Tuesday, February 23, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, aka Jaņdžs

84 Gridlocked In Latvia (3)

The following excerpts from post by Igors Suvajevs, philosopher and sociologist. The full post at Apollo.com.

“….Those who suffer from poverty are found also among the wealthy.... Among the impoverished are not only the poor [but also] the rich. In our days the dominant factor is a consumer society, which is not characterized by careful utilization [of resources], but encourages spendthrift expenditures, which create impoverished individuals—as much diminished by poverty as by wealth.

“…A third-world nation is forming almost in the centre of Europe. The nation is called Latvia…. We are told that more than a half of the people living in Latvia can be classified as poor. More than two thirds of the inhabitants live in poverty, that is, in circumstances where there is a shortage of money to meet even minimum needs. The salaries for more than a half of those employed meet only their minimum needs…. The level of inequality [in Latvia] is simply colossal. The inequality coefficient stands at 20%. In effect this means that the poor become ever poorer, while the wealthy become ever wealthier….”

Suvajevs describes the situation in Latvia in abstract terms. Here is what this blogger knows about the situation from personal observation. The story of family X describes a situation that is not unusual in the countryside.

Family X is a kaleidoscope of virtual family originating in rural Latvia. I ( emphasize the word rural. Family Y and Z (to be presented in future blogs) will be virtual single mothers also from rural areas. Their cases will be presented in future blogs.

Virtual family #1 has six children. The father does manual work for a local farmer, but has bouts with alcohol that sometimes last for months on end. While father has visited the detoxification clinic often, his employer refuses to cover the expenses, because the procedure does not result in a permanent cure. The mother of the family, also suffering from bouts with alcohol, left her husband some years ago and has been living off and on with other men as housekeeper. Both parents are about fifty years old.

Son #1 is nearing thirty. He has an elementary school education. After sowing his seed wildly and irresponsibly and living with several women in various regions of Latvia, he eventually abandoned them. He is presently living and working in England. He is likely to be working (judging from earlier work history) as a construction worker.
Son #2 is in his mid-twenties. He attended trade school and studied to be a car mechanic. He has a wife and one child. Most recent employment was as a car mechanic. However, because of the financial and economic crisis, his monthly wage has been cut to 120 lats (about $240) or 30 lats ($60) per week. He is soon on his way to England. A friend (so he claims) has arranged a job for him.

Son #3 is in his mid-teens. The teenager is bright, but has a terrible and incomplete elementary school record. He is suspect by his neighbors of petty thievery. Like many young boys, he loves motorcycles.
Daughter #1 has four young children. Her husband works as a farm laborer. The family is best described as poor and barely scraping by. For lack of money daughter #1 often requests brother #3 to absent himself from school to watch her children while she goes to market or visits with friends.

Daughter #2 has not completed her elementary school. She was briefly married and has two children from the marriage. She divorced her husband and children and traveled around Europe as companion to several truck drivers and became pregnant again. She abandoned her last child, and then moved to England where she worked as a waitress and took up with immigrants from Pakistan. She has now married a Pakistani man and moved to Pakistan.
Daughter #3 is in her early twenties; has not completed her elementary school education. She was married and has two children, but then divorced (perhaps influenced by sister, re #2), abandoned her children, and now lives in England. She, too, very likely lives with a Pakistani man. Her former husband has moved with their two young children to England, where he works in a factory. On occasion the young woman comes from London to visit her children.
Blogger’s comments: The virtual family illustrates the supercilious and neglectful attitude of the Latvian government toward rescuing Latvia from demographic collapse. Twenty years after regaining its independence from the Soviet Union, Latvia’s independence can be described as a people’s tragedy. The political leadership of Latvia has done little to set its priorities on “survival” or better. We know why: children do not vote, but when they are grown old enough, they will be “dumbed down” and vote for which ever political party spends most money on campaign advertising.
To the extent that this writer is familiar with the above and like situations, the chief causes of the problems—aside from neglect by government—are poverty, alcoholism by parents, and lack of understanding of the value of education by many who live in the countryside. The failure to value education runs throughout society, and may be traced to “guaranteed” jobs and wages during Soviet times, as well as education presented in a rote and uninspiring manner, i.e., without a vision of how education may help lift the students out of life at subsistence level. [University students are of course excluded and count as an exception to the norms.] All members of the virtual family are, so to speak, normal people, at least to the extent that their dysfunctional and anxiety filled lives allow them to be such.

Let us not forget that it is the state (originating in princely violence and land grab), aided by a bought off religion, which destroyed the traditional way of life of the community. As a consequence the family lost its clan and ceased to be a saime (a household; a form of the extended family particular to the Balts) and was made directly dependent on the state.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest
TO THE LATVIAN VOTER: While a “not-vote” is not a cure all, it is 1) a step toward choosing and then setting up a program for achieving a realistic future; 2) it helps exit the simplistic mechanics of a dysfunctional community reduced to such by politics as usual; 3) it refuses to keep the current “death spiral” (political, economic, demographic, you name it) under wraps and presents it as an emergency it is; 4) it reintroduces charisma as an essential element for the survival of Latvia. Come October 2, 2010, cast a NOT-VOTE. No amount of votes cast for any of the parties now campaigning will result in improvements in the peoples lives whatsoever. Indeed, it will make things worse, because the government’s dysfunction is endemic. Yes, we know the argument that the Latvian constitution provides that even if no more than a thousand people vote in the elections, the government may declare itself legitimate. However, if the majority of the 700,000 eligible voters cast a “not-vote”, everyone will know that the government has no other options than either resign or declare itself a dictatorship. There is no other way to a viable future than through a not-vote; or as the French writer Genet put it: [Else] nous ne sortirons jamais de ce bordel.  
It is obvious that the mindset among the Latvian political elite at this time is not only gridlocked, but has turned to tacky marble. These blogs are, for one, an attempt to loosen the rusted screws with some naval jelly. Click  here  to discover the meaning of the Overton Window, and here to see what purpose it serves.
On material depravation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” George Orwell's "Animal Farm".  
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984".)  
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline  + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and http://esoschroniclnes.blogspot.com/

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