Next for Work For The Dole: full taxpayer-funded slavery

Remember in the old days when slaveowners had to at least feed and clothe their human chattels? How quaint. The new, highly-profitable corporate ones won’t even have to do that:

Britain’s jobless young people are being sent to work for supermarkets and budget stores for up to two months for no pay and no guarantee of a job, the Guardian can reveal.

Under the government’s work experience programme young jobseekers are exempted from national minimum wage laws for up to eight weeks and are being offered placements in Tesco, Poundland, Argos, Sainsbury’s and a multitude of other big-name businesses.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says that if jobseekers “express an interest” in an offer of work experience they must continue to work without pay, after a one-week cooling-off period or face having their benefits docked.

Young people have told the Guardian that they are doing up to 30 hours a week of unpaid labour and have to be available from 9am to 10pm.

Work 30 hours a week for 53 pounds from the taxpayer, the benefit of that labour going not to the community but to profitable private companies.

And how much more profitable will these private companies be able to be now they can force staff to work for free (with a minimal amount of food and shelter covered by the taxpayer) or starve!

I hope Tony Abbott is watching. I bet the Business Council of Australia is already drawing up the formal policy, apologising to members that its British colleagues got there first.

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72 responses to “Next for Work For The Dole: full taxpayer-funded slavery

  1. Yes, lets sack our paid staff. That’ll add to the unpaid labour pool

    If this doesn’t ensure that the Libs don’t get in here then people are not listening.

  2. Richard I gave up commenting here but just for you, you’re dreaming. Jeremy’s comments will go over the heads of most here. Most will tell ya this is a great idea. Out of the mouths of babes so to speak. Any true lefties that comment here on occasion have long gone. Good luck.

  3. Hey Richo further to the above.

    I was just doing a bit of tidying up (C.D. Collection) as it happens, when I over heard some poncey speaking peanut from the British government, waxing lyrical on how they’re going to take the medical doctors out of the equation when it comes to signing off workers for more than four weeks. Now dig this, they’re going to put it all in the hands of some occupational and safety panel (The star chamber)

    So in a period of a few hours we’ve gone from slave labour to making the sick and crippled go back to work just after they’ve had a stroke or cardiac arrest. You’d think the Labor government would be making mileage out of each days new shock from Cameron’s Ol Blighty, maybe tell us what awaits us should heaven forbid the smurfs elect Abbott. But oh no, they just might have some goodies of their own waiting to be un-leashed on the mentally challenged…? Strange times indeed.

  4. narcoticmusing

    I get the idea of a ‘work experience’ program, but that should still be paid. Like the grad programs where the person is paid less (but the employer still pays) for experience and generally there is a proper paying job at the end of it.

    What incentive is there for these organisations to not replace their already pathetically paid employees with the work for the dolers? How does this reconcile with the principle that you cannot force a person to work (a long standing principle in law, well out-dating labour laws).

    I get how this shite can be sold to the masses via the hysterical shock jocks, but surely anyone with a brain can do the flow on effect math? Or even the exploitative attitude of these companies math?

  5. Splatterbottom

    Expressions like “Taxpayer funded slavery” encourage righteous hysterics, but contribute nothing to reasoned discussion.

    Could there be any benefit at all to teaching people work skills? Apparently not for the welfare pimps. They do not care to discuss the swathe of destruction created by the burgeoning welfare sector. They should be made live in a blighted urban area to see what they have wrought, how many lives they have destroyed and how they have immiserated entire communities.

    And that is without considering the epidemic of mental illness that has arisen once people realised that the sickness benefit might be applied to people suffereing from stress.

    So here we have a lot of bleating about slavery and no real attempt to deal with the obvious and severe damage cause by welfarism.

  6. narcoticmusing

    SB, work experience is very valuable and that is not disupted. Nor is programs that assist people accessing such work experience. But surely you think a fair wage is reasonable?

    It is also irresponsible to attribute mental illness, including the increasing prevalence of it, were mere stress. Stress, grief, etc these are all normal emotional responses to things and are temporary relating to some event (including ongoing pressures). Mental illness is very real and very serious. Mental illness – like any other medical condition – also does not, generally, preclude a person from working. Indeed, those with mental illness often have to deal with other people who don’t think they should work.

  7. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “But surely you think a fair wage is reasonable?”

    It is much better to pay the dole in return for work than to just pay the dole.

    My point is that sickness benefits encourage people to qualify for them. I don’t think this is a trivial issue.

  8. SB’s comments so typical of rancid wingnuttery. This isn’t about poor ghettos, or what the new right wing pseudo science is saying about what welfare supposedly does to people, it is about their ideology. Simple.

    These are the very same people that denied smoking was bad for you (still do in some quarters in the world of wingnuttery) or that asbestos was killing people.Not to mention the scandal of the cover ups of any research.I guess or those soldiers that came back from the Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan conflict with PTSD should be put straight back to work in a noisy factory some where?

    This is about wingnut ideology nothing else. The only good thing that will come out of all these attacks on the poor, is it will see off Cameron and his coterie of medieval bully boys. The penny has just dropped in the U.K. they have Maggie Thatcher back, by an order of magnitude.

  9. “sickness benefits encourage people to qualify for them….” . What, like corporate welfare encourages multi-billion dollar corporations to qualify for it?

  10. narcoticmusing

    SB, while I don’t dispute that any form of fraud is an issue, you are making an assumption that it is rampant and to an extent that it is harmful. Anyone with any clue how difficult it is for genuinely ill/disabled people to get the disability pension would never say that. That is simply parroting the dole-bludger fiction from ACA et al.

  11. narcoticmusing

    It is much better to pay the dole in return for work than to just pay the dole.

