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Monday, December 17th, 2012 12:46 pm
You know the theory that there are scads of families out there where there are three generations who have not worked? And they're all living on benefits? And the people in them are so used to not working that they no longer want to work?

I turns out that when researchers went out in Glasgow and Middlesborough (both areas with substantial worklessness) looking for examples of such families, they did not exist.
Monday, December 17th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Coming around again: friend of mine some years back was researching the history of the 'underclass' as being panicked about in the earlier part of C20th and similarly found that these long-term family scenarios did not exist, and that the whole thing was strongly related to wider economic factors. The Edwardian 'underclass' pretty much vanished during the Great War with conscription, full employment, etc.

Monday, December 17th, 2012 03:35 pm (UTC)
They also help keep wages down by providing competition for jobs -- another important service.
Monday, December 17th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
Over here they found a lot of people cycle on and off benefits because of a lack of health insurance.

And, of course, they've let the minimum wage lag so much over the past few decades that now, even people who can find full-time work may be eligible for substantial aid.
Monday, December 17th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
meaning that their employers are getting a massive amount of help in the form of in-work benefits, keeping their wages artificially low.

Happens here, too. I actually read an article recently that showed that this is how WalMart operates. A single WalMart store gets something like $450,000 per year in what amounts to government subsidies because their workers are getting welfare benefits. (It also showed that if WalMart were to start paying their employees a living wage and passed that cost on entirely to customers, the average customer would pay an additional $.12 per visit. Twelve fucking cents.)