Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two Thoughts On Unemployment

1. Mass unemployment is caused by governmental and corporate policies and actions. It is social in origin and is never the fault of its victims, the now-jobless workers. Yet, that is precisely how the unemployed are treated by the authorities. They are forced to search for work and to engage in job-finding classes if they wish to collect unemployment insurance – for the minority fortunate enough to qualify. People who refuse are punished by having their meager benefits cut off. They did not cause the problem, but, in practice, they get the blame. Examine the logic behind it by this analogy. I assault you, yet the police don't arrest me, they arrest you. What happens to the unemployed in our system is a form of sociopathic inversion, where the perpetrator of a heinous crime blames his victim for what he did. Meanwhile, the guilty parties – the CEO's and politicians – still get their high salaries and perks. Those who caused the problem ought to be the ones to rectify it. They should be the ones finding you a job, and if they can't find one, pay you an income until they do.

Thing is, every unemployed person grumbles about their situation, yet no one seems ready to pin the blame where it ought to go. During our previous big economic crisis in the 1980's, groups organized unemployed workers. But they concentrated on helping the unemployed combat the Unemployment Insurance bureaucracy, certainly a worthy act, but shied away from directly confronting the system. Hopefully the situation will be different this time around.

2. It has always angered me that whenever an industry closes in a small town the locals are expected to pull up stakes and move elsewhere to find work. How about the work coming to them instead? Now many people will regard this as a ludicrous question, and the fact that they do, shows the great extent to which people are expected to serve the economy rather than the economy serving them. What is an economy really for anyway, but to provide people with necessary goods and services? An economy is a means to fulfill needs, not a end in itself, or rather it ought to be so, if a society is supposed to exist for human beings.

Uprooting masses of people and forcing them to follow the dollar destroys community. It is natural to live among people you know, it is natural to have roots. This is the way we lived for thousands of years, and only under capitalism have we been forced to scurry from place to place like lemmings. Peasants and First Nations peoples would rather die than give up the places where their ancestors lived. In small towns across the "developed" world some of this sentiment still lingers in the sadness of leaving.

The destruction of community brings with it a host of costly social problems not factored into the economic calculations of the MBA and state bureaucrat. And when the migrants flood into the new boom towns, they bring their problems with them, as well as putting stress on housing, public services and infrastructure. All totaled, it probably is not that more expensive to leave people where they are and start new industries to employ them. Of course, we would need a new kind of economy – one based upon need and solidarity rather than the greed and lust for domination of a handful of narcissists and sociopaths.


Blogger mollymew said...

Hi larry,
Very good post. Mind if I reproduce it over at Molly's Blog ?

5:04 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Thanks, Molly, For sure reproduce it...

6:21 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

You raised something that I never raised before politically. The idea of even though you lost your job, as a natural result of retrenchment, you are the blame, and need more schooling.

When the Chicago occupied the factory, and it was inspired by the factory occupations in South America, leads to the program: A factory closed is a factory occupied.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

Wonderful, and I can relate. I've had on and off again work for going on the last half year.

10:44 PM  

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