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Links 1 through 6 of 6 by Shaun Green tagged unemployment

For if paid work, a commodity whose stock increases as it becomes more scarce, is the ultimate guarantor of respectability in English culture - this is a truism - it is so to the extent that unemployment and poverty are associated with a social demonology, an image of criminal violence, uncultured hedonism, and savagery. So, embedded in respectability is an image of an ideal life, part of whose appeal is that it is clearly demarcated from the dissolute lives of those whom people now call, without embarrassment, 'the underclass'.

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We have a choice: Americans can continue to accept large-scale unemployment as “natural” and permanent, even -- a truly grotesque development -- as a basic feature on a bipartisan road to “recovery” via austerity. Or we can follow the lead of the jobless young in the Arab Spring and of protestors beginning to demonstrate en masse in Europe. Even the newly minted proletarians of Ventura, California, sleeping in their cars, may decide that they have had enough of a political and economic order of things so bankrupt it can find no use for them at any price.

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The fact that the overwhelming majority of economists in policy positions failed to see the signs of this disaster coming, and supported the policies that brought it on, did not seem to be a major concern for most of the economists at the convention. Instead, they seemed more intent on finding ways in which they could get ordinary workers to accept lower pay and reduced public benefits in the years ahead. This would lead to better outcomes in their models.

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Centuries ago, when ordinary men and women first began to dream of political suffrage, a radical theory surfaced whereby people without property or assets had as much right to a living as anybody else. Thomas Paine wrote in 1795 that every citizen should expect a minimum income as compensation for the "loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property." That notion has this week been utterly abandoned by the British administration.

Tomorrow, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions will announce a new "contract" with the poor. Those receiving the miniscule and dwindling stipend that the government grants anyone without means to support themselves in these straitened times may be required to toil for the state, for free, or face being shoved off benefits.

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Not every generation gets the politics it deserves.  When baby boomer journalists and politicians talk about engaging with youth politics, what they generally mean is engaging with a caucus of energetic, compliant under-25s who are willing to give their time for free to causes led by grown ups.

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"Amid the slaughter in Gaza, and the opposition to it, this may seem like an odd issue to raise. Fantastic mobilisations have occurred in response to Operation Cast Lead. But how on earth can one 'resist' a recession? Surely it is a force over which we have precious little control, almost a force of nature?"

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