Motion: THW make the jobless join ranks with those who are in community service
Role: Secretary (opp.)
Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Ms. Paula Risikko (of Finland and the Coalition Party), recently spoke on the need of the unemployed to give something back to society in exchange for their dole money, their UB40, their social security. Conventional wisdom says that she is right, and so would a fair share of men in the streets, Coalition politicians, a few True Finns and Christian Democrats. It just makes sense that it would be so, or rather that that would appeal to their and our sense of moral (if not progressive) justice.
The truth, at any rate, is that both the employers and the jobseekers have already tried at least a few times. Before an unemployed person turns that way, (s)he will have been rejected at least once with a job search. (S)he has once gotten the information that his/her contribution does not match the monetary compensation that the labour union would require for the job in question and the employer has at least once been compelled to make such an (de-)evaluation. There is most often a perpetual mismatch between his/her job-worthiness and the requirements of a decent, regulated line of work.
Ms. Risikko’s urges would create a situation where we, as a society, would have to invent a layer or sphere of work where people are in ungainful employment despite the said mismatch that was described earlier. After all, I don’t think that any person would rather go jobless and collect a pittance for nothing than go to a job and collect what the labour regulations stipulate. The difference is a MARKED gap in the standard of living. A tragic mismatch lies at the root of the problem of unemployment.
Creating a new job market of deliberately undervalued work for the unemployed is problematic in the sense that it is exactly this that the Big Companies (listed companies, dividend-paying firms) work against most of the time. When they are trying to figure out how to make bobs better, they shed jobs from their currently gainfully employed employees. They are constantly refiguring what it means to be Gainful and setting the bar ever higher. Ungainfulness would never threaten the board members of the firm, but even lowly middle management somewhere might be on the firing line. Shouldn’t the unemployed get these jobs after they have been taken from their previous occupiers?
The truth, the sad truth about the unemployed or unemployables, is that in the beginnings of their uncareers they are a little short of employability, and the longer they stay that way, the wider the gap will widen out. At the same time, they may be medically & mentally entirely capable of work, as opposed to those people whose handicaps or mental disturbances actually prevent work. We talk about ”unemployed” or even ”unemployable” people, but what we are really referring to in their cases is people whose ”information capital” is too low for the job market and its needs in its contemporary state. In a way, they are not unemployable but ”too poor” for the job market. They’re not attitudinally flawed or faulty people, as whom they are sometimes painted. How did they end up this way? Should we start off with the educational system?
Shame on you.
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