Creation of Reserve Army of Very Cheap Labour the Aim
The paper Activation Policies in Ireland presented by the OECD to today ‘s ESRI Conference in Dublin strongly implies that benefits should be cut for the unemployed. The thrust of the paper tends to put the blame for high unemployment on the unemployed rather than on the economic crisis that generates joblessness.
The OECD document states: ‘In general labour market outcomes reflect characteristics of the labour market [eg. the level of the dole], and not only the scale of the demand shock,banking crisis, exports etc.
“Further the OECD use the following example: “Example 2: In early 1990s Finland and Japan both suffered a dramatic asset price bust and banking crisis, but unemployment rose to 17% in Finland and to 4% in Japan:Finland has generous benefits – unemployment at 17% generated little social hardship Japan provides no benefit coverage of long-term unemployment”.
In Ireland far from being ‘generous’ as frequently stated in sections of the media, the dole provides for mere survival in a country which boasts prices among the highest in the world. Cuts in unemployment benefits would pauperise the tens of thousands of newly unemployed.
The aim of those calling for cuts in unemployment payments is very clear – the creation of a reserve army of labour living in such straitened circumstances that it is forced to work for exploitation wages. This is more than the creation of an exploiters’ charter.
Hammering the living standards of both workers and the unemployed is, in fact, the recipe of the economic and political stablishments for allowing market capitalism to crawl out of the chasm where it now is as a result of its own workings. This is the meaning of the policies of the Fianna Fail/Green Party Government with the active participation of most of the media.
The government is greatly mistaken if it believes that hundreds of thousands of unemployed will not fight back against the injustice of swingeing cuts in unemployment payments added to the shock of unemployment.