Freeloading society

Meet Grady, 25 years old. Fed up with life and of the way things are going. He works as maintenance staff at the airport. One day that he's pissed off at the whole world, he sabotages a key part of a plane engine in a way that makes it certain to crash at landing next time it takes to the air. And it's scheduled to fly tomorrow with 400 passengers on board. Damn his evil mind!

The next day, the plane is picked for a test flight as part of random quality control procedures. A chance of one in a hundred. The plane does crash at landing, killing the 3 crew members.

Now meet Greta, 25 years old. She's got a degree as sound engineer, but the glum market on that particular sector has left her jobless for 5 years. Not 100% of course, she took a shitjob here and there, but otherwise, she's been relying heavily on government support. She rents a tiny flat, half paid by a government aid, the other half by her government "survival allowance" of 400€ a month. And she's really good at making the most of those 400€.

She isn't exactly hunting jobs every waking hour, and she wakes up around 3pm every day. She has plenty of free time so she goes out a lot, to cheap places. She even managed to save up some money for a month-long trip to Mexico. All paid by the government. Damn freeloader!

Now, meet Gregor, 25 years old. He's driving on a sort of boulevard and there's a market on the sidewalks. That's all he remembers when he wakes up at the emergency ward, where a nurse tells him he had a seizure while driving and crashed his car. The shock was mercifully absorbed by the 3 people he ran over and killed. Damn SUVs!

And to finish, meet Grace, the famous heiress of the Rottenshit family. According to the latest interview in Bimbo magazine, she just loves her new Ferrari, and she bought a driving license just for it. She's never worked of course, why would she? Her daddy owns one of the top five hotel chains in the world. She costs her family the GDP of a 3rd world country. Damn, I wish I was her!

Now, there is a little matrix of links between those stories. The four of them are the cause of something unfortunate for their surrounding: the two girls are unproductive people draining society, the two boys are responsible for the death of others. In addition to that, Gregor and Greta (note that the first vowel is a E, for easier future reference) are more or less unwillingly carried along by events they don't have a grab onto, while Grady and Grace (Wow, first vowel is a A!) are actors of their own destinies. How can we disentangle that mesh into a meaningful figure?

Let's start with the boys. Take Grady and Gregor, both their actions lead to the violent death of 3 innocent people. Same result. However, one is accidental, the other is intentional. On the girls front, it's the same-ish. While Greta lives at the expense of society, she actually wishes she had a job. Grace on the other hand would rather die than work. But effectively, she lives at the expense of her family.

So, in both gender groups, we have similar results, with widely differing intentions leading to those results: the E group is unwilling, the A group is active.

As an advanced (lol) society, we must judge intentions, not results. And, indeed, most people will agree that Gregor should not go to prison for the death of the people he unwillingly killed and most people will agree that Grady should hang to the highest branch of the tallest tree, despite their causing the exact same tragedy. In the case of the girls, a similar reasoning would be expected, but it is pretty much its opposite that we find. Most people will look up to Grace as an idol, and will look down on Greta as a parasite of some sort.

Now, my grid of analysis is all skewed, given that Greta taps into the common pot and Grace only drains her family ; but if you're busy noticing that, you've completely missed the point made in the boy's case. As an advanced society, it is the intentions that we're supposed to pay attention to. And Grace's intention are to just have a blast of a time drinking those delicious cocktails in the VIP bar of the club with no concern whatever with the unsustainability of her behavior, while Greta's intentions really are to find a productive place in society, she's just tired of looking for something that just isn't there. And if we concentrate for a minute on those intentions, we should know which one we should look down upon, shouldn't we?

Now, the boy's case is shut, we hopefully all agree on that. And let's just assume that Grace is a lost cause and that, short of waiting for her to die of coke overdose or collagen explosion, there is no curing her. Greta's case on another hand just needs a job that is in accordance with her grid of acceptance to be fixed. Now, that's no easy task, given that she chose a sector that is not doing too well at the moment, so all jobs that are being offered are either not attainable, either just gross to her. If she'd take a bit of perspective, she'd probably remember that she went into sound engineering after tossing a coin about it. But now that she went down that road, it's the only thing she has a proof of qualification for. What she should do, is just get a qualification for something else that she likes and that will land her a job. The unemployment office does offer training opportunities, but only super-short stuff for whatever is the most needed right now on the market. Last time she checked, there was nothing that had her salivating.

