August 5, 2021

The voice of the unemployed | Economy

The voice of the unemployed | Economy

Unemployment is the main problem for Spaniards. Despite its continued reduction, it is the first concern for 60.6% of citizens, according to the Center for Sociological Research (CIS).

We know the number of unemployed according to registered unemployment (3,289,040) and according to the Active Population Survey (3,304,300). We also know that the high proportion of unemployed is an anomaly in Europe. The unemployment rate in this country is 14%, second only to Greece, 18.5%, compared to 6.5% of the Union average, according to Eurostat. In the case of those under 25, the reality is more disastrous. In Spain 32.6% of young people and in Italy 33% are out of work, twice the European average (14.9%).

However, all this information does not provide a faithful image of social deterioration suffered during the last decade. The sociologist Jordi Jodar and the philosopher Jordi Guiu, professors of Sociology at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, have given the floor to more than forty unemployed people to explain their struggle to survive with their own voice. The result of the investigation has been collected in the book Standing in motion. Stories of dignity, resistance and hope, (Icaria), which gives a much more overwhelming image than the cold statistics.

Jodar and Guiu confess that "the origin of the book has been indignation" before "the barbarities that we hear every day about work and workers." They consider that the unemployed "are not only thrown into exclusion and its surroundings, but are also stigmatized, denigrated and insulted." The authors stress that "the line that, today, separates employment and unemployment is much thinner and tenuous than many of those who make up our middle and working classes imagine".

The first conclusion of the book is that the interviewees "want and need to work in a free, dignified and decent occupation". "Work is basic," says an unemployed young woman. "What are you doing without work? You do not do anything. Work gives you everything. " From another perspective, another young person highlights the reality of precariousness "this idea that work gives you a dignity and rights does not make much sense when work is secondary, because you last three months in it".

The title of the book reflects the efforts of many unemployed to find employment at all costs. "When I do not have a job, my job is to find work." They are people who "want to work, but not only to earn their living but also to be independent". The authors point out that being unemployed in our society is a "continuous aggression" that is also reflected in health.

The research highlights the aggravation caused by technological changes. Remember the thought of Professor John Bellamy Foster, editor of the magazine Monthly Review: "It is evident that capitalism has failed as a social system." The truth is that a system that marginalizes a significant part of citizens is hardly sustainable.


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