Ministers treating unemployment as mental problem – report

July 2024 Forums General discussion Ministers treating unemployment as mental problem – report

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  • #83962
    james19
    Participant

    Unemployment is being "rebranded" by the government as a psychological disorder, a new study claims.

    Those that do not exhibit a "positive" outlook must undergo "reprogramming" or face having their benefits cut, says the Wellcome Trust-backed report.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33060794#_=_

    #111765
    ALB
    Keymaster

    The whole campaign to "get people into work" is hypocrisy. They know that there will always be a pool of unemployed. Academic economists have invented a concept variously called the "natural" or "equibilbtium" rate of unemployment as "the level at which which wage inflation measures start to build" as the Economics Editor of the Times, Philip Aldrick, defined in in an article on Wednesday (10 June), i.e the rate needed to keep wages rising too much.  Most economists fix it at 5% or more. The article quoted one economists as arguing that it might now be lower, at 4%.:

    Quote:
    The Bank [of England] estimates the equilibrium rate to be 5.1 per cent — the average between 2001 and 2007. Mr Saunders suggests it could be less than 4 per cent today, the lowest for 40 years. In other words, at the economy's optimum cruising speed, 400,000 fewer people need be unemployed than before the crisis.

    Unemployment is currently 5.5 percent or 1,860,000 people. If their "equilibrium rate" of unemployment is 4% rather than 5% this would still mean 1,352,000 "need be unemployed". The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harrassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.

    #111766
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    ALB wrote:
    The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harrassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.

    But surely workers' bargaining position over wages would only be strengthened in an expanding economy.  And how is this view reconciled with the government's declared intention to reduce the cost of the benefits bill; isn't that why they want people to find jobs?

    #111767
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Actually, the economy is expanding, slowly. You have a point, though, there may be a conflict of interest here between the government (which wants to reduce benefits, as those paid to the unemployed) and employers (who want a minumum pool of unemployed to stop wages rising too fast). A tough balancing act for the government, especially one that prides itself as being "business friendly", i.e as prepared to act in the interests of big business. I doubt if they really do want to get the unemployment rate down to the 2% or less it was in the 1950s and 1960s and the increased relative power this gave to the unions even this would cut the benefits billIt's a bit like the division amongst capitalists over tax credits as a subsidy to low-paying employers discussed on a couple of other threads here.

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