’t talk about poverty anymore, we can talk about misery. But the media doesn’t talk about that. Wealthy people working as executives in global companies don’t have personal contacts in those classes, the media ignores it, celebrities mock such people.
If they send weapon somewhere, it’s a ticket to a high class. If they help the poor in their own country, it’s not a ticket to nowhere.
Is society ready to help? The government is spectacularly ignorant of its own poor. Those who still have something, they are universally stressed that they might also fall into poverty. They are certainly not inclined to help anyone. They have little themselves. If they send weapon somewhere, it’s a ticket to a high class. If they help the poor in their own country, it’s not a ticket to nowhere. So they do fundraisers to support the colonial crusade against Russia and let their own people die without help.
And something else. There is a false impression that those at the very bottom have nothing left to lose. That it is mainly those in the middle who are at risk. Wrong! Even a slight reduction in social programs means the difference between life and death for the poorest.