A world in economic crisis

U.K. moves towards working for the dole

Posted in unemployment, United Kingdom, welfare state by Aussie on November 8, 2010

BBC News – Ministers defend plan to force jobless to do work

Rowan Williams, the somewhat discredited Archbishop of Canterbury thinks that working for the dole is a bad idea. Like a good little Marxist, Rowan Williams believes that working for the dole is harmful.

However, personally, I disagree with the comments attributed to Rowan Williams, that requiring people to work for the dole would contribute to “a downward spiral of uncertainty or even despair”.  To the contrary, working for the dole helps people to achieve a sense of self-worth, rather than leading to feelings of despair. The self-worth comes from having the dignity of being able to work.

The scheme which is about to be unveiled is designed to catch the cheats – those on long term unemployment that prefer to receive benefits rather than working full time. It is also designed to encourage some unemployed into the habit of a work day. It is being designed to help those who really do want to work, to have something on their resume.

Dealing with unemployment is a very thorny problem at the best of times. There are many who give up their search for work because there does not appear to be anything available for their particular skill sets. Most countries have schemes to help the unemployed find work. However, there are some drawbacks to those schemes, especially in the way that some people are excluded from receiving that help. (I know this from personal experience).

Whilst I disagree with the Archbishop of Canterbury, I can actually relate to the difficulties associated with being unemployed, especially during a period of high unemployment caused by Stagflation. My personal experience occurred in 1976 when I was a new graduate, landing in a situation where firms were not employing Commerce graduates. At the time the top five accounting firms were taking in very few graduates… the jobs were not there. My own experience was that it was very difficult having to deal with the Commonwealth Employment Service (the name in 1976) especially when their officers persisted in sending people to job interviews when the people did not meet the necessary criteria. My experience on that score was humiliating, but the CES officer was to blame because he lacked the ability to match up the clients to each other. Getting temporary work in a factory was far less humiliating than going for an interview where I was clearly not the right person for the job!! In this respect I think that the Archbishop of Canterbury has no real idea about what causes humiliation for job seekers.

The welfare state, whether it is in the U.K., Australia or elsewhere needs to be curbed. There are simply too many people dependent upon the state. This dependency causes a drain upon the public purse. If people are cheating the system by finding ways to stay unemployed, and even working on the side whilst claiming benefits, then they deserve to be flushed out of the system. 

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