Unemployment

The term ‘unemployment’ does not do justice to the evil that resides in the concept. It’s one of those words that has been euphemistically employed by governments to make its true import more anodyne, just as ‘collateral damage’ or ‘defence’ has.

I speak from personal experience. In the recession of the early nineties I was made redundant from a job in the creative industries. As it happened, at the same time, I had a band that I played in and wanted to promote so I was kept busy doing that during my period of unemployment. Interestingly, the elements of running a band – writing songs, performing them, organising rehearsals, getting gigs, producing promotional material, producing product, getting training etc. are exactly the same elements used to run any business. Only the names are different. And so when the band folded (you can only run a loss making venture for so long) I had all the necessary skills to run a small business and I have been self employed ever since.

However, I saw and experienced enough of unemployment to understand how corrosive it is and if I were the head of a government I would make it my top priority to make sure as much of society was as gainfully employed as possible, for both their sakes and mine.

The ineluctable facts are these;

  • The human body is designed to move. Without exercise, the body atrophies.
  • The human mind is designed to think. Without thinking the mind stupefies.
  • The human being is designed to be social. Without community the human being becomes renegade.

Unemployment incorporates all of these unnatural states. Without identity, status, stimulus, appreciation and satisfaction in physical labour a human being will seek these things out in whatever form it can; drugs, gangs, criminal activity, violence. If it can’t find them then it will settle for substitutes – self harm, drugs, stupefaction or suicide. Not so much unemployment as radicalisation or termination.

You want proof. Here’s the story of the day. An oil tanker with two million barrels of oil on board has been commandeered by Somalian pirates. Somalia is virtually a lawless country without a government. The pirates are largely unemployed traditional fishermen who have organised themselves. They became unemployed after illegal industrial trawlers fished their seas dry. They saw these trawlers come into their waters and take what they wanted with impunity. Now what is a healthy mind and body to think when its livelihood is suddenly taken away?

“Hey, if they can do that to our fish, why can’t we just do that with their trawlers? Let’s just help ourselves. Wait a minute, why stop at trawlers?”

Governments beware of high unemployment. Here’s another scenario; “Those greedy banking bastards just took all my life savings, and they’re still rich… why don’t I just take it back..?

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