Unemployment is one of the most devastating political and social problems affecting the nation. This is because, it is a political cum social problem that precipitates, and ferments other problems. This is especially so in a nation that is as rich as our country (Barling, 1990). Unemployment is a social and political problem that affects at least 6% of the population in the country. This is after the government has revised the method of compiling unemployment (Barling, 1990).
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It is critical that the reader understand the reason that makes unemployment one of the most devastating problems in the country. Unemployment is socially and politically destructive because it brings other problems. This is to say that it gives birth to other problems, some of which are extremely difficulty to handle (Barling, 1990). For example, unemployment automatically comes with poverty. In fact, in classification of unemployment, it is usually classified as unemployment and poverty. Unemployment also brings other problems like increases in crime. This is especially so with some forms of unemployment (Barling, 1990). Unemployment also brings problems like social and political discontent. Unemployment has been on of the factors that have contributed to political revolutions all over the world (Barling, 1990).This is not only during this political dispensation, but during other dispensations as well. Unemployment makes a government, and a country look bad. It makes nations and political leaderships look defeated in the global arena (Barling, 1990). It robs a nation of pride.
There are several things that can be effected to work out the issue of joblessness in the country. Giving employment subsidies is one of the ways of addressing unemployment in the country. These could be given to firms that keep on their workers even during periods of recession. This is useful as it prevents workers from idling. It also saves the government unemployment costs. The only misgiving with this solution is that the firms that get these subsidies may misuse them. This is because most firms want to get some extra income (Barling, 1990).
Another way of creating employment is cutting minimum wages. This is because, inert nominal growth of wages risks real age unemployment. Cutting minimum wages can increase the chances of creating extra jobs (Barling, 1990). Cutting wages can also bring down the overall demand in the economy. This can create less demand for workers (Barling, 1990). One of the reasons that contribute to unemployment is lack of relevant skills. Thus, training the long unemployed in relevant skills is a sure way of addressing the problem (Barling, 1990). This is because after the training the unemployed can get jobs. Economists and other scholars have suggested that the main cause of unemployment is inflexibility in the labour market. One of these inflexibilities is that it is remarkably difficult to hire and fire employees. Some of these regulations discourage most firms from employing people. Relaxing such regulations can be a big boost to the employment efforts (Barling, 1990).This is especially so in our economic model of government.
Another way of reducing unemployment is reducing the working week. For example, the working week should can be reduced from 40 to 30.This can increase the number of workers a firm will be needing.Goverments should also make sure that the welfare systems that they have set up do not encourage unemployment (Bregger &Haugen, 1995).This is because some people refuse to look for work because they know that they are being supported by welfare (Bregger &Haugen, 1995). The government should ensure that those people who receive social security checks deserve those checks (Bregger &Haugen, 1995). This is because there people who have taken advantage of the system. They stay idle because at the end of the month they are going to receive social security checks. The government should look into this scenario in order to make sure that unemployment is checked (Bregger &Haugen, 1995).
Another way of reducing unemployment is to make sure that the government improves the methods of accumulating and disseminating information on the availability of jobs. This will ensure that jobseekers can connect to employers. It will also ensure that employers have easy time getting employees (Bregger &Haugen, 1995).This is because so many people are without jobs because they cannot access the available jobs due to lack of information. The government can also find ways of growing the economy at a remarkably fast rate. This will ensure that there is creation of jobs. Unemployment will be checked (Bregger &Haugen, 1995).
One of the authors who have tackled the subject of unemployment is Karl Marx. Karl Max who wrote is political/economic treatiste, Das Capital in 1867, has much to say on unemployment. This treatise has been treated as the doctrine of scientific socialism which Marx advocated. Marx maintains that unemployment is one of the permanent features of capitalism. He says that the capitalist system wants people to be unemployed in order to make a profit. This is because capitalists are always competing with one another so as to increase profits (Rosdolsky, 1977).
The best way to increase profits according to Karl Marx is to increase the productivity of labour (Rosdolsky, 1977). This is done by replacing people with machinery hence bringing in unemployment. As the purpose of capitalism is to maximize profits, the introduction of new technology portends a cut in jobs (Rosdolsky, 1977). This is because the capitalist can make more with less labour. The desire to make more with les is the driving motivation of capitalists. This means that the capitalist system often betrays workers in favor of profits. As productivity increases, the managers and other capitalist entrepreneurs use fewer workers to achieve results. This means that surplus workers are made jobless (Rosdolsky, 1977).
