Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unemployment - an irrational, unnecessary social evil

UK jobless jumps to 2.22m - Telegraph: "Unemployment in Britain jumped sharply to a 13-year high of 2.22m in March but the growth in jobless benefit claims has slowed. The rise pushed the UK unemployment rate up to 7.1pc from 6.3pc".

It is weird how unemployment is such a non-story, relatively. Under Thatcher it was daily news, with the BBC doing daily updates in the rise. It cannot be, surely, that the Labour government has a better control on the media?

It needs do be said that unemployment is a social evil, leading to poverty, petty crime, depression, and ill-health.

Unemployment is made worse by the benefits system, where you can only earn £5 a week on top of JSA, because benefits are stopped when you get work. This is irrational. The Green Party's alternative is Citizen's Income, where the basic income is paid to all, and is not withdrawn when you find work. This makes it easier to move into and out of work. Critics seize on the latter aspect, and call it a Shirker's Charter. To overcome this stumbling block, and at the same time to green the economy, I propose a Green Wage subsidy, where people can move into constructive jobs without losing their benefit.

This solution makes perfect sense. There is no place for anything except structural unemployment in a Green economy.

And green economics is real economics. Orthodox economics is dys-economics.


Rob said...

Another back door step towards a BI and a step towards a more inclusive society would I think be to make all the benefits that are free to those who receive benefits free to everyone without means testing. This would stop the resentment and, usually false,belief, amongst many, that those receiving benefit are better off than those in low paid work or pensioners with a small additional income. In addition this could include things such as free insulation and maintenance to keep that insulation up to standard, heating grant in winter,coupons for a certain amount of free public transport etc.

DocRichard said...

Hi Rob
I agree that means testing is a problem, but on the other hand, there is the matter of benefit fraud which is tied in with this. CI in its pure form does away with a lot of the costly admin work that goes into determining who gets benefits. I think abolition of means testing would need a lot of detailed thinking through.
Cheers Richard

Rob said...

I think I probably did not explain myself very well. I did not mean do away with means testing for calculating the amount of benefit due but make the things that are free to those who receive means testing benefits free to everyone. Those are things such as dentistry, prescriptions, eye testing,freeschool meals My wondering about this is because a pensioner friend of my parents was complaining about their dentistry bill at a NHS dentist and their observation that other people (on benefits) were getting the same treatment free. It seems to me that a relatively small amount of money would give everyone free NHS dentistry and free prescriptions etc. It seem sensible to me that a reasonable health system and things that benefit everyone , such as well insulated buildings, school meals ,should be free to everyone if they want them and it would also be less devisive in society as everyone would get them. This is also the attractic feature of a CI. People should also have the choice to use private treatments,schools, contracters etc if they have the money/ choose to spend it in that way in my view.