Daily Paradox - Written by John Bittleston on Monday, May 7, 2012 22:47 - 1 Comment
Our Pain for Others’ Unemployment
By Fr Antony Sutch
It is often said that Capitalism as a system demands that some at least be unemployed. This stimulates competition and eliminates any stranglehold over wage costs. Communism fails, they say, because there is no competition. It seems now that our leaders search for a happy mean; without it anarchy and destabilisation of society are a real threat.
To be unemployed, especially to be made redundant, to find oneself suddenly without a job, is a terrifying reality. It often breaks peoples’ spirit. It is certain that it frequently leads to family disruption, loss of dignity, a growing purposelessness and boredom. It can precipitate anger, mental depression and an attitude to contemporary society that is aggressive and negative. This certainly applies to the young who have never found jobs, some of whom are articulate, well educated and prepared to fight for their causes.
The image of society as a body is a strong one and has a long history. Recently a doctor spoke of my infected, painful toe. He will attempt to cure it and until it is working again he will give me pain killers so that I can function and walk. I will not need an amputation of it although if I had one I would still be able to function efficiently. So a part of my body is causing the rest of me, especially my mind, to be anxious and to work below par.
Think now of an unemployed person. He/she is a part of society. They can be dealt with, cared for, by benefits so that they cope and society continues to function well. If they grow in number, in anger, and benefits get beyond the ability of society to provide, trouble brews.
My thesis is that the unemployed affect society deeply. As ever there needs to be treatment of the unemployed on a case by case basis. There needs to be real sensitivity. There must not be generalised condemnation, dismissal and disregard. If they suffer, we all, however subconsciously, suffer also. It is to the mutual benefit of all that we care.
We are told that we are all a pay cheque away from unemployment and two pay cheques away from homelessness. As the great poet John Donne noted “ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”.
John Bittleston adds:
Fr Antony is right in what he says but jobs are now disappearing very fast. Automated clerical procedures, increasingly robotic processes, algorithmic transactions all reduce the need for people. The jobs market is being sustained by employing civil servants but as mentioned in Daily Paradox of 25Apr12 government spending is often unproductive. (http://www.terrificmentors.com/2012/04/productive-and-unproductive-debt/) Watch for a Daily Paradox on this soon.
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