Recession therapy

In: Uncategorized

8 Mar 2009

Today’s Observer newspaper includes an article on how anxiety about the recession is “forcing the government to offer psychological help to millions of people facing unemployment, debt and relationship breakdown”. Evidently the plan: “will involve training 3,600 more therapists and hundreds more specialist nurses, psychotherapy centres will be established in every primary care trust by the end of next year”.

This is strange because the enlarged network of therapists was first proposed by Richard Layard, a professor at the London School of Economics and government adviser on such things, as a way of dealing with the supposed effect of rising affluence. Now it seems that we need therapists to deal with declining affluence.

A similar reversal is apparent in relation to crime. Not long ago the likes of David Lammy, New Labour’s skills minister, was blaming affluence for rising crime (see 15 August 2008). Now the recession, and therefore declining affluence, is widely seen as threatening an upsurge in crime.

The simplest explanation for such stark contradictions is that our rulers have an exceedingly low opinion of us. Whatever happens in the world around us we are in need of their “help”.