    No, a fair wage is that set by minimum wage standards. The dole is pitifully low as a form of acknowledgement of no requirement beyond the public saying they won’t abandon fellow citizens in need. The right wing version of this is the common view that it should incentivise working. There is no other rationale for the dole being so low.

    If they have to work, on the dole, then that is condoning work below minimum wage. It is also forced labour under threat of economic duress which is a punitive measure no Court would ever apply (eg break a contract to paint a house, the court might order that you get the house painted but they’d never demand you, specifically, paint it). The only time we see physical labour of some form ordered by Courts is criminal sanctions – so to force people to work for free because they are poor is to criminalise them. It is repugnant.

  12. Splatterbottom

    Lynot, I would like to reply to you, but there isn’t one logical proposition in the steaming pile of your comment.

    Exactly, Eric.

    Narcotic, I’m not talking about fraud, although I’m sure that is a problem as well. I am talking about the very significant incentives for people to move to the disability pension. The change in behaviour elicited by such incentives is mostly not fraudulent or even deliberate. It also happens a lot in compo cases where symptoms often persist longer than usual, until after the hearing.

  13. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, paying people the dole for nothing is demeaning them.

    “The right wing version of this is the common view that it should incentivise working. There is no other rationale for the dole being so low.”

    Incentivising people to work is a very good thing indeed.

    Another rationale is the limit imposed by what society can afford to pay. Their are limits to how much the unproductive public sector can extract from the productive private sector.

  14. Could there be any benefit at all to teaching people work skills? Apparently not for the welfare pimps.

    Maybe you didn’t read the article. Wandering around Tescos tidying up shelves isn’t teaching anyone any work skills.

    They do not care to discuss the swathe of destruction created by the burgeoning welfare sector. They should be made live in a blighted urban area to see what they have wrought, how many lives they have destroyed and how they have immiserated entire communities.

    In the sense that these “blighted urban areas” wouldn’t exist if people on the dole were all forced to work for nothing? Non sequitur much?

  15. “Lynot, I would like to reply to you, but there isn’t one logical proposition in the steaming pile of your comment.”

    Sorry ol bean you already have. My steaming pile as you say, is about as logical as anything you might have to say on the matter. Anything in relation to social welfare or anything progressive for that matter, is an anathma to wingnuttery. But the truth hurts doesn’t it?

    You should be congratulated however, not one comment as yet with out a referral to Stalin or Mao well done.

  16. narcoticmusing

    Narcotic, paying people the dole for nothing is demeaning them We don’t. We expect them to be looking for real paying jobs.

    Incentivising people to work is a very good thing indeed. Agreed, but advocating slave labour doesn’t incentivise people to work, it incentivises corporations to fire people that have to be paid to work. It also condones wages below minimum wage – which is considered the lowest amount you can pay for the work these folks are being forced through duress to do.

    Their are limits to how much the unproductive public sector can extract from the productive private sector. Indeed there is. And yet, I don’t see the private sector even almost paying their way. I see tax payers under-writing risk for banks and yet the people who were paid for those risks got bonuses – which should’ve gone to the taxpayer. I see corporations who lose money and the execs still get a bonus. I see a corporate system that the genuine requirement to protect individuals from liability is being exploited to have artificial people that can’t be held to account. We can’t, for example, make Maquarie work at Tesco but we can that dude on the dole.

  17. The mistake you are making, narcotic, is that you aren’t approaching all of life’s problems from the conclusion that Teh Left is the entire problem, and then working back from there. Only when you do that will SB’s crap start making sense.

  18. entire problem = entire cause

  19. narcoticmusing

    I thought booze was the cause (and solution) to all life’s problems?

  20. narcoticmusing

    unproductive public sector can extract from the productive private sector

    Just to get back on topic for a sec – I would argue that the ‘unproductive public sector’ contributes significantly to the productive private sector by being direct and indirect consumers. There are very sound economical arguments for welfare systems beyond just being ‘bleeding hearts’ (although one would hope that a mark of a civilized society would be compassion vis-a-vis advocating slavery).

  21. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, I take it from your use of the term “slave labour” that you are more interested in histrionics than in reasoned discussion.

    “And yet, I don’t see the private sector even almost paying their way.”

    You really don’t get it do you? The private sector pays everybody’s way. It generates wealth. The public sector consumes wealth. Without the private sector the public sector is nothing.

    Buns: “Maybe you didn’t read the article. Wandering around Tescos tidying up shelves isn’t teaching anyone any work skills.”

    For some people learning to show up for work on time is a huge step forward.

    “In the sense that these “blighted urban areas” wouldn’t exist if people on the dole were all forced to work for nothing? Non sequitur much?

    On the contrary, there would be less people on the dole, those who gave something for the money they receive from the rest of us would feel less degraded by the experience and they would spend their time better occupied.

    Lynot: “But the truth hurts doesn’t it?”

    Nothing you have said falls into that category.

  22. What’s so frustrating about observing the ‘debate’ here is that it is literally possible to watch you moving away from an agreement instead of towards one. Welfare is a corrupting influence on some of its recipients, just as 53 pounds for a 30 hour week is an appalling rate of pay for actual work – but instead of finding the common ground we’re all in a race to see who can be the first to reduce any discussion to a slanging match of ideological absolutes.

    “Welfare is evil”, “Work for the dole is evil”, urgh – it’s so pointless!!

    The elevation of ideological over practical is symptomatic of the broader problem facing all political debate. Our pundit class approaches discussions with utterly immutable ideological preconceptions and then simply bunkers down behind them as the debate rages on.

    It’s entertaining, sure – and maybe that’s all that this blogging caper is really about, but we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

  23. Splatterbottom

    Thank you Mondo. I have been trying to elicit a reasonable discussion on this thread with little success.

