Column Unemployed people already feel they have no worth without being called

admin rlzoys , , , ,

first_img‘FIND A JOB you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life’ goes the cliché. Sayings become clichés because they express something that we all accept without thinking. What do we accept in this glib phrase? Basically, that humans find their worth and happiness in work – something ordinary people accept, but also a foundational assumption of much psychology, economics and sociology.Now, apply the saying to job-seekers. By definition, these individuals have not found a job they love, and therefore, they work every day in their lives. Seriously. Every day is a drag: empty hours, pointless leisure, killing time. The effort of job-seeking is constant, and increasingly enforced by the government’s Pathways to Work policy, which monitors, cajoles, re-trains and can cut social welfare payments to below the minimum standard for a decent life. Until 2013, €186 euro was considered the minimum cost of sustaining life – a baseline for survival; but recently this ‘luxury’ has been discarded.Before we explore the actual experience of unemployment in any greater detail, let’s definitively clear one thing up; most people receiving the dole are not ‘spongers’. This can be statistically proven – only around 30,000 people were long-term unemployed in 2006. And many of these may have had good reason, for instance, parents who could not afford childcare. 30,000 is less than a tenth of those currently unemployed; anyone blaming the unemployed for unemployment is 90 per cent wrong. However, the issues go far beyond statistics and economics. The experience of unemployment has serious consequences that cannot be measured on an abacus.Work equals worthIn previous eras, there were other ways of measuring individual worth, like good character, social connections or religious piety. The contemporary world values people in terms of work. We are raised in a culture which respects work and eventually espouse these values ourselves, whether we realise it or not; and the value we place on work is visible in the vitriol vented against ‘spongers’, in pubs, homes and cafés, at the end of this article no doubt, and even by those who are currently unemployed.Work benefits us in five ways: Firstly, it gives a person status as a competent, responsible and active contributor to the economy. Secondly, it provides financial rewards, comforts and pleasures which are not distributed to all equally but dependent on the value of one’s work. Thirdly, work gives a structure and meaning to everyday life, marking work as valued toil and leisure as deserved relaxation. Fourthly, work provides social networks of people united in a collective task who respect each other’s position and contribution. Fifthly, work provides a sense of collective purpose – even the most menial job is part of the doughty little Irish economy which, supposedly, will revive and lift us from the current mire.Unemployment deprives individuals of these five elements, which causes psychological suffering: unemployed people have twice the average rate of depression and are two to three times more likely to die by suicide, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Even if employment resumes after long term unemployment mental health is still impaired for years or even decades. These consequences cost the state in terms of missed ‘man-hours’ or the state expenditure in palliating these problems. More importantly, the suffering of the unemployed, and collective and political lack of sympathy, is a stain on the nation.How it feelsWhat does unemployment feel like? Firstly, one lacks status – at best you can say that you ‘used to be’ something or other, or have trained to be something, but essentially, you are not this thing. Those with other roles in their lives beyond a career – like being a parent or an artist – tend to feel better.Secondly, the financial rewards are meagre, leading to food poverty and a low quality of life. Moreover, the few comforts which €188 a week will afford are experienced as guilty pleasures – undeserved and begrudged.Thirdly, one’s days are a mixture of the interminable work of job-seeking and killing time, so that each day is a burden of hours which must be passed in activities which have no worth. Doing nothing is religious for Buddhist monks, but for the hundreds of thousands in Ireland who used to work, it is a meaningless limbo.Fourthly, unemployment leads to social isolation – even though there are more opportunities to socialise, being made redundant often leads to a retreat from society, the withering of workplace networks and a decline in hobby and voluntary activities.Fifthly, an unemployed person is defined in the media and the popular imagination as a drain on the resources of the state, and often subjected to surveillance and suspicion by the Department of Social protection.Rethinking work and unemploymentUnemployment is not just an economic problem to which jobs are the solution. Rather, how society thinks about work and leisure has to change. Plainly, the environment cannot support seven billion people behaving like Celtic Tiger cubs. Eventually, sustainability must be more important than productivity. Globally it makes sense to produce less and consume less, which ultimately means to work less.Much environmental and social depredation occurs simply to support the frenetic world of work. For instance, the production of fast-food and ready-meals pollutes more and creates more obesity, but would be unnecessary in a world where people worked less. Employment laws which decreased the length of the working week and enforced quadruple remuneration for over-time would lead to more people working for shorter time. And – for those who only count the bottom line – this would also lead to a reduction in costly state services, associated with problems from obesity to public order.Such measures would reduce the actual numbers of unemployment but more importantly shift the values, so that work would not equal worth. Instead, it becomes possible to respect people for their character, interests or beliefs – for who they are, not what they do.Tom Boland lectures in Sociology at Waterford Institute of Technology and is co-ordinator of the Waterford Unemployment Experiences Research Collaborative. To read more articles by Tom for click here. Read: ESRI predicts economic growth and fall in unemployment in 2013>Read: Another dip in live register figures but unemployment rate unchanged>last_img

You May Also Like..

