Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Full Employment

Capitalism isnt workingImage by Tess.McGill via Flickr
Full employment - Was it a myth or did we at one time have 'full' employment?

And by full employment I don't mean no unemployment but that whoever was able and wanted to work could find a job within a reasonable time frame. There will always be some unemployment with even the most 'benign' capitalist system. (If such a thing exists!)

Back in the mists of time in 1979 I left school with my clutch of CSEs and GCEs and I had a choice - go to college or get a job. For good or bad I chose to get a job. Looking back I don't remember any time where me or my friends did not have a job, nor do I remember anyone signing on the dole. There was always work, especially for the youth. Some of my friends used to start a new job on a Monday, get the sack on the Friday and somehow have a new job to roll into the following Monday. Certainly for the first 4 or 5 years of my working life I never had a problem getting a job.

I don't remember ever being aware of unemployment until about the time of the Miner's strike when it certainly did become an issue. Indeed towards the end of Thatcher's reign I also would be joining the ranks of those claiming the dole, a new chapter in my life that would last for three years out of the following four.

Should I wipe the rose tint from my glasses or is it true that we once had 'full' employment and a dogmatic political decision stripped this nation of that benefit?