Karl Marx proposes that the only effective way of ending unemployment is to abolish capitalism (Rosdolsky, 1977).He also proposed that another way of ending unemployment would be to end the system of forced competition for salaries and wages. Karl Marx then proposed that society should then adopt a communist or socialist economic system (Rosdolsky, 1977).
The proposals of Karl Marx on how to end unemployment have more disadvantages than advantages. Abolishing capitalism is not economically right. It cannot be accomplished. This is because communism and socialism have always failed in the countries where they have been applied. They cannot sustain the economy which creates the jobs (Rosdolsky, 1977). This has been historically proved by the adoption of communism by former USSR and her satellite states. Communism and socialism failed, and there was massive unemployment (Rosdolsky, 1977). This is because competition is essential for the creation of jobs. It is crucial to the giving of wages. It is a great motivator. Sociologists, political scientists and psychologists know that man only works hard by competition. Taking away the competitive spirit is to create more unemployment.
The advent of technology disqualifies the proposals of Karl Marx. It is useful to note that Karl Marx was writing during the time of the industrial revolution (Rosdolsky, 1977). During that period there was an abundance of unskilled jobs. The jobs that are available today require a lot of skills. This is especially so during this time of the information revolution. The world is past the industrial revolution. It has entered the information revolution. This era disqualifies the economic theories of Karl Marx on employment (Rosdolsky, 1977). Although one may quote present day China in defense of communism, China's case is exceptional. Even if the country is progressing, unemployment is at high levels (Rosdolsky, 1977).
Another author who has tackled the problem of unemployment is John Maynard Keynes. This is a British economist who begun postulating his ideas during the depression period. This British economist has written extensively on unemployment and the economy. This is because he lived at a time when the global economy was crumbling and when unemployment was at its peak (Furedi, 1997). Keynes partly believed that unemployment is ideal if it is at a certain level. Beyond this level, it becomes a key problem in society. Unemployment, according to Keynes, is caused by the caprice of collective demand, and the gradual increase of prices. Keynes saw unemployment as too high on average and also too variable (Furedi, 1997).
One of the solutions that have been suggested by Keynes in checking unemployment is increasing public spending. This could lead to more income. Through the multiplier effect, more jobs would be created. Large government spending leads to large output (Furedi, 1997).This means that more resources and individuals are going to be used. Employment is created this way. The principle that underlies this argument is that demand drives supply (Furedi, 1997). Keynes also suggested that more saving and capital formation would create employment (Furedi, 1997). This, according to him, is the typical antidote to unemployment.
It is useful to note that the Keynesian approach is a capitalist approach (Furedi, 1997). This is unlike the Marxist approach that is socialist. It is important to note that the Keynesian approach to employment deals with cyclical unemployment. Keynes also adopts other measures like reducing the number of working hours and so forth. The Keynesian approach also calls for the formation of new industries. This can be formed by private investors, or the government. These create new jobs and absorb a large number of the unemployed. Keynes also believed that retraining workers in new skills would ease the problem o unemployment. This is especially so after their former skills have become redundant in the wake of new technology (Furedi, 1997).
This approach of Keynes is advantageous as it incorporates the principles that work in capitalist societies. It does not call for drastic measures that can hurt the population and bring unwanted imbalances (Furedi, 1997). It can lead to more employment, especially in the countries of the west that can afford to increase government spending. During times of recession the ideas that have been postulated by Keynes can be activated to ease the problem of unemployment (Furedi, 1997).
There are some shortcomings that come with the Keynesian approach. One of these short comings is that the approach does not address the problem of unemployment in the developing world (Vroey, 2004). The policy of saving and forming capital is not applicable to the poor countries of the world (Vroey, 2004). This is because they do not have the resources required in capital formation. They thus find the practice untranslatable to their economies (Vroey, 2004). This Keynesian approach deals with frictional, voluntary and seasonal unemployment. It is too supply oriented to meet the needs of most nations (Vroey, 2004). Creating new industries may not absorb so many workers. This is especially so in this times of technological advancement. It should be noted that the Keynesian approach is more adaptable with its shortcomings than the Marxist approach (Vroey, 2004). Even with this observation, it is important to note that other scholars have come up that advocate different means of reducing unemployment.