"What a bitch" I hear you think. Well, human nature is what it is, and you'd probably feel the same way after years of sending hopeful applications that never get answered, and taking alimentary jobs that you just have no interest in. Grace Rottenshit would have not even survived a month of that.

Of course, cutting off her 400€ grant would most definitely convince her that those alimentary precarious jobs are not so smelly after all. So that's one solution, and by no mean the harshest. But, as an advanced society (now I'm definitely sucking up to you), we focus not on the harshest but the most humane, while keeping an eye on the efficiency counter.

So, what's humane and efficient? By now you must have realized where I'm headed. I mean to deliver the final solution to unemployment and state over-expenses. No less.

Well, social pressure is a strong, a powerful tool of coercion. I dare any male reader to walk into a pub in England with a bunch of mates at 8pm, and walk out at 10pm without being utterly wasted. I tried, I could never do it. And nobody ever pulled a gun on me and made me drink and drink. It's just that, they really really looked at me weird when I was taking longer than usual to empty my glass. And that alone was sufficient to make me drink 3 times more than I had planned on.

Similarly, as an unemployed, you're so constantly reminded of how much of a burden you are, that every time your raise your head from the application forms, you start feeling bad about it. Now, you don't feel good while you're filling up the application forms either, so you basically feel bad all the time. There is a point, and every one reaches it, where your mind goes all "hell with it". At that point, you stopped being a member of the active population.

That's a bit of a caricature, but I suppose that every long-term unemployed can testify it goes more or less that way. So, how do we make sure the unemployed keeps applying?

Well we don't! By all means, if after 2 month it doesn't work, then it never will! Unless the market changes or the applicant does. If an applicant ever reaches a point where they thinks that "it's all for nothing", then they should stop and reflect. At present, the social pressure prevents them to do that.

If there was no social pressure, what might they do about it? Well, either wait for the market to change, either change the market (which would usually be by creating their own activity), either change themselves, by taking up a training of their choice. Note the their. Not the job agency's choice. Their choice. After months of job hunt, you sort of know the target market.

What if it takes them many years to reach the point of employability? Well, that'd be unfortunate, but I can't help pointing out that Greta is unemployed for 5 years. And she's still at square one out of lack of opportunities. So it wouldn't drain society any more than it is drained now, and on the other side, it would deliver employable people. Which the current system quite does not. If it's too expensive just sell a nuclear submarine to India. That's a waste of the common pot if you ask me.

Short of social pressure, some of them might not even bother with the training. I have good hopes that most people will be suckered into a productive activity or another, because it just feels great to produce something. But some will just do what they like, content with the minimal allowance granted by hardworking productive citizens. They'll just paint, or make music, or read, and maybe one day, write gibberish. If they're into traveling, they might travel, but one thing that they will not do is hang at home watching tv and eating junk food. Or so I claim. That's the behavior of someone that hides from the Accusing Eye of society. An escape, and a poor one indeed, to social pressure for the one that has reached the "hell with it" point. I hereby claim that, given the freedom to roam around unaccused, anyone will develop an interest in something creative. And, you know what, it is what comes from the idle class that we call "culture". Mozart was only able to write the good shit he wrote because he had the leisure of time, the opportunity of choice, and nobody was pointing fingers at his unproductiveness. And along with him, a whole cast of idle youth was allowed to live off the back of society unchallenged. Some went into trade, some into war, some into politics, some into nothing, and one of them became the most celebrated musical composer ever. Wasn't it worth every penny?

So, that is the final solution I promised you: allowing the jobless to raise their head from the application form without feeling guilty about it. Remove the social pressure. And allow them to pick their training of choice, or not. Two easily attainable goals, through a bit of PR and a new mission statement for unemployment agencies. Populist politicians are a common vector for the bad reputation of job seekers, but they will just shut it if it becomes well known that anyone ridiculing a jobless has a small dick. That's how we forced gay rights down the throat of the conservative society. We can pull it off.

Now, do we want it?

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