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Democracy at Risk: Unraveling the Interconnected Threads of Poverty, Inequality, and Exclusion

Democracy at Risk: Unraveling the Interconnected Threads of Poverty, Inequality, and Exclusion

 

9 January 2024

 

Poverty, particularly inequality and exclusion, poses a significant threat to democracy globally. While these issues are often debated separately, their interconnectedness becomes evident. Political unrest surfaces in instances of inequality and exclusion and finds expression through the ballot or emigration.

Reflecting on the Netherlands' November 2023 election, a surprising shift to the right occurred, indicating a complex societal landscape. An article in Vrij Nederland shed light on homelessness, challenging common perceptions. Homeless individuals are not always what we imagine ―some are employed but face circumstances that lead to housing loss, making ends meet a constant struggle. Programs like providing temporary housing aim to assist, but often a year isn't enough, resulting in a return to the streets (Grosfeld, 2023).

Meanwhile, in Curaçao, a leaked report from the Social Economic Council reveals that over one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, starkly contrasting to the Netherlands' 5%. This 5% made all alarm bells in the Netherlands go off.

The perception of poverty in Curaçao is distorted. This is illustrated by the case of an independent operating professional with decades of service, now struggling in retirement due to a lack of pension. Despite having a home (owned by her son or daughter), basic necessities such as water, electricity, telecommunications, fuel, and food prove costly. The unnoticed plight of such individuals highlights an unsustainable situation.

Another case to illustrate is a mother with three kids living abroad. She lost her job because of innovation and the economic crisis has lost her home because she could not pay the mortgage and due to lack of skills and her age, can not get a job and start a cooking business. Luckily, she can live in the house of a relative who had to move into a home for the elderly care is poor, and many do not notice this.

Transitioning to a regenerative economy that fosters inclusivity is imperative for the functioning of democracy. Recognizing the interplay between poverty, inequality, and exclusion is essential in crafting policies that address these issues collectively and ensure a more sustainable and inclusive future.

 

References

Grosfeld, T. (2023). Onder de Pannen; helpt mensen zonder huis; We willen een springplak zijn. Vrij Nederland, 52-61.

 

 

 

Miguel Goede

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