|Red pen about to start circling the Job Opportunities in the paper|
Last year I attended the Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture and this time it was all about full employment, and delivered by Professor (of Economics) Paul Dalziel who has been doing a whole heap of research on the matter at Lincoln.
One of the key ideas he talked about, from Jesson's writings, was that when the welfare state was established in Aotearoa New Zealand, all those decades ago, it was set up to work in complementary fashion with full employment. This muddled along ok, with direct state job creation in lean times and state support for private job creation in the good, until the two concepts were separated under Rogernomics and thoroughly divorced during Ruthanasia.
Nowadays apparently some people think that not only is it Not Cool for us to collectively support each other in the hard times through a welfare system, it's also totally naff to even consider any Government planning to ensure we have career pathways and actual jobs; so that we can get the things made that we need, access the services we require, and also be employed in ways that work for modern life.
Sadly many of the people who hold this view, that Government's role is severely limited and The Market Will Provide, are currently in positions of power in our society. In particular they seem to populate Cabinet, and those who don't have Ministerial chairs to sit in appear to be given taskforce and directorship and whatnot roles by their mates who do.
It's awfully convenient, to blame people for being reliant on a state benefit AND blame them for the inability to get a job that suits the way their lives have to be lived. It let's the Government totally off the hook. What a coincidence.
Let's not forget that the type of work you need when you are the sole parent of a child, whatever the reason for that, or struggling with your own ill health or that of another in your household, is not 9-5 (plus travel) Monday to Friday away from home and with only 5 days of sick leave a year. We have a huge shortage of affordable quality childcare - and not just for pre-schoolers but crucially for before and after school too (and during the school holidays). Sure a child may be at school from 9am to 3pm, once they turn 5, but how many jobs do you know of that go from 9.30am to 2.30pm in four convenient ten week blocks a year? Teacher aide jobs would sound ideal, except that there is a lot of competition for these and the pay is ridiculously low for the level of skill and responsibility often required.
We don't have enough jobs that meet these needs already. Creating a whole new phalanx of people who need these jobs, in a time when casualisation is increasing and job cuts just keep coming, will suit employers just fine, as it will make prospective employees desperate. Desperate to get a job, desperate to keep a job, and that is an incredibly vulnerable place to be in, as a worker and as a human being.
Do we actually want to make people more vulnerable than they already are? Why?