    The points I have been making should be uncontentious:

    1. There are limits to welfare expenditure.
    2. Paying welfare on its own demeans the recipients.
    3. Using terms like “slavery” to describe work for the dole schemes indicates a lack of seriousness about the issue.

    Before we can move on to discuss alternatives it would be nice to have some recognition that these are serious issues. The discussion of alternatives is more difficult because the problems seem so intractable.

  24. “Nothing you have said falls into that category.”

    Everything I said is the truth thank you very muchly. The only contention here is, whether my comments ref the true character traits of conservatives is related to Jeremy’s article. I believe they are. You squirm and deny because it is the form for conservatives to be not only guided by their own avarice, but be disingenuous in trying to sell their shallow ideology by goobedy gook, un proven pseudo science, or just out right B.S.

    It is true social welfare has its problems, and it will be abused by some. But conservatives would have it canned completely if they thought they could get away with it. Your hero and mentor John Howard more or less said as much when he wanted to put it all in the hands of the charity organisations. Of course S.B. this would have suited you a treat, you and the poor bashing away on your tambourines.

  25. 1. Yes – I agree
    2. In some cases yes, such as the long-term unemployed, but in others the welfare is genuinely necessary due to a real inability to work.
    3. I disagree. Paying people 53 pounds for a 30 hour week is an unacceptable state of affairs. A bit of rhetorical flourish to highlight the social failure that this represents is perfectly reasonable.

    Now some for you:

    1. The private sector could not deliver free and prosperous society without the stabilitising influence of the public sector;
    2. Welfare is necessary to alleviate real suffering and disadvantage in any society; and
    3. Individuals should not receive less than the minimum wage for a week’s actual work.

  26. SB:
    1. Yes. That limit should be that it be set at subsistence level. At the moment it is below that. Training and education should be available, free, and encouraged.
    2. Perhaps, in some cases, but the “stick” you’re supporting here is a far worse problem. There’s already a “carrot” for improvement – living on more than the subsistence level. The problem is that we don’t make it a realistic carrot, by making training and education far too expensive and difficult to access. WftD makes them harder, not easier.
    3. I disagree for the same reason Mondo gives.

    I agree with all three of Mondo’s points.

    To be clear, I think where work for the dole goes wrong is
    - that it introduces the possibility of cutting off someone from welfare, so they, what, starve?
    - that it gives private industry and government a cheap workforce which undercuts those already on the minimum wage.

    Welfare, ie being kept alive at subsistence level, is a right, and it should not ever be possible for the government to rescind it. And the threat of starvation should never be used to obtain cheap labour.

  27. narcoticmusing

    Narcotic, I take it from your use of the term “slave labour” that you are more interested in histrionics than in reasoned discussion

    How then would you define forced labour via duress withotu adequate compensation? Which is what is proposed.

  28. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – people disagree. It is healthy. I don’t think that disagreeing or debate is pointless. I have agreed with many points that others here have raised but have also disagreed.

    SB – I already acknowledged the issues you raised and agreed in part with them but also gave them counterparts. You are yet to address/acknowledge the matter of law that economic duress is illegal force and that is the mechanism being used to force people to work – the courts say it is a counter to slavery. I am not being hysterical. I am making comparisons to Court orders because this is being forced upon people usign law. Specific performance is the closest comparison to forcing a person to work. A Court will not order specific performance where it a) would create undue hardship on the person or b) it would force that actual individual to labour. (There are of course other reasons but these are the two relevant ones). The rationale behind this is that the Court cannot order and thus endorse forced labour EVEN IF the party is compensated.

    This policy is not even wanting to provide fair/adequate compensation. It is bad enough if a person was forced to labour and then got compensation afterwards pro rata. But to force labour without adequate compensation is indeed slavery. Why? Becuase you have removed thier liberty and choice. The policy uses economic duress – which vitiates all consent. Consider, that to threaten a person that you’ll fire them if they don’t have sex with you is rape. And yet, the Government can threaten to remove all income unless the person does X and that is not a wrong?

  29. Splatterbottom

    Mondo: “A bit of rhetorical flourish to highlight the social failure that this represents is perfectly reasonable.”

    Rhetorical flourish has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years. But calling work for the dole slavery is stupid and spiteful. It is term a pampered western twat might use but it is not helpful and not accurate.

    Just for the record, slavery is a condition where a human being is property of another and can be treated in any way that other chooses. Further the children of slaves are also slaves and property of the slave-owner.

    To use the term once in a thread may be rhetorical flourish. To use it repeatedly is mind-numbingly stupid and demeaning of actual victims of slavery.

    “The private sector could not deliver free and prosperous society without the stabilitising influence of the public sector”

    True. I’m a pragmatist not an ideologue. I’m interested in balance and ameliorating the negative effects of welfare dependence.

    “Welfare is necessary to alleviate real suffering and disadvantage in any society”

    True: See above, and note their are limits to welfare – for example Greece.

    “Individuals should not receive less than the minimum wage for a week’s actual work.”

    Disagree with that as far as work for the dole schemes go.

    Jeremy:

    “To be clear, I think where work for the dole goes wrong is
    - that it introduces the possibility of cutting off someone from welfare, so they, what, starve?
    - that it gives private industry and government a cheap workforce which undercuts those already on the minimum wage.”

    First point: so what? Work or starve is a fair choice.

    Second point is valid, and needs to be considered carefully so that any work for the dole scheme doesn’t impact the employment market unduly. We need to weigh up the costs of not having work for the dole schemes with their detrimental effect on markets.

    But there needs to be a recognition that creating a welfare-dependent underclass destroys many of lives.

    Narcotic try logic. Work for the dole schemes aren’t “forced” in the same sense that slavery is. They are optional. On your view all employment is slavery.

