The British Psychological Society’s monthly magazine, The Psychologist has been carrying a series on austerity and psychology. At our request this month’s articles have been made open access, which seems correct given the theme.
Charting ‘the mind and body economic’ The Midlands Psychology Group introduce a special issue dedicated to the theme of ‘austerity’ Page Numbers: 232-235
“Neoliberal ‘austerity’ programmes – favoured by many governments across the globe since the ‘Great Recession’ of 2007 – add up to a toxic regime for the mind and body of the ordinary citizen. So far, psychologists have done little to challenge the dubious scientific assumptions upon which these programmes rest. If anything, they have sought to profit from them: chiefly through the mass promotion of therapies and techniques claimed to counteract the mental and emotional damage wrought by an ever more corrosive world. But there are other ways of doing psychology; and the articles in this special issue point the way towards a far more socially aware (and arguably more scientific) version of the discipline.” read on
Austerity in the university Ian Parker on increasing pressure and emotional labour at work for academics in times of crisis Page Numbers: 236-239
Inequality and the next generation Gary Thomas explains how the gradient of difference can impact upon identity in the classroom Page Numbers: 240-243
Gary Thomas makes reference to Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2009) . The spirit level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen Lane. – For North American readers, I understand that the book didn’t sell over there partly because the title uses a British term: a “spirit level” is the device builders and joiners use to check that something is horizontal.
Neoliberal austerity and unemployment David Fryer and Rose Stambe examine critical psychological issues Page Numbers: 244-249
The impact of austerity on a British council estate Carl Harris takes an ‘ecological model of systems’ approach Page Numbers: 250-253
For non-British readers, in Carl Harris’s article – ‘council estate’ means an area of rented ‘social housing’ originally built by the local council (municipality) but now usuallly semi privatised (in terms of ownership and management).
If there is one thing missing from the issue it is treatment of the role of propaganda in promoting austerity as a social and economic policy. The mantra that ‘there is no money’, repeated ad nauseam throughout Europe, is frankly a myth as heterodox economists like Steve Keen, and Ann Pettifor  have been showing. Why the myths about money and its creation are perpetuated is a complicated story but the kind of analysis of propaganda made by Alex Carey  in Australia and Noam Chomsky  in the USA can help shine some light on what’s actually going on.
1. Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
. Harmondsworth: Penguin. see also http://bit.ly/1hbzQix
2. Pettifor, A. (2014). Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance. London: Prime Economics. Retrieved from http://www.primeeconomics.org/?wpsc-product=just-money-how-society-can-break-the-despotic-power-of-finance
3. Carey, A. (1997). Taking the Risk out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty (edited by A Lowrey). Champaign, Illinois, USA: University of Illinois Press.
4. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Pantheon, 1988)