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Beware of dependency

In these uncertain economic times, we have to guard against the risk of creating a culture of dependency. More and more Bermudians are unable to find work and are becoming almost solely dependent on Government financial assistance.

Right now, it is indispensably necessary and morally right for Government to have “a safety net” to especially help people who have been adversely affected by the ravages of Bermuda’s economic circumstances. We, therefore have to develop financial economic policies to give greater incentives to the private sector, i.e., international and local businesses, to create employment and a “buzz” in Bermuda’s general economic activity.

The Government, politicians, businesses and unions alike must have an open mind and not consider economic problems with trenchant views. We must challenge those in power as well as those who seek it.

The rise of unemployment and economic inactivity of the present generation of Bermudians are of historic proportion. Obviously, each year young people, new high school and college graduates, and dropouts enter the job market for the first time. It now appears most of them are not going to be successful because of our ailing economy which shows no sign of recovery. This contributes significantly to debilitating and ominous joblessness.

Joblessness creates a sense of fear, anger, mistrust and blame. Joblessness for young people in a time of persistent economic hardship has been aggravated by the current delay in retirement trend. Unexpectedly, a number of people are now working well beyond the traditional retirement age, effectively closing out openings for new workers.

You hear stories from the major democracies such as the UK, the US, Canada and other countries that long-term joblessness often leads to a culture of dependency. In the above named countries, we have heard that generations of able bodied members of families are on financial assistance. Even when work is available, many people lose their self-confidence in seeking employment and financial assistance becomes so comfortable, convenient and reliable to depend upon.

Some of the unemployed see themselves as having been victimised and they turn this victimisation into a culture of grievance, entitlement and dependency. A culture of dependency strips one of initiative, reliability and independence.

These are not normal times so we need to tackle these deep economic problems and the associated rise in unemployment and economic inactivity with a sense of cohesion for the common good.

Sloganeering will not help us to find solutions out of these critical economic times. Not one entity has all of the answers. We, therefore, must cohesively develop economic and social policies to put individuals on a path toward economic self-reliance and the country on a path to financial stability.

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Published August 29, 2012 at 7:00 am (Updated August 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm)

Beware of dependency

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