  30. jordanrastrick

    How then would you define forced labour via duress withotu adequate compensation? Which is what is proposed

    Slavery is not work for inadequate compensation, it is work for zero compensation, beyond the minimal food and shelter costs required to keep slaves alive. And cutting off welfare is not duress in the sense that it is understood in this context – i.e. outright fraud, physical coercion, actual violence etc used to prevent people exercising any choice at all not to work. Indeed, if lack of access to an adequate social safety net when unable to work constitutes slavery, a clear majority of the world’s population are slaves.

    The British scheme is absurd, but it is not literal slavery, and to contend that it is (as opposed to using the phrasing as a “rhetorical flourish” ala Mondo) is wrong and diminishes the plight of the world’s estimated 27 million actual slaves.

  31. The points I have been making should be uncontentious

    How often have I thought this! Every point I ever made should be uncontentious, particularly if – as I strongly believe – I am smarter than everyone else. Certainly, to the extent that my points need to or could possibly do this, they gain strength from my self-serving declaration that they are uncontentious.

    1. There are limits to welfare expenditure.

    What do you have in mind, specifically? I’m confident that you’re not suggesting a time limit, so you must mean something else. And you probably don’t mean to imply the amount of the dole payment is too high, given (as Jeremy has pointed out) it is already below subsistence level.

  32. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “that economic duress is illegal force and that is the mechanism being used to force people to work – the courts say it is a counter to slavery.”

    I go to work every day under economic duress. That is why people work – so that they get money. No work, no money.

    “Specific performance is the closest comparison to forcing a person to work.”

    This is completely irrelevant. There is no suggestion that a court would order a person to work for the dole.

    “But to force labour without adequate compensation is indeed slavery. Why? Becuase you have removed thier liberty and choice.”

    If it is about liberty and choice, what has adequate compensation got to do with it?

  33. jordanrastrick

    On mondo’s point 3, its worth noting that the marginal income from the scheme ends up below the minimum wage, which is absurd from a. But the UK government is not paying people less than minimum wage in total benefits; there are other payments for things like rent.

    True: See above, and note their are limits to welfare – for example Greece.

    Greece’s problems are way more complex than just “too much welfare”, and in fact EU countries with higher government taxation and spending levels are on average in better financial shape. Rates of tax collection in Greece are appallingly low – there are more registered Porche Cayennes than people declaring an income over 55,000 Euros – and in some areas public sector wages are absurdly high (which is only “welfare” in the most tangential sense.)

  34. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “What do you have in mind, specifically? I’m confident that you’re not suggesting a time limit, so you must mean something else. And you probably don’t mean to imply the amount of the dole payment is too high, given (as Jeremy has pointed out) it is already below subsistence level.”

    The statement of mine you quoted wasn’t about the dole. Why not address the actual point I made. The private sector generates the wealth that the public sector spends. That’s where the limit comes in. It is exacerbated when the consequences of public sector spending diminish the ability of the private sector to generate wealth. Getting the balance wrong means that the country is fucked, like Greece.

  35. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “in some areas public sector wages are absurdly high (which is only “welfare” in the most tangential sense.)”

    That is actually a serious problem. Grads these days can get jobs in the public service which pay very well, have much better super and benefits than private industry and require shorter and more flexible hours at work. This is a huge drain on the talent pool open to the private sector.

  36. narcoticmusing

    Slavery is not work for inadequate compensation, it is work for zero compensation, beyond the minimal food and shelter costs required to keep slaves alive.
    The dole is only enough to give minimal food and shelter (and often not even that).

    Just for the record, slavery is a condition where a human being is property of another and can be treated in any way that other chooses. Further the children of slaves are also slaves and property of the slave-owner.
    I concede that this is the traditional, western understanding of slavery. Nevertheless, Courts have acknowledged that any labour forced by duress – including economic duress- is so close to slavery that it ought not be permitted.

    Jordan, I am surprised you do not comprehend economic duress. It is in the same category of duress where a person is being forced to give up a right. For example, telling a person you’ll punch them if they do not shut up -that choice is one rights violation for another. It is not a real choice. So if they shut up, you have violated their right to free speech because they didn’t consent to silence, they responded to your threat. Economic duress IS a recognised category of duress, comparable to threat of violence. Not to be confused for not getting a reward. For example, it is not rape if you bargain to sleep with someone to get a promotion. It is rape if they threaten your job if you don’t sleep with them. Economic duress.

    Hopefully that example will clear up the difference. I am surprised people here do not understand the concept – it is well recognised by the Courts and in legislation. This policy is threatening the subsistance money for work; it is not offering a trade off. This is a deprivation of liberty. Deprivations of liberty can be compensated and often are – consider a person suing for damages for false arrest.

    SB it is pretty disingenous to lecture me about how slavery is so much worse that this scheme and then pretend you don’t understand economic duress (I am assuming you do, apologies if you do not) and then go on to belittle it by saying all employment is such. Economic duress is very real and very harmful.

  37. Work or starve is a fair choice.

    Well, that sums up where the right is coming from: they are comfortable with people starving if they won’t do what they’re told.

    I disagree with that position.

    I don’t think that’s a good result for society.

    You’re looking at a huge increase in crime, in children in poverty, in violence… it should never be “give McDonalds your labour for a pittance or die”. That’s unacceptable.

  38. narcoticmusing

    This is a huge drain on the talent pool open to the private sector.
    Are you suggesting that Government should have idiots at the helm? Wages start ok, but level out very quickly with little chance /opportunity for promotions. Indeed, most public servants work in the public service early and are then poached by the private sector. Why doesn’t the private sector do what its mantra is: compete. Job security is why people work for government, not the wages. Oh, that is right, the private sector hates competing. They prefer protection and from whom do they lobby and get that protection, bail outs, risk backing etc? That’s right, the public.

