Has the West gone bust - economically, politically and socially? Or is there another way?
We in the West appear to be at a year zero, with the seeming end of the relative peace and prosperity we took for granted. The pandemic, Putin's invasion of Ukraine, growing tension with China, a rolling back of globalisation, Brexit, the return of inflation and painful interest rates - all these have shattered the illusions of the world as we knew it.
For years our politicians have said they were going for growth and would ensure that those with least would benefit disproportionately from the proceeds of that growth. They've failed. Growth has vanished. The poorest are desperately struggling to heat their homes and to eat.
We are at that point where confidence in our fundamental institutions has been undermined by leaders who have an uncomfortable relationship with the truth and by an economy that has mainly served the richest.
How bad will it get? And how do we simultaneously rebuild prosperity, democracy and social cohesion? Can we have it all, or will we have to make very significant financial sacrifices in the coming years, knowingly and willingly, to restore that national sense of pride and solidarity of purpose?
If the chaos of the last few years mark the end of the old order as we knew it, what will and should follow, to save our prosperity, our democracy and our sanity.
It's time to abandon pessimism and fatalism and look for answers. Bust? doesn't have all of them. But it will start an important debate, about how to allow us all to hope again.
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Date of Publication: 20/10/2023