The importance of youth employment
At this critical moment in the history of mankind. I would like to ask attention for an important condition for world peace, namely that every child, regardless of where it is born in the world, is entitled to follow an educational program of excellent quality followed by a steady job. There should be a society in which work for everyone forms a basic right.
I agree with the anthropologist Jason Hickel who states that our addiction to economic growth is killing us and who makes a case for “planned de-growth” as a solution to Global Inequality. Further he writes that if capitalism is going to be globalised, it makes sense to globalise the rules and standards that protect people from it as well. There is an obvious solution; a global minimum wage in stead of structural exploitation of minority groups in society. The global wage gap is a major driver of inequality between poor countries and rich countries at the moment. Through the mechanism of international trade, the wage gap also actively produces inequality.
The Egyptian economist Samir Amin – a well-known critic of neocolialism- first articulated in the 1970s that if we look at the labour that goes into producing goods for trade between south and north, we see that workers in the south are paid much less than their northern counter parts. In other words, the north effectively siphons uncompensated value out of the south- it buys cheap and sells dear.
When it comes to global warming, Jason Hickel writes in his article “to deal with climate change we need a new financial system”, we know that the real problem is not just fossil fuels- it is the logic of endless growth that is built into our economic system. If we don’t keep the global economy growing by at least 3 % per year, it plunges into crisis. This growth is however not possible when we refuse to trespass the limits of our finite planet and damage the monetary interests of millions of people as well as refusing them the right to work and play a significant role on the labour market. We must put our planet and ourselves at risk to make profits, accepting results like deforestation, desertification and mass extinction with species dying at an alarming rate. To end this tragedy and redesign the global economy within the principles of ecology we should stop using economic growth as a measure of a healthy society.
Not only a system based on making profit instead of focussing on the welfare of the people, has a destructive effect on our nature, it also influences the social environment of people in a negative way. Youth facing long-term unemployment are more than two times as likely as their peers to believe they have nothing to live for at a rate of 21 percent, finds a report released by the UK-based youth charity Prince’s trust. Forty per cent of jobless young people have faces symptoms of mental illness- including suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing an panic attacks- as a direct result of unemployment. “Unemployment is proven to cause devastating, long-lasting mental health problems among young people,” said Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust.
The chronic anxiety about the future and the necessity to work based on temporary contracts which do not provide security, takes its toll from young people. Some of them cannot handle the stress of an existence without regularity and structure. They escape into drugs and alcohol and live a meaningless existence in the margin of the society. Another part expresses its frustrations by using meaningless violence and vandalism. And yet another group of young people seeks its salvation by participating in an extreme, radical group with terrorist aims. These young women and men have hardly any perspective on the labour market and need to identity themselves by joining a group that offers them clarity, even when this clarity means that they must die for a higher purpose. The terrorist organization offers them a steady income, mutual solidarity and an ideology to fight and live for. These elements that offer hope and perspective, are missing tragically in the lifes of many unemployed young people. Finding a loophole in a subculture, however violent and (self)destructive it may be, can be more attractive for these young men and women than facing the grey reality of a life without work and subsequently missing a future perspective.
Not only does a lack of work as a fulfilling daylight activity cause a lack of regularity and daily structure as well as a blockage in the development of the adolescent, but it also affects factors such as self-esteem and assertiveness in a negative way, for an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty is literally threatening these children of the future day and night. Also on other life areas than education and work, young people experience a lack of control as a result of the current impasse on the international job market. In their fragile situation, they do not dare to plan a family or to buy a house, because they do not have sufficient financial security to build on.
In the case of illness they receive no payment from the employer and when they stand up for their rights, they are easily dismissed from the job and exchanged for another worker. Because there is always someone willing to work for even less money in even worse working conditions.
In the light of this background, it is understandable that a small part of the young people is sensitive to be included in, for example, a sect that provides them a sense of security and protection in terms of offering them an ideology and a daily routine or is even willing to participate in a terrorist organization with the same characteristics.
In order to prevent that this lack of stability and balance in the living and working situation of young people threatens world peace as well as the future of the planet, it is absolutely necessary to apply the basic principle of equality and guarantee a solid job for all young people in the world.
Jason Hickel presents basis income as part of strategy of planned de-growth which will increase human well-being and happiness while reducing out economic footprint, as we can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet. The evidence of this argument should be clear by aspects like climate change, deforestation and rapid rates of extinction. Also the psychological damage caused by the current economic system in which making profits is more valuable than caring for the people is significantly high. When this means that people can no longer be incredibly rich and banks cannot flourish by a substantial number of clients in debts, then this is a result we must face in order to save our planet and the inhabitants, plants and animals living on it.