Meaning of Austerity

We would have to go back to Latin to find the etymological origin of the word austerity. Specifically, we have to say that it is the result of the sum of two components of that language: the adjective “austerus”, which is synonymous with “rough or difficult”, and the suffix “-itas”, which can be translated as “quality”.

Austerity is a term that indicates the quality of austere. Someone austere, on the other hand, is sober, moderate, penitent and severe, who does not make any kind of bragging and who strictly conforms to the norms of morality.

In recent years, due to the situation of economic crisis, in which different countries of the world are immersed, there has been the continued use of what has been called economic austerity.

Specifically, this term is intended to define a type of economic policy carried out by various governments with the clear objective of achieving some improvement in the financial situation, although in many cases they do not achieve the expected results.

In this way, when incentivizing and betting on economic austerity, what is carried out is a set of tax increases as well as a reduction in public spending. That is to say, what ordinary citizens have called cuts.

Thus, for example, in Spain the government of the Popular Party has established this type of policy through forceful cuts in education or public health, which has aroused complaints and reproaches from the population for considering that these represent a serious impairment to their quality of lifetime. All this while they have seen how the tax increase was produced in aspects such as electricity.

For example: “This government will maintain austerity and be totally transparent”, “I think that, in this time of economic crisis, austerity is essential”, “The singer is not characterized by his austerity: he has just spent half a million dollars on toys for her daughter ”.

Austerity can be associated with frugality (the measured consumption of goods and services) or asceticism (the denial of material pleasures). That is why austerity can be understood as the mortification of the passions or the senses.

On the other hand, we must not link austerity with lack. A millionaire can be austere, while a poor man can squander what little he has. Suppose the owner of a large company earns $ 200,000 a month. This sum would allow him to have luxury cars and a mansion, or to take trips around the world. However, this businessman prefers austerity: he lives in the house he inherited from his parents, he has an old car and always spends the summer on a beach in his country.

A man who is unemployed, on the other hand, spends beyond his means and consumes his savings without thinking about the future. Despite not having a job, this person shows that he does not know what austerity is and decides to buy a new car even though he already has one that allows him to move around without problems.