CBRE’s 2020 earnings down 8%

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic. (CBRE, Getty) “Asset-light” is the buzzword trending in the flex-office space — and at CBRE, too.Bob Sulentic, the commercial real estate giant’s CEO, said that was a big factor in CBRE’s decision to buy a 35 percent stake in the flex-office provider Industrious.“They have an asset-light model. That means that they provide flex space as a service,” Sulentic said on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Tuesday. “They are not taking long-term leases and then turning around and doing short-term leases with occupiers.”Earlier this week, CBRE announced it paid about $200 million to purchase the stake in Industrious, valuing the company at more than $600 million ahead of a potential IPO later this year.When it comes to future M&A deals for service companies, Sulentic said CBRE will eye other platforms that similarly are not very capital-intensive.“We’re mostly pretty asset-light. And I’m going to say it again, one of the things we like so much about Industrious: very asset-light,” he said.As for CBRE’s performance, the company posted earnings for the fourth quarter of $753 million, an increase of 9 percent over the same period last year. Earnings for 2020 ended up at $1.89 billion, down more than 8 percent from 2019.During the call, Sulentic also touched on CBRE’s $350 million SPAC, which he said is targeting companies in areas like construction services, smart buildings and data centers.“We’re very differently situated than most SPAC sponsors,” he said. “We’re not really thought of as a financial sponsor. We’re thought of as a strategic sponsor, and the way the SPAC is financially structured — where our upside comes only when the company that we would ‘de-SPAC’ grows in value — speaks to our confidence that we can find a target partner and help them grow their business.”Contact Rich Bockmann Email Address* Message*center_img Full Name* Tags Housing MarketResidential Real Estatelast_img

Extensive dissolution of live pteropods in the Southern Ocean

first_imgThe carbonate chemistry of the surface ocean is rapidlychanging with ocean acidification, a result of human activities. In the upper layers of the Southern Ocean, aragonite—a metastable form of calcium carbonate with rapid dissolution kinetics—may become undersaturated by 2050 (ref. 2). Aragonite undersaturation is likely to affect aragonite-shelled organisms, which can dominate surface water communities in polar regions. Here we present analyses of specimens of the pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica that were extracted live from the Southern Ocean early in 2008. We sampled from the top 200m of the water column, where aragonite saturation levels were around 1, as upwelled deep water is mixed with surface water containing anthropogenic CO2. Comparing the shell structure with samples from aragonite-supersaturated regions elsewhere under a scanning electron microscope, we found severe levels of shell dissolution in the undersaturated region alone. According to laboratory incubations of intact samples with a range of aragonite saturation levels, eight days of incubation in aragonite saturation levels of 0.94–1.12 produces equivalent levels of dissolution. As deep-water upwelling and CO2 absorption by surface waters is likely to increase as a result of human activities2,4, we conclude that upper ocean regions where aragonite-shelled organisms are affected by dissolution are likely to expand.last_img

Ice melt influence on summertime net community production along the Western Antarctic Peninsula

first_imgThe Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is a highly productive marine environment that is undergoing rapid change, with consequences for productivity and total ecosystem carbon cycling. We present continuous underway O2/Ar estimates of net community production (NCPO2Ar) in austral summer 2012, 2013 and 2014 at sub-kilometer horizontal resolution within the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research (Pal-LTER) grid region of the WAP. Substantial spatial variability is observed with NCPO2Ar ranging from 0 to 790 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 and considerable interannual variability with mean values in the grid region of 54.4±48.5, 44.6±40.5, and 85.6±75.9 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. Based on a strong correlation (r2=0.83) between residence time integrated NCPO2Ar and NCPDIC derived from seasonal DIC drawdown, we find the observed NCPO2Ar spatial and interannual variability to be consistent with the December–January NCPDIC magnitude. Seeking to explain the mechanistic drivers of NCP in the WAP, we observe a linear relationship between NCPO2Ar and meteoric water content derived from δ18O and salinity. This correlation may be due to Fe supply from glacial melt and/or strengthening of stratification and relief of light limitation. Elevated surface Fe availability, as indicated by Fv/Fm and measurements of surface water dissolved Fe and Mn (a rough proxy for recent potential Fe availability), and shallower, more stable mixed layers are present where meteoric water and/or sea ice melt is high near the coast. Light limitation is evident in the WAP when mixed layer depths are greater than ~40 m. Additionally we document hotspots of NCP associated with submarine canyons along the WAP. While it is difficult to predict how the physical-biological system might evolve under changing climatic conditions, it is evident that NCP, and potentially carbon flux out of the mixed layer, along the WAP will be sensitive to shifts in meltwater input and timing.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *