Tackling Unemployment. Properly.

It is horrible. More than 5 million and hence every fifth person in the EU that is under the age of 25 has no work or apprenticeship. But now the EU is launching an initiative called “Youth on the move” to tackle youth unemployment to find a job and even give youngsters a “guarantee” for a work placement.

On the one hand, there are some really good proposals the EU makes, like establishing a charta for the rights of interns to stop the exploitation of young well-educated people. Another very important step is the critique and demand to abolish discriminating national laws, for example the lower minimum income for youths in the UK.

On the other hand, there are of course also some points that can and should be criticized: The attempt to dedicate the “Youth in action”-programmes only to the aim of employment while totally forgetting about the importance of active participation and citizenship of the youth.

After all, frankly speaking out of the perspective of a youngster, THE real mischief to criticize is that this whole discussion follows a mislead attempt:

This attempt is looking on a certain kind of unemployment to find a solution, in this case the young people’s employment situation, which is simply ignoring that every single day labour is being destroyed by economization. The real problem is the denial of the fact that through the technological progress there is a lot of work made unnecessary. This mistake then creates a need for a bunch of wrong solutions which have been reproduced by a narrow-minded majority of economists and politicians within the past decades:

The consequence taken was the belief keeping the salaries low is the only way to employ (and exploit) more people. But this argumentation, some might call it neoliberal, I prefer to call it stupid, is only working because of the shift of the idea that the economics should serve humanity and not the other way round.

Recognizing that the economics, as a system we built, has to serve us and has to satisfy the people’s needs, one should start to wonder why the elimination of work is such a tragedy. It suddenly wouldn’t have to be an “unemployment crisis” anymore but simply: more free time.

Since 1975, when there was a much better employment situation, there was a decrease of 25% in the amount of work that is available per person. This consequently should lead to the solution that you have to distribute this work in a fair way by reducing the standard weekly hours from the 40 hours week to the 30 hours week.

You think it doesn’t work? It already did: Already in the 1960s politicians noticed that they became able to produce more and more with even less people working. Therefore, to keep full employment, they reduced the standard weekly hours by 4 hours and introduced the 40-hours-week.

Of course, the government has to financially support small and medium enterprises but no big company would be in a financial need because they pay 10% higher wages. Still, the governments could even save money for this because they would save huge costs in the nowadays biggest budgetary post: the social care which mainly goes to unemployed people.

For me the lesson is clear: high loans and wealth are not mainly the consequence of high growth ratios but the consequence of a relatively equal distribution of labour.

P.S.: The author, a 19-year-old German, does know about much more contra-arguments that unfortunately would have bursted this article. Therefore he would be glad to receive and answer some replies, doubts and questions 🙂