The principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward. See also Protestant work ethic.
The latest buzz phrase on the street is “work ethic” usually uttered in conjunction with criticising working class young people about their apparent lack of said work ethic. Watching yesterday’s BBC Question Time was horrendous all the right-wingers singing from the same hymn sheet, sermonising and lecturing young working class people to take up “job experiences” as it will give them a taste of the work ethic. One teacher in the audience despaired about the lack of discipline work wise from the teenagers living in the “estates”… I had this imagine of feral teenagers lurking around street corners displaying a lack of understanding for the word “work”… Interesting as well, teacher indulging in some class divide when she stated that there are teenagers who understand the necessity of work while the teenagers from the “estates” don’t….
Again, there was a chorus of approval from the panel supporting these “work experience” schemes. And of course, defensive ConDems who expose just how shit scared they are of the campaigning and public anger shown towards these schemes, especially under increased pressure to justify slave labour (and the latest nonsense from Chris Grayling surely highlights the jitters, blame game and desperation for the politics of distraction along with his later retraction regards to his supposed hacked email). I mean, let’s be clear, these schemes aren’t about giving young unemployed people real work experience and being paid for participation. It’s about unpaid labour. Young people are being exploited by working for their dole. Where’s the experience in that? Along with the threat of sanctions if you don’t comply. The audacity of the supporters of these schemes show their ideological hatred and dishonesty.
How will sticking young people on these horrendous schemes improve the so-called work ethic? It won’t. The outlook is bleak for many working class young people. I mean, look what’s out there. Choices and options are narrow and limited. Getting a properly paid job is problematic in this current economic climate, further and higher education has been curtailed due to the cuts in financial support, hiked up fees and being lumbered with debt for years to come. Very attractive. No real apprenticeships, like the ones I remember years ago where young people would be trained and gain experience on the job with a pay packet at the end of the month/week and once a week attending the local college for further training. Real options and choices don’t exist, letting teenagers choose their own career paths instead they are faced with coercion, sanctions, vilification and exploitation. And the right-wing wonder why anger is translated onto the streets…..
It’s hard being a teenager especially if you are working class living in financial difficulties. These work experience schemes that the right-wing cheerleaders support do not instill anything positive such as confident or self-worth or any kind of fulfillment. No, it does instill a twisted form of the work ethic, a bourgeois interpretation, virtuous and worthy of reward on their terms not yours. You become a cog, a clone, drone working for no reward except the meagre amount of dole. How is that intrinsically worthwhile and valuable? It’s not. It’s humiliating and soul-destroying.
Take Islington Council, 14th most deprived area in England. Last month they announced they “want to pay new “junior assistants” £25 to work up to eight hours a week, which it hopes will break the cycle of unemployment in deprived areas of the borough”.
Council leader Catherine West said: “It may be entry-level jobs like delivering post to schools or helping with highway repairs or photocopying and filing, or making tea and coffee for meetings. These are real council roles and it’s about trying to develop a work ethic earlier than 17 or 18.
“We hope young people can get into jobs before they get a lot of free time on their hands and start mixing with people who may not be the best mentors in the world.” She added that child staff would be supervised by adult workers and hoped the move would lead to the council returning to being the “employer of choice” of local people.
They say it’s OK as long as it doesn’t compromise their education. But come off it, working up to 8 hours a week is a real commitment and will undoubtedly impinge on their education. Or don’t working class teenagers deserve an education? Just get them involved in slave labour, an army of serfs, explaining to them in no uncertain terms that you don’t amount to much, know your place in this sinking stinking society. The Bullingdon Boys ideological onslaught on the working class is about deserving/undeserving poor, peddle lies which constantly demonise the so-called undeserving poor. The language is about “hard choices” translated that means cuts.
Yet to condemn these pernicious workfare schemes is to be described as a work snob or anti-business. The function of the banking system, increased profits, bonuses, corporate businesses up their necks in workfare and private contractors operating in the benefits system being accused of fraud…. it’s precisely due to that which makes me believe “that people in business are out for themselves”. Because they surely aint in it for public need!
Come the revolution, I would love to see yesterday’s Question Time sneering, patronising and contemptible panel and some of the audience shovelling up shit while being told they need to improve their work ethic!!