Unemployed people working to ensure the money keeps coming in? Preposterous!

image courtesy of freefoto.com

An interesting turn up for the books: making the unemployed work. Crazy. Is this Britain? Have I been transported without my knowledge to a country other than my own [wel]fair state? The government next week will be unveiling plans to put the unemployed masses to work for four week ‘full-time’ (30 hours is not full time in my book, but c’est la vie) or lose their dole money for three months.

People who legitimately can’t work for health reasons is one thing, but I’ve lived with, known and am in some cases related to enough people just taking the state for a ride to think this is a good idea for a few reasons:

1 – working ‘full time’ for the dole money amount of ‘£50.95 a week for those under 25 and £64.30 for those over 25’ will probably seem crap to the ‘demonized’ unemployed. After all, they could be doing the same graft for the full wage, no? Maybe they would go out and get jobs and help the tax payers contribute to supporting the people who really need it as opposed to those who just can’t be bothered

2 – as described in the government’s proposal, the ‘habit of worklessness’ can only be broken by working; this will break that habit.

3 – some people on the dole actually do want to work and may actually enjoy it

4 – coercing people to do work they would not ordinarily even consider may even open some eyes to the palatability of certain roles.

There are jobs out there; I’ve never been into the job shop and found their databases blank and devoid of work. People are too fussy with what they want as jobs in a climate where we shouldn’t be fussy at all. Others just can’t be bothered, to quote Craig Spence “To quote problem with people today is they never want to make the effort, they expect everything to be handed to them and seem to think they are too “good” for menial labour, the work is there if your willing to do it. People who look down their nose at fast-food staff and cleaners should just crawl up and die.”

The main reason we have so many unemployed people in this country?  is that we let them sap the state. If this new government plan can curtail that, I’m all for it.

Or to put it another way:

    • martyarf
    • December 3rd, 2010

    The problem with this argument is that it places the responsibility for unemployment on the unemployed, rather than an economic system that allows for them to be unemployed.

    There’s a whole host of other issues, such as it being a way to undermine contracted and unionised workers, provide next-to-nothing labour to private industry and, you know, Arbeit Macht Frei.

    • Does it feel like I’m tweeking hairs out of your rusky neck one at a time? ;):- I see your point, but what would suggest as an alternative to get the lazy bums off of said posteriors? I recognise that someone’s probably going to get screwed no matter what gets done, but I’m interested to hear your ideas…

    • martyarf
    • December 4th, 2010

    The primary question to answer is “What causes unemployment?”. You’re positing that for a sizable chunk of people, an ethic of workshy skiving is to blame. I don’t think that stands up to reality. The amount of unemployed people increased by 30% in the year 2008-2009 according to governmental statistics:

    What this tells us is that unless an epidemic of laziness swept the country, that economic conditions are the driving force behind unemployment. We can approach it from another angle, and look at countries without significant welfare states – such as America, where your unemployment allowance literally has to be earned – and see that they are actually facing an even worse crisis of unemployment right now. As Dean Baker wrote the other day:

    “The NYT concluded an otherwise useful article on the long-term unemployed by suggesting the country may just settle in with an 8-9 percent unemployment, which had become the norm in some European countries. It is important to note that these European countries have far more extensive welfare state supports than the United States. This allows the long-term unemployed to still enjoy a decent standard of living in European countries. This would not be the case in the United States.”

    The capitalist model has failed for over two centuries to provide full employment to the population of Britain. The solution is not to gut the welfare state, nor is it to provide an exquisitely charitable welfare state – as Oscar Wilde said, the remedies of charity “do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it”. The solution is to reform our economic model so that it addresses human needs rather than a return on investment to capital.

    • Okay, accepted, but what economic model would work??
      p.s. I don’t ask these questions to be irksome, I genuinely like being enlightened :):-

    • martyarf
    • December 9th, 2010

    Well, the basic Marxist interpretation is to basically seize and re-organise production so that it addresses the needs of society, not those of the investing capital class. This is called generally called socialism, and the idea is to maximise and focus production so as to rapidly improve living conditions for all. The aim is to disappear class, to remove all divisions:

    “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

    But that’s just what I subscribe to. Anarchists, syndicalists, primitavists or whatever would have a totally different view.

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