Saturday, September 11, 2010


This caught my eye.

'Shameless' generation grows as seven million now live in households where no one works

A fifth of Britons live in households where nobody works, according to official figures.

They reveal that almost four million households contain no one who has a job – meaning more than seven million under-65s live without any experience of employment.

In some parts of the country almost a quarter of households are workless. In the past year alone a further 148,000 have been added to the grim statistic.

.....They also reveal that 1.9million children live in homes where no one works – fuelling fears that the benefits culture will be passed from one generation to the next.

The last line made me laugh. Who could have predicted that children with parents who were never required to do anything for their own support would follow the same path? [Note: That is sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell.]

This is a cautionary tale. No matter how well intentioned programs may be, when institutions provide that which the individual or family ought to provide, negative outcomes are inevitable.

For example, look at how literacy has declined since the rise of compulsory schooling.


Fatcat said...

Do you know where I could look up those literacy figures? I'd like to look at those!

Janine Cate said...

Here's one sources that I looked at while I was working on this post. This is information from NAAL:

After completion, this massive assessment revealed that only thirteen percent of American adults are proficiently literate, most of whom hold a college degree, while the majority merely have intermediate literacy skills. However, the population of adults with basic or below basic skills total forty-three percent according to NAAL research, which is far higher than those with proficient skills. In fact, the term "functionally illiterate" is frequently used to describe the estimated twenty percent of adults in the US who cannot perform basic tasks involving printed materials.

Fatcat said...


abba12 said...

In australia our system is biult around social services, there is no choosing not to take government assistance if it's available, the cost of living is just too high here while the employers take government handouts into consideration when setting wages, just as in america hospitality employers take tips into consideration. Low income families recieve a 'tax benefit' each week for each child, and growing up every family I knew was a 'low income' family, My husband was, I've never known any different, and my husband and I will probably be forced to claim it once our first little one arrives next year, because our economy is structured around it and it's very hard to break out of that. Bachelors aren't the affluent men with money that they seem to be in other countries, many of them struggle to get by, so using the same amount to support a family is near impossible, unless you're one of those special people that managed to get a high paying job, but I actually do not know anyone personally who is high income, perhaps class is still strong here?

We don't have a range of choices of different finance levels, one for low income, one for middle income, one for high income, etc, not in food, or rent, or anything else. The rent for a unit in the dangerous, grotty areas of town is not all that much less than the rent for a unit in a nice spot, and the difference in price between a unit and a house is really not much either. Everyone pays about the same amount whether they are middle income, or low income with support payments (high income families do have a few 'rich suburbs' they live in though)

However our government has done a good thing with welfare for the unemployed. Even though a large amount of households do claim some sort of assistance, we could never have one in 5 households not working at all. The amount of money you recieve on welfare is too small for anyone to live on, it won't even pay rent unless you are sharing costs, so as a general rule the only dole bludgers are single 20-somethings, 90% of people claiming it over the age of 30 are legitimately looking for work. To deal with the under 30s, the younger crowd is forced into study to claim the payment hehe. The government makes a problem when they give people a replacment wage, instead of a support payment.

Still, the ecconomy is trapped in a cycle no one really sees a way out of without throwing the average aussie, who is low income, into severe poverty. This is what you don't want to happen in america.

Janine Cate said...

Wow. I had no idea things were so bad down under. How awful to be perpetually dependent upon the government. Soul crushing.

Crimson Wife said...

I'd like to know whether the statistic includes those who are temporarily unemployed. In this economy, I know a bunch of hard-working families who suffered the unfortunate experience of double unemployment.

My cousin and his wife were one last year. First, the auto dealership where he worked eliminated his sales position because hardly anyone was buying cars. Then a few months later, his wife got laid off by the bank where she worked. They aggressively looked for new jobs but there was so much competition that it took several months for her to find a new job. And he never did find anything so he eventually decided to return to school to train in a different field.

There's a difference between households experiencing temporary double unemployment, and households where the situation goes on for long periods of time.

Henry Cate said...

Currently the government doesn't consider people unemployed if:

1) They stop applying for unemployment benefits
2) Or if they are underemployeed

I think there are other ways people stop getting counted.

A friend of mine likes Shadow Government Statistics which claims that if you were using the same approach to the numbers they used decades ago the unemployment rate is really in the 22% range.