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People and Politics Forum 03. 04. 2009

"How is the global economic crisis affecting you?"

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More Information:

The mood in Germany during the crisis

Germans seem to be taking the crisis in their stride. So we asked how and where the effects of the crisis are being felt. We portray the SPD parliamentarian Axel Schäfer from the city of Bochum, home of a large Opel factory. We also ask why the globalisation opponents ATTAC are not winning support despite the crisis. And how is the crisis being felt in the banking centre Frankfurt/Main. And how is an engaged businessman from Leipzig making profits during these difficult times.

Our Question is:

"How is the global economic crisis affecting you?"

For Elisabeth Lutig from Germany, life goes on amidst the crisis:

"I have yet to be affected by the crisis, thank God, and I don’t worry about it. I have job security and a solid income. In my surroundings, too, there’s no sense of a crisis. The stores are full, and many people are even buying a new car in an effort to cash in on the government’s scrapping bonus."

Erwin Scholz from Costa Rica writes:

"Largesse borne of arrogance,

in fields of policy and finance,

to reach success were all compliant,

their donkey’s swank now fallen silent,

God’s will they shall not circumvent."

David M. Muscarella from the USA identifies some pros and cons in his situation:

"There have been layoffs in the area that I work and the company is dictating when we can take most of our vacation in the name of cost savings. There is a sense of concern about the future, just when our company was starting to be successful. Because I am still employed, there are opportunities to get goods and services at a lower price than last year, but there are worries about spending the money."

Martin Burmeister links the disastrous policies of the Venezuelan government to the worsened crisis there:

"We have not been personally effected by the financial crisis yet, but Venezuela has been hit hard. The advantages of last year’s increased oil revenues were wasted on foolish arms purchases, nationalization projects and ‘gifts’ given to Cuba and Bolivia. The current oil price of $40 per barrel is not enough to fund our welfare state. In spite of a shortage of money, official inflation is running over 30%, and that’s only because the controlled exchange rate has seen no change since February 2005, which has made imports cheaper. Then there’s gasoline, which is still sold for 3 euro cents per liter. To meet national debt obligations, the government has sold off several tons of its gold currency reserves that it kept in New York."

Victor Chan in the USA is largely positive about his own situation in the wake of the crisis:

"As a manager of one of the largest video gaming retail industry chain stores, the current economic crisis hasn't affected me much. Maybe business is a bit slower but I don't think we would be affected as much with the type of products we are offering. I don't spend needlessly anymore. I don't have a lot of huge debts and so the current credit crunch does not limit my spending power. If anything, the current economic crisis forces me to save more money."

In Oregon, USA, Lee Davis has organized his life to make the best of things:

"I live in the US state of Oregon, we have an unemployment rate over 10%. I had a feeling this would happen a year ago, My wife had passed on a year earlier. I was alone in a Home that was mine, accept for two small home Equity loans. I had no job and no unemployment insurance, or health insurance, I am now 60 yrs of age. I decided to sell my home, pay off my debt, and live off the profits. I live on a budget of under $1200 per month. I pay the rent, buy groceries an use the Internet as my sole source of entertainment. I have no car, or health insurance. I pray each day, that if God chooses to take me, he will do it quickly. I don't want to be a burden to anyone. I know that I am lucky, at least I have roof above my head, and food to eat."

René Junghans, Brazil:

"So far I have only heard about the economic crisis in the news, for me, and I expect for most people in Brazil, there is no crisis here yet. We are continuing to lead our normal lives just as before, with no worries and no limitations. Why should it be any different? Worry just causes stress and if you want to stay healthy you should avoid stress! Even though there have been a number of lay-offs in Brazil, compared to the number of new jobs created last year things are still looking quite good. The automobile industry is producing like never before, thanks to the suspension of the industrial tax on cars, sales are robust due to even lower prices. Brazilian banks are among the most secure in the world, they are turning profits and the money is stable because they stayed away from this sickening speculation and toxic debt. Real estate prices have noticeably risen in the last two years and so has our wealth. People tend to say Brazil is another planet, and I think that’s a good thing. We have to hope that it continues to stay that way! Luckily we have a very competent government."

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