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Unemployed better off in work report: How many times does this have to be restated? June 16, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.

Is the thought that comes to mind when reading the following on RTÉ this morning:

The Economic and Social Research Institute study found that eight out of ten jobseekers would earn at least 40% more in work than from benefits, while six out of ten would see their incomes at least doubled.

This is news? There have been other similar reports over the years of crisis and all point to muchy the same conclusion. But, for there must be a but:

However, the report found that there are some families for whom the gap between in-work and out-of-work incomes is small.

Perhaps so – no great surprise there though a small gap is not no gap at all. Not a word either about how low incomes are.

It raises other questions, as to the embedded nature of the trope that some/a significant tranche/many are better of on welfare than working? Why is that believed, what odd comfort does it bring to some?


1. ewolc - June 16, 2015

“It raises other questions, as to the embedded nature of the trope that some/a significant tranche/many are better of on welfare than working? Why is that believed, what odd comfort does it bring to some?”

It allows for the continuation of the line, more prevalent on the internet (boards.ie and politics.ie) than in real life, that the majority of unemployed people are unemployed by choice. As opposed to other structural issues at play or who have become dispirited and have effectively given up.

That being said with the continuous rise of precarious work (including it has to be said jobbridge) it would perhaps be useful for someone to research whether people are better off on welfare or in these jobs, it is also worthwhile pointing out that for many precarious workers welfare is needed to supplement their income.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - June 16, 2015

Completely agree and one other psychological aspect is to draw upon your point it allows for hierarchies ie however bad my job it’s better than those without work. But all that said and I take your point re it being h a vocal minority who hold it it is fascinating how so much data to the contrary is ignored … Though those unwilling to accepf thd reality of climate change come to mind. 😦


2. An Cathaoirleach - June 16, 2015

The ESRI has produced a similar analysis in recent years as part of the annual Budget Perspectives Conference, which this year will be held tomorrow 17/6/15. A review of Social Welfare is just one of the papers to be given. If I remember correctly, Dr. Philip O’Connell, now of UCD did the initial research, which has been subsequently updated by other researchers.

The full paper is available on the ESRI’s website http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/BP201602.pdf.


WorldbyStorm - June 16, 2015

Thanks for the link AC. Handy.


3. plutodewdrop - June 16, 2015

The study can act as a decent rebuttal to the right. However, it is my experience that people on social welfare themselves believe that they would be better off staying in social welfare not necessarily because they believe the right wing propaganda.

I also wonder if the fact that for some individuals going to work would be better is wholly artificially constructed (example the penal rates for those under25) is taken into account in this study.

Take 2 individuals: one a father of 4, the other a single 20 year old, both jobseekers allowance bothe get minium wage jobs. The father if 4 is only marginally better off by the continuation of some form of social welfare such as FIS while the u25 has doubled his income but in real terms are they ‘better off’?

I think in the coming years the battle on social welfare will be to make it benefit the working class rather than the capitalist class in the face of increasing automation and precarious low paid jobs.

This means not falling into the neoliberal trap of valorising work. Much better to try create the conditions where working class can choose to drop out of wage slavery altogether. Effectively the social democratic “right to work” is dead, its time for a “right to be lazy”.


WorldbyStorm - June 16, 2015

Andre Gorz had some thoughts on more or less that ‘right to be lazy’ back in the day. I’m all for a complete restructuring and it is genuinely weird and disturbing to hear some very orthodox voices in economics coming around to what you say re automation and how that will change working or non working lives.


4. dublinstreams - June 17, 2015

The earlier one was specifically undertaken to calculate the add-on costs of working, including travel to and from work and, crucially, childcare. The study published this week focuses purely on the benefits versus likely wages calculation http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/are-the-unemployed-better-off-staying-on-the-dole-1.2251305


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