Crunch-time, or, how has the global crisis affected you in Little Ol' Portugal?

on 10:14 pm

The excellent blog posts on Canadian music have made start re-listening to a few bands, particularly Rush (though unlike João, I've always been a true fan).

Their music reminds me of small towns in rural Canada slowly dying off and disappearing, with the “old” way of life fading away due to closing factories, children growing up and leaving with no one to replace them, attracted by the opportunities that the big cities provide.

Abandoned shopping mall in Wallaceburg

I grew up in a small industrial town, and I remember the so-called “golden days”, when work was plentiful, and the economy booming. But that didn’t last long. Factories moved first to the USA, and then to Mexico. In Wallaceburg, the loss of the Glass Factory was the biggest blow, and the town went downhill from there. I left in 1999, which was really the beginning of the end.

Picturesque Wallaceburg

I’ve visited my hometown a few times, the last being in 2006. It was a ghost town. No children on the streets, all the old stores boarded up, and the factories abandoned. Even remembering it now saddens me somewhat.

Unfortunately in Portugal the economy is also facing serious problems. Not the same decline as Canada faced, since Portugal was never very economically strong to begin with. However, the VAT is rising yet again. Income tax as well. Deductable expenses are going to be severely capped. The budget is under heavy discussion, and risks not being passed in parliament. The plentiful subsidies formerly given by the European Union have long dried up. Austerity measures are in full swing. Recession looms overhead.

The Euro won't stretch as far as it used to. Not only will goods and services be more expensive, but we'll be effectively earning less each month. For many it's going to be difficult to make ends meet.

How are you dealing with the current crisis? Cutting down on the ivory back-scratchers? Or is it life as usual?

Gabe

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