    Welfare wasn’t the biggest problem in Greece (although i do agree it was an issue). Inadequate taxation and tax enforcement was the first issue in Greece – combineed with the MASSIVE fraud on the public by, you guessed it, the PRIVATE SECTOR.

  39. narcoticmusing

    I disagree with that position.

    I’m with you Mr J.

  40. The statement of mine you quoted wasn’t about the dole. Why not address the actual point I made.

    It wasn’t at all clear what point you were making, so I sought to clarify. When you talk about “welfare”, expect people to think you mean “social security”.

    The private sector generates the wealth that the public sector spends. That’s where the limit comes in. It is exacerbated when the consequences of public sector spending diminish the ability of the private sector to generate wealth. Getting the balance wrong means that the country is fucked, like Greece.

    Our economy is nowhere near “fucked”. In fact, it is going really well. So we probably don’t need to discuss the possible solutions to a problem that we don’t remotely have.

  41. You’re looking at a huge increase in crime, in children in poverty, in violence… it should never be “give McDonalds your labour for a pittance or die”. That’s unacceptable.

    Luckily, none of it in the suburbs in which the likes of SB live, though. Presumably, the logic is you deserve to starve and die if for whatever reason you don’t choose working for McDonalds for a pittance over having your dole severed. You wouldn’t waste any sympathy on scum like that. Besides, you’ll be too busy feeling pleased with yourself for having cracked down on some nasty dole bludgers and saved the state a few measly bucks to feel any sympathy, or to think about the flow-on costs of such a policy (to our criminal justice and child protection systems etc).

  42. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “Well, that sums up where the right is coming from: they are comfortable with people starving if they won’t do what they’re told.”

    You are over-generalising and missing the point.

    The question is whether people are better off getting money for nothing, or whether it would be better if they were required to do something in return?

    Inducing people who have not worked in a while to work is good for them, both in terms of their own self-respect and in terms of socialising them into work and learning other skills.

    Further, the “Obama Stash” mentality is wrong. Making the dole a two-way street helps break this down.

    And there is the greater problem of permanent welfare dependence where a sizeable chunk of the population relies on welfare as its main source of income.

    Narcotic: “Are you suggesting that Government should have idiots at the helm?”

    It does. Just look at the PM and the “world’s greatest treasurer, not to mention politicians that the PM has complete confidence in like unionist grub Craig Thomson.

    “Indeed, most public servants work in the public service early and are then poached by the private sector.”

    The new ploy is to have it both ways – teach the private sector how to deal with government or get even more money consulting back to the government. There is plenty of money to be made providing services to the government. Ask Mrs Rudd.

    “the private sector hates competing”

    They do. They’d much rather make lots of money almost any other way than by competing. But competing to pay higher wages than the government is a lose-lose situation.

    Greece’s problem is that it spent more than it collected in tax. That is why German’s are working to 67 to pay Greeks to retire at 55. Also Greece has little industry. Welfare has completely crowded out the private sector. We will have that problem once mining declines.

    Buns: “Our economy is nowhere near “fucked”. In fact, it is going really well. So we probably don’t need to discuss the possible solutions to a problem that we don’t remotely have.”

    It might even survive the government’s best efforts to fuck it up with the carbon tax and the MRRT and letting the unions off the leash. But, look around the world. Things are not so rosy. When the mining industry that sustains us has a slump, things will be much worse. More to the point welfare dependence is a problem in itself.

    That is the real issue. Welfarism is fucking up people’s lives. You may not give a toss, but I think we can do better for them and consequently for society overall.

  43. “You are over-generalising and missing the point.

    The question is whether people are better off getting money for nothing, or whether it would be better if they were required to do something in return?”

    No, you’re missing the point. The question is if we should be punishing anyone by making them starve. Note that people who commit crimes still get fed and sheltered (although not very well).

    Starvation and death should NEVER be the consequence of any government policy. Whether it’s trying to make some kind of point about self-sufficiency or not.

    People are certainly better off getting money for nothing THAN DYING.

    “Inducing people who have not worked in a while to work is good for them, both in terms of their own self-respect and in terms of socialising them into work and learning other skills.”

    We do that by keeping NewStart at subsistence level (although right now it’s below subsistence level and should be raised). We’d do it better if we provided better education and training opportunities.

    “And there is the greater problem of permanent welfare dependence where a sizeable chunk of the population relies on welfare as its main source of income.”

    Another reason to have one single education system in which all kids are educated together, the children of the rich and the poor, the children of the employed and the children of the unemployed, so you don’t have the next generation in a ghetto of hopelessness and bad examples.

    One other thing you’re forgetting – we do not have full employment. There are not enough jobs for the people who want them.

  44. The question is whether people are better off getting money for nothing, or whether it would be better if they were required to do something in return?

    Then the next question is how do you “require” people to do something in return, other than by cutting off their payments. To which the answer is you can’t – the plan is to cut off their payments.

    And then the next question is whether continuing their payments costs us less than the additional costs to society that will flow from there being a significant bunch of people at the very bottom with no payments coming in. Because unless you are so out of touch that you think every single person on the dole is going to be up to complying with WftD obligations on an indefinite ongoing basis (in which case I conclude with absolute certainty that, unlike Jeremy and I, you have little or no experience dealing with such people), then you need to factor into your brilliant scheme those costs – more homelessness, more crime, more children being removed by DHS because their parents can no longer feed them, more domestic violence. You may not give a toss about this, though.

    People aren’t unemployed because they don’t have important work skills like tidying shelves at Tescos or because nobody yet thought to get them off their fat, lazy arses by threatening them with financial oblivion. There simply isn’t enough jobs for everyone. There will always be unemployed people, and they will always need money from the government to live. Get over it. Right now, we have 5% unemployment. That’s low.

