Will 2015 be the worst year to date for the average Portuguese person?
I do understand that it is very difficult to identify “the average” of anything and especially people/population. It’s probably better to call them the guy or girl in the street.
Every day, like you, I mix with a variety of Portuguese people in central Portugal from educated people such as bank managers to small business owners and construction workers or waiters. I am beginning to hear a grumble of mass discontent that was not there before.
Every Portuguese person I know has at least one member of the family, usually many, working and living outside Portugal. Carrying out, in the most part, poorly paid jobs with long hours just to support themselves and the family back home.
Many of these people will not come back to Portugal unless it is to retire. It is no surprise therefore that I heard recently there are only 10 Million people in Portugal at the moment – which is less than London!
This draining of brains and skills will impact severely on Portugal’s speed of recovery. Something you don’t hear Portugal’s politicians talking about.
The Crise (monetary crisis and troika) has been here for a long time now. People have tightened their belts, started growing vegetables to feed the family and have dipped into savings or sold family property or land.
Many thousands of homes and cars have been repossessed by the banks, pushing the aspirational poor further into the dirt with newly acquired negative credit ratings.
If you sit and have a coffee with the guy or girl in the street they will tell you that they have not been paid for a couple of months or, if its a business owner, when he could normally see 7 or 8 projects ahead at the beginning of the year says now he can only see one.
The stress of having few orders and carrying their workforce, many of whom are family members, is immense because there is a great shame in laying off your family no matter what the circumstances.
I can see the enormous stress etched in the faces of some of my business owner friends.
With work prospects so poor all people can think of is to leave. They apply to the illegal work agents advertising in every newspaper and hope that they will be lucky and get a good job somewhere else in Europe, Africa or Brazil.
Most of us expats are immune to their situation because we have money, education and modern/valuable work experience.
Even if we are actually aware of the problem it is on a monumental scale.