I wanted to share an article that I wrote for an Economics class and later turned into a blog posting. It highlights the debate of unemployment and whether or not it is an issue based solely on the decisions of the individuals it affects. It will also allow you to gain an insight into some of my perspectives on the working world.
This was an interesting piece to explore and was brought to my attention when the teacher quoted a past student.
The students statement was "All unemployed are bums, they're useless, they are just out to milk the system, and they don't really want to work anyway". This was a very bold stance, which lead to an interesting debate.
From the Post : Economics Debate
"All unemployed are bums, they're useless, they are just out to milk the system, and they don't really want to work anyway"
The statement above takes the stance that unemployed individuals trifle through life, and has a negative connotation that gives the impression that they are a waste of time. This statement is bold, irrational and general with no sort of reference or comparison. The word "unemployed" is described in the dictionary as "not currently in use". It does not say that unemployed individuals are useless, or that they are "bums". Rather, this word refers to a current situation, but not a permanent one. The statement stereotypes all unemployed people under a specific class and has not taken into consideration the different aspects of unemployment and the many reasons for it. It is true that in some cases it may be fair to say that certain individuals who choose to be unemployed are lazy or out to "milk the system". But, in a number of circumstances this is simply not accurate. In order to develop an opinion rather than a stereotype, one must first consider the different types of unemployment.
Sometimes individuals are unhappy or dissatisfied with their current job situation. This is when people choose to leave their job position and enter the process of looking for another opportunity. This is generally a short time of unemployment for people as they are actively job seeking. This type of unemployment is known as Frictional Unemployment, or the people who are between jobs. These people are not lazy, but rather are trying to better their lives and find a job position that is more fulfilling or possibly has a better pay. The reasons may vary, but the fact is that these people are looking to get back to work. It is unfair to set a stereotype on these people. Their current work situation may be terrible, or maybe they are not getting the opportunity to use their skills to full potential. To leave a job position is not an easy thing to do, especially if the current economic conditions are not good and there are not as many positions being offered. These individuals should be supported rather than ridiculed for taking a leap and trying to do better for themselves.
There is also something known as Seasonal Unemployment. Certain careers can not take place year round such as agriculture, construction and recreation. No matter how hard of a worker the individual is, at certain times of the year, they become unemployed simply because the work they do can not be preformed. Most of the time, these individuals have become accustomed to saving their money throughout the months in which they are actively working, to support themselves financially in their unemployed season. The fact that these workers have the discipline to save enough money to last them during their off months is something that should be praised. The argument is that they may look lazy because they can go months without having to work, but if they have the money saved up to do so, its simply a lifestyle choice.
Although there are many different types of unemployment, one of the most significant forms is Demand-Deficient Unemployment. When the overall economy is doing poorly, it has a negative correlation with the unemployment rate. When there is a decrease in spending, there will be a direct decrease in employment. In order for employers to be able to hire staff, they must be selling their products and services. If they are not, they have to downsize. Thus, the lack of spending in the economy means that qualified individuals have a notably more difficult time finding employment. Also, those who may have been employed, can face the possibility of being a part of the group of people how are downsized or fired.
The types of unemployment vary, the reasons for it change and the people that this problem affects are diverse. Some people may see the benefit of employment insurance and may be in a situation in which Insurance- Induced Unemployment is a helpful solution for their current situation. Others may be affected by the Natural Rate of Unemployment. This is caused when economic conditions change therefore can not rightfully be blamed on individual person. So, in conclusion, if we choose to stereotype individuals based of the fact that their current situation may list them as "unemployed", that does not give us the right, nor the knowledge to judge them. Whether is be a single mom who collects unemployment insurance as she has to be home to take care of her children, or the father who chooses to take the winter off because he worked all summer in construction. The idea that someone can create such a intolerant view towards unemployed individuals is disheartening and somewhat ignorant. The fact is that there are so many variables to an individual situation, and it is not our place to judge.