Economic Plunge: Are You Psychologically Prepared?

Much talk of being prepared for economic hard times is aimed at people who have enough income to put aside some resources into stored food and other forms of preparation. Not everyone can do that (and it is hard to know how much is really enough).

There is another kind of preparation that is almost as important and may be within reach of more people. It is especially important for men, I think. I am referring to psychological preparation.

To see what I mean, here is a story from RT.com about Greece:

Spending cuts in Greece have caused some 500 male suicides since their implementation, according to a new study. The research found a positive correlation between austerity and suicide rates after other possible links proved to be unrelated.

The 30-page study, titled ‘The Impact of Fiscal Austerity on Suicide: On the Empirics of a Modern Greek Tragedy’ and published in the Social Science and Medicine journal was authored by Nikolaos Antonakakis and Alan Collins from Portsmouth University.

“Suicide rates in Greece (and other European countries) have been on a remarkable upward trend following the global recession of 2008 and the European sovereign debt crisis of 2009,” states the study’s abstract.

Each 1 percent decrease in government spending resulted in a 0.43 percent rise in suicides among men, according to the study. Between 2009 and 2010, there were 551 deaths which occurred “solely because of fiscal austerity,” it stated.

To look at austerity as only about “spending cuts” is propaganda, in my opinion. The bottom line is that the Greek government tried to borrow money to spend more than it took in as revenue.  That had to end sooner or later, as it will also end everywhere else a government insists on outspending revenue. We will learn that lesson in the U.S when our god is finally revealed as the idol that it is.

But, separating out RT’s spin, it remains clear that going through economic hard times is psychologically devastating, especially to males. Men feel like they have failed when they can’t support themselves or their families. Of course, those feelings are excellent when they make us get out of bed in the morning and go to work. But when they turn on us due to a worldwide economic implosion, they can lead to self-destruction.

The point to remember is: it is not your fault that the economic destruction was wreaked on us by our government. Even if you realize you supported policies at one time that led to this disaster, the fact remains that your contribution to the catastrophe was miniscule. Blaming yourself is irrational.

Blaming yourself for the past is also a tactic to evade your real responsibilities to face the present and future—to struggle as best you can and set a good example for those on whom you have influence. The only way economic depressions end is by people working hard. And even if you can’t see a way out for yourself, you have to think about the next generation and how you can and should contribute to better times for them.

Ultimately, of course, this is a Spiritual battle we will face. God gives us good times and bad. Are we only going to serve Him when he does things for us that we like? We should trust him in the midst of austerity.