The state of the Netherlands in 2016

Selected below are a few headlines, illustrating some problems one of Europe’s best performing economies, supposedly in recovery, is currently facing. It may be worth noting that the Netherlands appears to perform better economically speaking that it genuinely does, because of the revised definitions used for GDP.

Amsterdam health clinics forced to reject 2.600 requests for STD tests.

Too many people want to have themselves checked for STD’s, including HIV. The national government has reduced funding, as a result forcing health clinics to reduce the number of screenings from 46,000 to 40.000. If you’re visiting Amsterdam as a tourist, it might be wise to limit your vices to drugs and alcohol.

Dutch railroad operator asks colleges and universities to change their schedules

The Dutch railroad operator, the NS, has insufficient trains left on their tracks, as 41 old trains are being retired. The new ones are not expected to arrive until late 2016. Considering our previous experiences with the delivery of high speed trains, there may very well be some delay before these trains are genuinely ready to use. In the meantime, things are going to be crowded. If you were planning on visiting the Netherlands as a student, it might be wise to reconsider. If on the other hand, you are into frotteurism, the Netherlands is the place to visit.

Psychiatric patients risk ending up untreated due to budget cuts

Years of budget cuts have caused increasing numbers of psychiatric patients to go untreated, which has led to large increases in the number of incidents in public. Despite the supposed economic recovery, further budget cuts for municipalities are now likely, with more people ending up untreated, requiring frequent and costly police intervention as a consequence.

Growing medicine shortage

We can’t afford a growing group of medicines anymore. For varying reasons, companies refuse to produce them for us. This is a new phenomenon of the past few years. An estimated 426 medicines were unavailable in 2013, versus 527 in 2014 and 625 in 2015. A few days ago we had a massive run on pharmacies, because a thyroid medicine hundreds of thousands of people use was running out.

Conclusion

What do we have to conclude based on the above? The Netherlands now appears to be a society that’s struggling to maintain its most critical infrastructure. Medicine, STD diagnoses, psychiatric treatment and public transportation are not luxuries, but rather, the most vital aspects of a nation’s economy, that allow it to preserve a sense of stability.

A society that has to retreat on one of them might be mismanaged, or suffer from corruption. A society that has to retreat on all four of them clearly has a much bigger problem. What problem does the Netherlands have?  It appears to have a number of them. It faces a graying population, as the most economically productive cohort now expects to be paid a pension.

 

There also seems to be a lack of realism when it comes to the need to genuinely produce something tangible to remain relevant on the world stage. The realization that our natural gas reserves will be depleted within ten years at the current pace leaves the managing class convinced that from now on, money is to be found in serving as a transportation hub for natural gas instead. What we’re going to use to heat our homes, cook meals and generate electricity isn’t answered however.

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