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Recession has become a household name in all nations which are suffering under strained economic conditions. Its economic and social impacts to the society are devastating. It has affected people in all social and income classes with effects varying in magnitude in each class. These have been discussed as guided by interviews conducted on those affected.
Social Effects of the Recession
I conducted the interview on all income groups since recession has adverse effects to all but in varying magnitudes. It was realized that the hardest hit were the low income earners while the high income groups and the wealthy suffered major losses. The effects though in varying magnitudes were found to be similar. Since its onset, there have been a lot of economic explanations and debates about recession with very little or no mention on the social effects which come with those economic implications. (www.suffolk.gov.uk)
From the interviews, I was not only able to identify the financial implications but also the social implications. The implications were also scrutinized from the perspective of certain social groups like the elderly, those with young children, the youth and the disabled. The rising costs of living were identified as the major causes of the falling standards of living across all income and social groups. The low income earners were the most affected by the escalating prices of food and heating, being forced to live in poorly heated homes while at the time suffering from poor diet. The case was worse for the disabled who had to pay more for specialized transport. The middle income earners were quoted saying that their living standards lowered due to a combination of there up to the limit mortgage and the high cost of living. (Torres, 2009)
In employment, many young people have lost their jobs courtesy of the calls for rightsizing in many organizations in a bid to reduce the costs of operation. This changed their position from high to middle or middle to low income earners keeping in mind that they had over stretched their income limits to acquire property. The elderly and the disabled said that their chances of getting well paying jobs were made slim by the recession. Their risk of thus suffering form inadequate heating and poor diet increased because not even the benefits they were getting from the government could sufficiently cover their basic needs. (Siegel, 2002)
The impact of falling house prices was quoted by many to have made their living conditions harder. This is because the unpredictable interest and inflation rates have been making it hard for people across all social and income classes to acquire a debt which they can comfortably manage. The case is serious for those who don’t have any property they can pledge as collateral. Many who had taken mortgages confirmed that they had fallen in arrears and were at risk of losing their property. (www.suffolk.gov.uk)
To add insult to injury, the financial and social hardships brought about by recession were made worse by the falling prices in the stock market. This saw many lose their hard earned investments. The high income earners and the wealthy were found to be the most affected. They confessed to have lost investments worth millions of dollars. The lowly priced stocks could not be accepted by financiers as collateral since their performance was highly unpredictable. This led to people using their savings and investments which they disposed sometimes at a loss so as to cater for pressing needs. (Siegel, 2002)
Almost all interviewees confirmed that they had experienced strained family relations which were fuelled by the recession. Accumulation of personal debts to unimaginable sums was the chief cause cited to be behind this. This have only gone further to worsen the adverse social effects of the recession since most of the students who abused drugs cited family problems as the driving force. This has led to their deteriorating academic performance, violent behavior and involvement in various anti social behaviors like crime. (Torres, 2009)
Those caring for the elderly and young children blamed their deteriorating health on recessions which have made healthy diets rare and adequate heating unaffordable. Mental problems like stress and depression were noted in majority of those with personal debt problems fearing that the debt situation had gotten out of their hands. (www.suffolk.gov.uk)
Anti-social behaviors especially those related with violence and crime on the general population are the best indicators of the adverse social effects of recession which have been ignited by the accompanying financial problems. As mentioned these are explained in part by the strained family relations brought about by personal debt problems and educational failure.
Personally, I feel that recession has come not without benefits; owing to the limited disposable income people are spending very little on alcohol. The youth have confirmed that they have been inspired by the recession to advance their education while people are now traveling less reducing to a great extent traffic accidents and air pollution by car fumes.