Great Myths Of The 21st Century (#1)
Perhaps the greatest urban-myth, perpetrated and perpetuated by those whose interests it serves, is that the unemployed are there-by-choice, and unwilling to work.
Of course, this is absurd and an outright falsehood.
Fact 1: The New Zealand December 2007 Quarter Household Labourforce Survey unemployment stood at 3.4% . This was prior to the global recession hitting NZ.
Fact 2: By the end of 2008, the New Zealand December Quarter Household Labourforce Survey unemployed rose to 4.6%.
Fact 3: The New Zealand December 2010 Quarter Household Labourforce Survey unemployed rate increased to 6.8% .
Fact 4: In three years, the Household Labourforce Survey unemployed doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%
Whether the largest economy on Earth, or one of the smallest, the impact of the global banking crisis and following recession caused companies to collapse; down-size; and “rationalise” (reduce) staff. This caused unemployment to skyrocket.
Events in Wall St, USA, had an impact on Main Sts, New Zealand;
And many more here .
As unemployment increased, the number of job-seekers increased. Even the Prime Minister, John Key, has remarked,
“We’re part of a global environment so we can’t control all of the factors that affect New Zealand, but all the indications we have is that 2011 will be a better year.”
Dozens, and often hundreds of unemployed job-seekers would turn up at businesses, that were hiring staff;
It is apparent that the global recession has caused the demise of some businesses, and forced others to greatly reduce staffing numbers. This is beyond the control of any individual in this country.
So why is there a perception amongst some individuals and groups that the jobless have chosen their unemployment as some kind of “lifestyle choice”? Especially when is it clear that WINZ unemployment benefits are nowhere as generous as some might believe.
Trying to apportion responsibility for people losing their jobs is victim-blaming and is utterly repugnant. Such victim-blaming is an unwelcome aspect of the human capacity for bigotry.
Why do people do it?
* The Opportunists.
It serves the purpose of some political parties such as National and ACT to blame unemployed for their predicament.
It allows National the opportunity to escape any possibility of responsibility at addressing this critical economic and social problem. And it’s a vote-winner with the next group,
* The Greedy.
For many neo-liberals who cherish the ideology of the free-market and minimalist-government, any form of taxation by the State is “theft”. And when the State hands over some of that tax-money to the Unemployed so that they can survive – they resent it. And do they complain bitterly!
These neo-liberal free-marketeers resent having to contribute their fair share to the society they live in. (Though they think nothing of driving on tax-payer funded roads; being cared for in tax-payer funded A&E Hospital Wards; protected by tax-payer funded Police; educated in tax-payer funded schools, etc.)
Greed – it does funny things to peoples’ humanity.
* The Perpetually Angry.
The uninformed, perpetually angry, people who obtain their information through TV news and/or Talkback radio. They have friends,, who know someone who has heard of a person, who apparently lives in luxury on the dole…
These are people who have very little experience of the society they live in and generally have a circle of friends who validate their misconceptions. For them, everyone is a dole-bludger; the recession happened to Someone, Somewhere Else; and everyone should be living comfortably, regardless of circumstances. Their worldview generally doesn’t extend much past their front door.
Anger – it stops people thinking clearly.
Unfortunately, The Greedy and The Perpetually Angry have no constructive solutions to offer us.
One hopes that the National government will reconsider their decision to cut almost $146 million from skills training.
Nor does it help when we export jobs overseas,
So not only are New Zealanders losing their jobs because of corporate greed and mis-management in Wall St, USA – but our current policies actually encourage contracts to be awarded to other countries, in effect “exporting” jobs.
Is this making sense to anyone?
Is it little wonder we have high unemployment, who need the dole to simply survive?
Because demonising a vulnerable group in our society will not achieve a single damn thing; create a single damn job; nor give us the Decent Society that we once enjoyed living in.
So far, my fellow New Zealanders, there is precious little decency going on here.
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For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ Minimum wage @ $15 p/hr
~ Marriage equality
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
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