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Why no work. Guest post by @FallenLief

December 21, 2012

Liefie is a wonderful friend of mine who wrote this and then wanted to put it up somewhere. She doesn’t have a blog. She does have this cracking post on why compulsory work is bad for us and no longer economically viable.

Why the idea that we should all be in constant and permanent employment is a harmful one

My father is very much stock of the previous generation’s working class. Throughout my formative years he worked night shifts to provide for his family. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I began to get to know the man. I had essentially grown up without a father. Through the years I spent pondering my future around my GCSE’s my dad’s concern was simply: “will it pull in a good wage?”

I never really lived up to my father’s expectations, and similarly, a lot of people are failing to live up to the governments standards.

The current narrative of the unemployed being scroungers is a terrible thing for our government to inflict on its people. For a start, not everyone unemployed is capable of work. The persisting idea that people who aren’t in work just aren’t trying hard enough isn’t just wrong, it’s damaging to our collective thought processes about people and what constitutes work.

A person who works is not more valuable than someone who doesn’t. This is the first thing I would like to say. If there was any measure that should be used to determines a persons worth, this shouldn’t be it.

It’s hard to get into work. The young don’t have the experience. The old don’t have the long term potential. It’s easier to find work if you already have work. People who’ve been caught without work for months are unjustly denied jobs for the gap in their work history. Basic prejudices have been held against people to prevent them from taking positions. There just aren’t enough jobs to go around. We keep inventing technologies that render more and more people obsolete. The cost of operating in our country drives manufacturing away. There aren’t enough jobs in the country for everyone to have one. It is impossible to start up your own company from scratch at the bottom of the financial ladder, no friends to borrow start up funding from (because they’re all in the same boat) and no worthwhile financial support from our state or investors. Creative positions like writers and musicians are over saturated with potential artists, the market getting tighter because of the freedom of the internet, and agents having to pick from thousands crying “pick me!”

To blame all that on individuals, claiming that “they aren’t trying hard enough” isn’t just insulting, it’s abusive. It’s telling them that things that are out of their control are their fault. It’s abusive. It’s putting on individuals an ideal that can’t be met. It’s abusive. It’s the action of a failing state trying to hide its failures to provide for its people by blaming them for a condition they would readily change if they could. Abusive.

There is no permanent employment. There is no stable employment.

There is enough money out there to pay for the country to eat and live well, stuck in the pockets of people who make more money than they will ever need. They call people scroungers because they did the work, but at the end of the day, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of those few. Would it be better to be known as the one who held onto their money or as the one who took responsibility with the great amounts they have for the standard of living around the country?

Our utopian science fiction depicts people living lives of leisure, wanting for nothing, and our scientists strive to create this kind of world through technological advances. It’s what we’ve been doing for years! Developing new technologies to make life easier for ourselves. People are only going to keep becoming more and more free as technology marches on. It’s time we began to understand that the age of the birth to death worker has ended.



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