Workfare: A Critical Examination

2848 WordsJul 9, 201812 Pages
Introduction This essay will examine the technique of workfare as a way of governing the poor. Workfare is a widely contested area which evokes many conflicting opinions at both the political and the public level. The following quote comes from Dan Hodges, a British commentator writing for The Daily Telegraph, and gives an interesting insight in one of the discussions workfare poses. Hodges writes about the way several proponents of workfare (including David Cameron, the British PM in 2012), who are quite successful themselves with their careers, condemn unemployed citizens to do anything but pleasant jobs without getting a reasonable compensation: ‘What rule says workfare must be the same old hardy staples: stack a shelf, clean a floor?…show more content…
According to Mead, welfare recipients are not very responsive to economic inducements, an important reason for why they are poor in the first place. Mead claims that for motivation under jobless recipients to be there, work must be compelled. People who are able-bodied to work must do so in order to help themselves. Workfare will also help recipients to be more assertive, a necessary feature for controlling their own lives. Mead rejects the claim made by opponents that workfare would doom poor people to do only dirty jobs, because after certain time they will be able to move ‘on’ to better jobs. Even dirty work is preferable over doing no work at all. In general, Mead’s arguments seem to be quite defendable for scholars and students who share the same opinion. However, his point of view about the quality of the available jobs does not appear to be very convincing. It seems to be quite logical that people do not accept every job they can get, even if they are unemployed. Every person has ideals, many jobs in the low-wage sector would not really resemble those. This is the same objection as is made by Hodges (see the quote in the introduction). It can be argued that these ‘dirty jobs’ will deter people from misusing welfare revenues, but there is also a big group of unemployed workers who have become jobless duo to external circumstances. Does this group has to be punished

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