Better the dole than a dud job?

The discussion below is an interesting example of selective attention to the evidence by Leftists. A conservative writer replies quite well but I think just one point is needed to reveal the Leftist obfuscation:

I don't think anyone likes working in a dumb or grim job and many people resign from such jobs -- often becoming welfare dependent as a result of that. It is that basic fact that Leftists have latched onto here and here and here. They conclude from that fact that unemployment can be desirable. They conclude that being in a dumb job can be worse for your sense of wellbeing than being unemployed. And that may well be true in some cases.

What the Leftists "overlook" is that dumb jobs are very commonly just a first step on the occupational ladder. You have to crawl before you can walk and in your first job you will almost certainly be assigned the most routine work available. If you use that time to familiarize yourself with the organization's activities and show a willingness to work, however, you have a good chance of being given more rewarding work later on.

So the Leftists see only a static picture where what they are looking at is really a dynamic, changing situation -- and they therefore draw totally wrong conclusions. They fail to see that even routine work can be better than the dole because it puts you on the employment ladder. Being on the dole will get you nowhere

Now I guess many of us think we could be Managing Director of BHP-Billiton, but most of us accept that we might have to start at the bottom and work our way up.

But according to Stephen Long, ABC’s Economics Correspondent, talking about the government’s ‘tough’ welfare to work measures:
But the other side is there is an assumption in all the discussion around this from the Government and just about everybody that somehow this is a universally good thing, that any job is better than no job and we will be giving these people the dignity of work, the dignity of labour.

Now there is a whole body of medical research and other research that actually says that pushing people into low wage, insecure jobs that can often be quite oppressive and give people little control can actually undermine their health and well being.

Now I’m not absolutely sure what body of medical and other research Long is referring to, but here’s a tip – the main findings of the research are as follows:

Unemployment has an unambiguously negative effect on health, particularly mental health;

The unemployed have lower levels of life satisfaction than those with a job (check out the HILDA results, Stephen);

A fair proportion (at least 50 per cent) who have a low paid job in period one have a better job in periods 2, 3, 4, etc. (again check out HILDA) – that is, low paid jobs are not necessarily ‘dead end’.

The research to which Long may be referring compares those in jobs with considerable control and autonomy with those in jobs without those characteristics and, not surprisingly, people feel better about the former.

Having said this, the HILDA survey suggests that long hours – which are a correlate of more senior jobs – does not lead to higher life satisfaction overall. So the jobs may provide personal control but come at the cost of long hours.

The government is on the right track in emphasising the dignity of work.


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