Chapter 23 » 23.67

The individual and the community

Work and economic affairs

We can neither deny nor ignore the fact that our self-respect and our sense of being useful are closely bound up with the ability to hold down a job. Unemployment not only results in a lowering of living standards, it also induces a feeling of insecurity, of being unwanted, that we no longer have a place in the community. The fear of unemployment causes more unhappiness and does more to lower self-confidence than any other element in life. The sense of security, so necessary to inner well-being, will never be sustained by a welfare system or any society which ignores these facts. Any percentage rate of unemployment can never be other than an index of human misery and desperate uncertainty; this applies not only to the unemployed persons but to their dependants also. Thus any economic system which possesses an inbuilt tendency to reduce human involvement in its day-to-day engagements is both unnatural and unkind.

George Clarke, 1973

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