  45. I’m sure Tony Abbott is taking notes for the good old ‘war-on-welfare’ that will no doubt be revived in the absence of any constructive policies.

  46. “That is the real issue. Welfarism is fucking up people’s lives. You may not give a toss, but I think we can do better for them and consequently for society overall.”

    A little bit Zyklon B mayhaps..?

  47. narcoticmusing

    Narcotic: “Are you suggesting that Government should have idiots at the helm?”

    It does. Just look at the PM and the “world’s greatest treasurer, not to mention politicians that the PM has complete confidence in like unionist grub Craig Thomson.

    Politicians are not the public servants that the private sector are competing with. The public sector don’t get paid better, they just have more secure employment.

    Thank you for providing even more evidence for the mining super profits tax – the boom will end and those resources should be compensating generations of Australians, not multinational coporations. Yet another example of the private sector not paying its way.

    Additionally, if you look at non-mining states, such as Victoria, I think you’ll find that their GDP is disproportionate to states like WA when you exclude mining revenue. States like NSW and Vic subsidised WA for decades, it is about time they subsidise Vic/NSW

  48. narcoticmusing

    That is the real issue. Welfarism is fucking up people’s lives. You may not give a toss, but I think we can do better for them and consequently for society overall.

    And your solution is forced labour below any of the legislated minimum compensation regimes such that it not only places those people in a situation of economic duress but also risks all those employees who have to be paid actual wages. Sounds like a doer!

  49. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “No, you’re missing the point. The question is if we should be punishing anyone by making them starve. Note that people who commit crimes still get fed and sheltered (although not very well).

    Starvation and death should NEVER be the consequence of any government policy. Whether it’s trying to make some kind of point about self-sufficiency or not.

    People are certainly better off getting money for nothing THAN DYING.”

    Don’t be so hysterical – no one is starving, much less dying.

    “One other thing you’re forgetting – we do not have full employment. There are not enough jobs for the people who want them.”

    That is largely due to the constriction of the labour market by IR regulation and payroll tax. The government can change that anytime they want to. The trouble is that unions would rather keep their power and perks than to have a system that allows everyone to work.

    Buns: “Then the next question is how do you “require” people to do something in return, other than by cutting off their payments. To which the answer is you can’t – the plan is to cut off their payments.”

    That’s is exactly right. I face the same problem every day – if I stop working I stop getting paid.

    “you need to factor into your brilliant scheme those costs – more homelessness, more crime, more children being removed by DHS because their parents can no longer feed them, more domestic violence. You may not give a toss about this, though.”

    Most of that comes from welfare ghettos. Why not stop to consider whether welfare and the mentality it breeds is part of the problem?

    Narcotic: “The public sector don’t get paid better, they just have more secure employment.”

    Sadly, more and more ambitious young people are making the economically rational decision to pursue a career in the public service where in less than three years from the grad intake you can be earning $90+k p.a. with 15% super for 35 hours a week and have yet another degree paid for by the government. That is way better than what most grads can expect in the private sector. I have no doubt they work hard and provide good service to the government, but the point is that this is a mis-allocation of resources away from the productive sector of the economy.

    “the boom will end and those resources should be compensating generations of Australians, not multinational coporations. Yet another example of the private sector not paying its way.”

    The mining industry generates billions a year in taxes for the government to squander. We already have a system where the owners of the resources (the states) collect royalties for the exploitation of their resources and where the federal government takes 30% of their profits. But the green-eyed profligate rent-seekers want more. There is no limit to the amount their fevered minds would be satisfied with.

    We need to be putting part of this wealth away for the future, but this rotten incompetent government wants to raid the Future Fund.

    This whole political game is to create a welfare-addicted constituency who will vote Labor. What we need is a society of free property-owning citizens who support themselves so government can be restricted. The only good government is a small one.

    And what is it with your obsession with “economic duress”. That is what get’s most people out of bed in the morning.

  50. narcoticmusing

    public service where in less than three years from the grad intake you can be earning $90+k p.a. with 15% super for 35 hours a week and have yet another degree paid for by the government.

    Ok, that is pure BS unless the person is utterly brilliant and/or a specialist (in which they’d get WAY more in the private sector). In Victoria, for example, $90k pa means you are a VPS 5 and that means you do seriously more than the normal 8hrs per day required and it is unpaid. This is the sort of BS you hear from some tosser who ‘knows some guy in the public service who said…’ Well, I am happy to correct you.

    What is your obsession with pretending economic duress isn’t real and diminishing the plight of victims. Economic duress is illegal and considered an infringement on consent, even in contract law, so you may want to correct your thinking there SB. You don’t honestly think it is the same thing as you working for your wages do you? If so, I am not going to continue to try to re-educate you as you are unwilling to look at a very REAL and legally recognised scenario.

  51. narcoticmusing

    PS – I agree we should be putting a proportion of $ away and not touching the future fund

  52. Most of that comes from welfare ghettos. Why not stop to consider whether welfare and the mentality it breeds is part of the problem?

    Why not stop pretending to have any insight into things you are obviously ignorant about?

  53. “Why not stop pretending to have any insight into things you are obviously ignorant about?”

    SB the personification of know all. I don’t know who is worse SB or a certain bearded know all. Just ask him I guess. Why do you keep hiding behind a veneer of respectability SB you are a RWDB just admit it. I’m a commie I wear the badge proudly.

    But of course I was a self employed, hirer of other labour, successful business man.Its odds on you’re probably a clerk in a vacume cleaner warehouse. SB you just can’t compute that can you?

