With the vast majority of the tourists gone a major part of the local economy will be devastated. Many of the hotel staff who bravely tried to protect British tourists or who looked after them so well during the aftermath of the murders will be unemployed shortly. Hopelessly unemployed.
That is, of course, exactly what the extremists wanted to achieve. So you would have thought that the 'international community' we frequently hear about would have rapidly snapped into action to agree a package of economic support to ensure that the Tunisian economy continues to function and that there are jobs in other activities. It seems to me to be the most glaringly obvious example of the needs and the benefits of international economic aid. A package of help now will enable the Tunisian state to stand out as an attractive peaceful place for Muslims and others to live in. Lack of help will leave the local people poverty stricken and make a lot more of them easy meat for recruitment to terrorist ranks than would be the case if they were making a nice living out of looking after tourists.
I have, however, yet to hear a word from a member of the British government about offering any financial and economic aid. Mr. Cameron has told us that it might be necessary to bomb Syria - neatly forgetting that last time he proposed to bomb those fighting ISIS. He has told us we might need to make it illegal for people to express outrageous views - neatly missing the obvious risk that this could makes those who express those views sound like heroic suppressed voices to more people instead of allowing us to argue them into oblivion. What he has not done is shown the least understanding that a financial investment now in a bit of economic solidarity might avoid a lot of ineffective spending on a military campaign later. Military action against Muslim extremism seems to have resulted in increasing the power of the extremists everywhere that it has been tried. Economic solidarity with Tunisia would work to help build up a strong example of a successful moderate Muslim state.
This kind of common sense economic solidarity seems to be very thin on the ground at the moment. There is instead a determination to adopt a mean spirited approach to anyone in trouble. And the problem with this approach is that it just doesn't work. Leave aside the misery it causes to others - it isn't in our own interests either.
A sensible strategy for a country like Greece that had debts equal to 100% of its GNP back in 2008 would have been to provide a package of growth measures which would have invested in developing the economy. This would have enabled a larger economy to be able to handle and pay back those debts with ease. The actual policy required of the Greeks was to cut back expenditure in the flawed belief that this would enable the Greeks to save more money and pay off the debt. What it did instead was put 25% of them out of work, impoverished many others, wrecked their public services and increased the national debts to 180% of GNP.
In other words international insistence on forcing the Greeks to cut spending and save money to pay off debts resulted in them having less money, saving less and building up even more debts. Now they look like they cannot pay off those debts and are going to have to crash out of the Euro and default on the loans. The consequences for the 'international community' of this ideology of austerity is that we are all worse off. Anyone who owns Greek debts loses money. That will include a lot of UK pension funds. Spanish, Italian and Portuguese governments will have to pay more out on servicing their debts because the risk is higher. The result is they will have less money to spend and so our exports to these countries will drop. Trying to get Greeks to cut back even more will destroy great chunks of international wealth, lower international sales and lower living standards in the West. It also adds to uncertainty and risk at a time when we are only 7 years beyond the most risky financial crisis for at least 80 years.
At a time when international financial systems are fragile and the world is facing horrible military threats what is needed is not more chaos. We need more collaboration. A realisation that we are all in this together. Economic support for one nation to get out of its troubles will help every other nation to be better off and more secure.
We have a choice. We can preach to other countries about moral responsibility and offer sage advice as they go to the wall. Or we can invest in some real practical help to get their economies functioning effectively. It is clear that our Conservative government is locked into an ideology shared by the German Chancellor that every country has to balance every budget every year.
Generosity and international solidarity are not naive ideas put forward by tree hugging liberals. They represent good hard headed policies. It is mean spirited self interest that simply doesn't work and that is putting the international economy at risk.