Select Page

Things have changed. Successive governments have seen to that.

Once upon a time, you knew where you stood. You got laid off: you were out of work, on the dole.

With the current government so hell-bent on keeping you off the unemployment register, you have new choices. You can join the “gig” economy. You go off statistics altogether. You can “retire”. You can become a student building up ever larger debts. You can even go self-employed. Or, of course, you can inherit a large estate if you are lucky in your choice of parents.

Either way, the government can maintain a victory by pointing to the ever-declining job numbers on the official statistics and you can go and join the black economy, or just sit miserably at home waiting for the next time your gig gang-master calls you. It’s a long way from the wonderful idea that as businesses were more successful, so this would free up leisure time and people can spend their spare time virtuously educating themselves and behaving in a civilised way – something like the way Norway runs itself.

So, it seems there is no point in complaining. You are employed!

But is this “employment” really all about.
It’s part of the transfer of responsibility away from the employer and on to the employee. It’s point? To maximise the return and employer can make out of an employee.

The new technique, it seems, is to make sure you are paid the minimum the employer can get away with while it loftily assumes the air of the one that got the contract to begin with. If you take Uber as an example, the employee must work entirely to the rules the company has created, without having any employee rights. In a return to Victorian values, it seems you are to be paid so little, you are permanently depressed, but not quite depressed enough to end it all.

If you look at the world in Darwinian terms, there are a lot of us living at the level of a work or some crawling creature. If we stay still enough, we may just be able to breath, but heaven help us if we want to do anything more than exist.

It seems that companies are endlessly inventive in terms of the rush to the bottom to avoid paying anyone but themselves huge amounts of money (yes, I know Uber still loses bucket loads of money, but that is another reason for emphasising that this sort of business model is unsustainable – in so many ways). The trouble is, the world knows we are addicted to things, to the credit we need to purchase them and to using these to keep us on the never ending treadmill of work regardless of whether it is meaningful or well- enough paid to sustain us.

As for Government, it simply sees its role in propping this up. The rush to the bottom looks set to continue for some time.