OPINION

Time for action

Our society is paralyzed with fear, as the government’s announcements about intended spending and income cuts come fast one after the other. After a momentary glimpse of hope ahead of last year’s general elections, when the then Socialist prime minister-to-be ensured the populace that «there is money,» voters are now discovering the implications of the budget crisis the hard way – with its impact on the household budget. And this is just the beginning. The problem is that cuts – a necessary measure during periods of fiscal streamlining – come with serious risks: The sudden realization of the people will give way to a numbing fear, and fear is the worst counsel. The market will come to a standstill, and not just because of the lack of liquidity but also due to overreaction, as consumers will be reluctant to continue spending as before. A frightened person is a very reluctant person. A fearful reaction does not imply consensus; it is not any conscious choice to make sacrifices to help pull the country out of the crisis. It is blind submission. A fearful citizen can easily stop being a rational citizen. If someone has not grasped the nature of the crisis, the time it will take to adapt, the terms of overcoming the crisis and the principles of restructuring the state and the economy, that citizen will remain an irrational and unpredictable player. Prolonged recession can easily drive a fearful public from submission and paralysis to a state of social unrest. The government and politicians, who are mostly responsible for the current crisis, must first reassure citizens of the expected duration and intensity of the recession by taking growth-inducing initiatives and providing sober explanations. And they must lead by example. The people expect quick and justified decisions. And action. Now.