  54. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “This is the sort of BS you hear from some tosser who ‘knows some guy in the public service who said…’”

    I am not that. My source is impeccable and typical of their cohort. Sadly you have resorted to assumption and denigration.

    “Economic duress is illegal”

    Don’t be silly. If you had a clue about the law you would not make such a sweeping statement which is plainly not true in the circumstances we are discussing. In fact as a general proposition it is not true.

    Lynot: “I don’t know who is worse SB or a certain bearded know all.”

    I’ll take that comparison with Philip Adams as a complement.

  55. “The government can change that anytime they want to.”

    If achieving full employment is so easy, why didn’t the Liberals do it during the 12 years they were in power? Too beholden to the unions?

    “Most of that comes from welfare ghettos.”

    That’s right. Before the horrors of the welfare ghetto, there was no crime, domestic violence or homelessness.

    “I’ll take that comparison with Philip Adams as a complement.”

    You can be quite amusing sometimes SB :)

  56. narcoticmusing

    I am not that. My source is impeccable and typical of their cohort. Sadly you have resorted to assumption and denigration

    Nope – I just think you should know that your source is bullshitting you and you bought it. Having worked in senior positions in the public service I know for a fact your friend has very much distorted the truth. There are certainly people that are dead weight in the public service, but it would be very rare and extreme to find a person as you described.

    SB – are you sure? Please refer, for example, to Musumeci v Winadell (NSW); Wiliams v Roffey (UK) for contracts. For criminal cases, have a look at what constitutes a threat of ‘harm’ which vitiates consent pursuant to s36(b) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). Just a couple examples off the top of my head where threat of economic harm/duress/coercion (Ie a threat that you will lose your job etc) vitiates any form of consent to the action (eg signing/agreeing to a contract or performing an act). Threat of economic harm is also one of the justifications for legislation such as the Terrorism statutes. It could also be considered in the context of undue influence, in that the weaker party relies on govt (I’m heavily simplifying). Poverty is also considered a ‘special disability’ according to the Australian High Court, such that there is no reasonable equality between the parties and it would be unconscionable to enforce this sort of action (again I’m oversimplifying).

    It is, in my view, separate to the possible legal implications, unconscionable to threaten a person’s subsistence to force them to work. I support job experience programs, but not such that there is no quid pro quo as this demeans the worker as they are only working under duress/threat of harm and it risks jobs that have to be fully paid for – all for profit.

  57. Why not stop to consider whether welfare and the mentality it breeds is part of the problem?

    I too am concerned about the mentality that is bred by the existence of welfare. However, the mentality that concerns me is that of people like SB, who appear to want to blame everything on welfare.

  58. narcoticmusing

    Returnedman – I agree. The ‘mentality that is bred’ by welfare isn’t as destructive or concerning as a mentality that says “Work or starve is a fair choice.”

  59. ” I’ll take that comparison with Philip Adams as a complement. ”

    How quaint SB a wingnut with a sense of humour, or is that delusions of grandeur? Or as opposed to the normal situation, a sense of their own self importance. There’s hope for humanity yet.

    And still no reference to Stalin or Mao, bravo SB, bravo.

  60. narcoticmusing

    Lynot, I seek your wisdom on this, but would it be arguably more communist to have the government determine a job for someone with only subsistence as a wage, vs say, requiring quid pro quo (a capitalist, property/bargain idea)?

  61. “Lynot, I seek your wisdom on this,”

    Wisdom is not required on this issue only compassion. The article by Jeremy needs no further expansion. If we don’t look after our less fortunate citizens they will just take what they want. We will be required to spend on jails and further policing measures what we would have spent on social welfare. If there was no other opportunity to look after my family I would steal the crown jewels with a clear conscience.

    In my case it is not bad enough the capitalists want to spend my hard earned taxes on their faux wars and bailing out their relatives visa vie John Howard’s relation with corporate welfare, they want to deny me a safety net should I now fall on hard times.

    But to your question. No. The government of the day should be allowed to redistribute wealth as it sees fit. My type of communal communism still believes contrary to what wing nuts believe, in the will of the people.

  62. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “I just think you should know that your source is bullshitting you and you bought it.”

    That statement is personally insulting and flat out wrong. Look at the salary range for an EL1 in the Commonwealth public service.

    “There are certainly people that are dead weight in the public service”

    I have said nothing about anyone in the public service being dead-weight. The people I know work hard and are both talented and ambitious. The reason there is economic mis-allocation away from the private sector is that the public service pays too well. The consequence is that the unproductive part of the economy attracts talent when the country would be better served if more of these ambitious and talented people worked in the private sector which ultimately funds everything.

    As to you gross over-generalisation that “economic duress is illegal” all I can do is repeat what I said above that that is: “a sweeping statement which is plainly not true in the circumstances we are discussing. In fact as a general proposition it is not true.”

    As to the propriety of requiring a quid pro quo for a hand-out, I understand your argument but totally fail to see your point. This is a question of basic fairness. If you are going to take money from the rest of society you should be prepared to do something in exchange.

    In the case Jeremy linked to, the work experience program was voluntary and led to permanent jobs for two out of the three workers concerned after their 8 week placement. Seems like a good scheme to me.

    RM: “the mentality that concerns me is that of people like SB, who appear to want to blame everything on welfare.”

    Your premise is untrue. This explains why your conclusion is idiotic.

    The real problem is with those who cannot see problems with the current welfare system other than that it pays out too little apparently.

  63. narcoticmusing

    That statement is personally insulting and flat out wrong. Look at the salary range for an EL1 in the Commonwealth public service.

    I do not mean to insult you – but it is not wrong. SB, you need to accept the possibility that you and/or your friend are grossly exaggerating the situation in order to make a point (although the point becomes wrong the moment you stop exaggerating).

