Winter of discontent

Rick Williams

I don't wish to be overly dramatic, but I think the most visible sign of the crisis will be families freezing and starving in the dark in many parts of our region this winter. More working poor people who, until now, have supported themselves with no income at all, and with no alternative sources of support. For them, the economic crisis will mean misery and stunted lives. It will, in time, generate an intensifying social crisis, as whole communities are plunged into a poverty culture that is very difficult to escape. For every individual or family that emigrates -God only knows where- to find a job, dozens more will be forced into appalling living conditions and long-term economic marginality.

If a serious earthquake occurred in our region, people across Canada would act immediately to comfort the victims and to help rebuild communities and local economies. A crisis of economic decline, however, evolves over a protracted period, and by the time the destruction of people and com-munities becomes visible, outsiders see the situation as normal and irreversible. What is worse, they tend to blame the problem on the cultural characteristics of the victims - traits that, for the most part, are themselves symptoms of economic and social breakdown.

Rick Williams, in New Maritimes, September-October 1990. Subscriptions are $15/year from New Maritimes, 6106 Lawrence Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3L 1J6.

Published in the Connexions Digest #53, January 1991.



Subject Headings