    Do you know what an EL1 is? I do. I have worked with and for many. It is not a tenured public servant. It is an executive. They are directors (also called Senior managers and Executive officers depending on the jurisdiction/department). They report to executive directors (or equivalent titles such as Dep Secs) who report to the Department Secretary. It is the sort of person who can get dragged up to Senate Estimates and get publicly grilled. They are above managers. So a private sector comparison would be a bank exec – and they’d have to take a pretty substantial pay cut to become a Public executive. An executive in the public service, much like in the private, has very long hours – not the low hours you quoted.

    Man, I was only talking about a VPS5 – but an Executive is several ranks above the VPS5-equivalent in the Cth public service. EL1 – is the equivalent of EO-1 in the VPS, who is above the VPS6-2; who is above VPS6; who is above VPS 5. A VPS5 is considered a senior public servant that should be able to represent Government/the department and be autonomous – so your example is many, many ranks above someone it would take many years and many degrees to get to.

    Again, you are either being deceptive by trying to quote a job type you hope people here don’t understand, or, you are genuinely ignorant and legitimately don’t understand. Please stop asserting this BS if you don’t get it, and/or stop being deceptive.

  64. narcoticmusing

    This is a question of basic fairness.
    I agree. A fair wage for fair work done. Period.

  65. SB you really are something else! Talk about dissect/analyse/pasteurise/philosophise/platoize/ and as a large dose of sophistry. Just say it man, I don’t believe in social welfare.

    You could add, I would like to see Australia governed by a panel of over paid over bloated CEO’S and get rid of democracy all together.

    Once you have put your No 10 in it and people have sussed you out it’s now Pope SB Jesus H Christ you really are that shallow you could parachute out of a snakes arse.

  66. Again, you are either being deceptive by trying to quote a job type you hope people here don’t understand, or, you are genuinely ignorant and legitimately don’t understand. Please stop asserting this BS if you don’t get it, and/or stop being deceptive.

    Quite right, narcotic, although you are being far too charitable. Notice how we quickly went from talking about someone 3 years out of Uni to an EL1? Move the goalposts much? Don’t waste your time. It’s either trolling or this person is living in fantasyland. I tip the former.

  67. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “you are either being deceptive by trying to quote a job type or, you are genuinely ignorant and legitimately don’t understand. “

    Neither. Why are you so insistent that I have got this wrong? I am not going to do anything to identify people. This is as much as I will tell you:

    1. In In January 2009 a Commonwealth Department had a grad intake of 18. After training they became APS4′s.

    2. Apart form the two I know very well. I’ve been to two parties with most of the group. They were quite close early on, although they are now moving away from each other.

    3. I know two of them very well as in see them regularly, have them stay with me two or three times a year when they come to Sydney, correspond with them and talk to them on the phone regularly.

    4. In one case I have reviewed and commented on their initial job application and subsequent applications for promotions.

    5. They are all double or single degree. They were strikingly impressive in that they were smart, hard-working and very focused on their careers.

    6. I was in the kitchen of one of them 3 weeks ago talking work and career to her and her friend from another department who was also three years out and an EL 1.

    7. One of those is an EL1, the other an APS 6. The EL1 has also had a month as Acting EL 2. She was not the first EL1 of her cohort, but she got there after 2.5 years. Four others of the cohort are EL 1.

    8. By way of comparison the better graduates in the private sector would be lucky to be on $90k after three years, would work up to twice the hours, and have less super and other benefits.

    9. The grad intake have made an economically rational decision, and therein lies the potential for crowding out the private sector.

    Buns: “Notice how we quickly went from talking about someone 3 years out of Uni to an EL1?”

    Same person.

  68. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “Notice how we quickly went from talking about someone 3 years out of Uni to an EL1?”

    Same person. And not all that unusual in their cohort.

    Narcotic, I commented on the application for employment and each application for promotion along the way. I’ve met most of that grad intake and had some of them stay at my house, and discussed their careers with them. Three weekends ago I spoke across the kitchen table to someone from a different department who was an EL1 after three years.(I wrote a more detailed reply but WordPress ate it).

  69. narcoticmusing

    Fair enough SB, but I would still argue those are exceptions and not the rule. I have worked in and for the public service and employed grads – they are not even close to being capable of such positions.

    Again, apologies for my poor choice of words.

  70. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic my comment comes from my experience with a group of 18 grads who were recruited to the APS in Jan 2009. These are a talented group – either single or double degree and focused and engaging to talk to. They have made an economically rational decision. By way of comparison the better graduates in the private sector would be lucky to be on $90k after three years, would work up to twice the hours, and have less super and other benefits.

    I am happy that the government has access to the best grads, but also concerned that this depletes the private sector, which was my point.

  71. narcoticmusing

    While I don’t doubt the example you cite is true, I won’t go into my experience, SB, other than to say that what you describe still sounds to me to be the exception and not the rule, particularly the hours – the hours written in the job description are minimums and like with private corps you’ll find they have to work far, far longer hours than what the position described. Very few 5s, particularly those in the running to be a 6 and later and EO, work standard hours.

    How many of those 18 were EL1s within 3 years? Or was that just the promise? Or was it a specific ‘leadership’ recruitment program? I ask because it is very exceptional from my and my collegues experience from the perspective of many different public services (ie different jurisdictions including NSW, Vic, Cth, UK, Canada, and US).

  72. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, there are three EL1s and another four or five permanently acting as EL1. At least one of the EL1s has just had a month as acting EL2, and is keen to go hard now her Masters course is finished. Some of the stragglers are still 4s and a couple have moved on. The rest are in between.

    That is about what I would expect from a similar cohort joining a private sector professional firm – some differentiation with the good ones standing out.

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