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The sharpest edge of the recession

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, January 22nd, 2010 - 68 comments
Categories: unemployment - Tags:

“2500 people waited up to seven hours to apply for one of 150 jobs at a new South Auckland supermarket”*

OK, maybe 16 applicants per job isn’t beyond the norm when you’re advertising one at a time but when you’re advertising 150?

Think about it, that means there are 2,500 jobless Kiwis just within the locale of this new supermarket desperate to get off the dole (if they can get it) and into work.

There are quarter of a million jobless Kiwis nationwide.

68 comments on “The sharpest edge of the recession ”

  1. Were these people jobless when Aunty Helen was in Office.

    • Bored 1.1

      Probably not, it may have more to do with Wall St and the rest of the funny money world vapourising squillions then demanding to be bailed out, the cost of which meaning that capital did not become available for productive investment, and less cash was sloshing around economies to produce demand.

      All of the above was of course plotted by Aunty Helen and the socialists……

    • Bright Red 1.2

      There were 80,000 fewer jobless people when Helen Clark left office.

      • Herodotus 1.2.1

        According to the mid day news unemployment rose by 15% to 66k, I did not know that we could every be in a situation whereby we had -ve unemployment. Or was this a case of a poorly worded soundbite by the news dept?

    • BLiP 1.3

      What do you care?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      Still trying to spin I see.

  2. indiana 2

    Think about it, that means there are 2,500 jobless Kiwis just within the locale of this new supermarket desperate to get off the dole (if they can get it) and into work.

    How true Eddie….well thought out post…of course none of these applicants were asked if they were unemployed, as none of them may have been trying to get a job that was closer to home. Only unemployed people respond to job advertisements because those that have jobs are quite content, right?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Another RWNJ making up more delusional excuses for why things aren’t as bad as they are.

    • Bright Red 2.2

      indi. Points to consider:

      – The jobs in a supermarket are mostly minimum wage or close to it. So you can’t have a job and be earning less, unless you are underemployed (ie parttime when you wnat to be fulltime)

      – the people had to line up for a whole day just to inteview for them with a 1 in 16 chance of getting a job.

      – The people needed a whole day free

      does that sound like something a person with a job would be up for?

      • IrishBill 2.2.1

        To be fair progressive enterprises supermarkets are unionised sites and the NDU have got wages up a fair bit on those paid at foodstuffs supermarkets.

      • indiana 2.2.2

        Yep..its does. In my experience people have taken annual leave, called in sick or are already on a day off that allows them to give up a day in their life to do such a thing.

        1:16 chances are better than 1:50 if applying for more technical roles such as a graduate hitting the job market.

        Some people will take a pay cut if there are other measurable benefits…am I being too narrow minded?

        • Jeremy 2.2.2.1

          1:16 chances are better than 1:50 if applying for more technical roles such as a graduate hitting the job market.

          Indeed, but for those jobs there is normally only one vacancy. There were 150 here.

  3. cheap plonk 3

    We don’t know they are all “jobless” and on the dole.

  4. its a job at the supermarket indi !!!

    imagine what other sort of shit job/pay you would have to be working/leaving for that to be an improvement. ?

    • indiana 4.1

      If its a shit job, why apply? Nice to see you demeaning jobs at the supermarket…forget that for most people its an entry job that will give you job experience or suit a lifestyle.

      If it means you can reduce your transport costs to go to the same type of job, is that not an improvement? An improvement may not necessarily be about pay…perhaps I am missing something.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        You might want to look at the photograph again indiana in light of your ‘entry job’ and ‘job experience’ comment. They ain’t youngsters and school kids in that picture..

      • snoozer 4.1.2

        “If its a shit job, why apply?”

        because you want to work? You’re not a bludger?

        “suit a lifestyle”

        yeah, looking at all those middle aged people lining up all day for a 1 in 16 shot at a minimum wage job my initial thought was ‘they want the job for a lifestyle choice’

      • pollywog 4.1.3

        If its a shit job, why apply?

        a shit job is better than no job at all…yeah ?

        • Bill 4.1.3.1

          “a shit job is better than no job at all yeah ?”

          No.

          • pollywog 4.1.3.1.1

            OK Bill…i’ll bite. How so ?

            • Bill 4.1.3.1.1.1

              There’s no catch pollywog, but there are definitely jobs so shit or that would be considered so unconscionable by some individuals that not having a job would be the better option for them

              eg. a person averse to violence working in or for a company involved in weapons manufacture?

              a vegan or vegetarian by moral imperative working in a butcher or abattoir?

              escort work?

              That’s just straight off the top of my head. I’m sure you can think of others.

              .

              • pollywog

                hah…death before employment. i admire people who would rather die slowly than accept a shit job.

                as principled as we’d like to think ourselves to be. thats not really an option, is it ?

                when’s the last time you saw a non violent samoan vegan and dont even start with how many polynesians work sex for a living:)

                it’s sad, but there will always be someone willing to work for less than shit and still want to do a good job.

              • Bill

                Being unemployed in NZ is not generally a death sentence is it? So you are correct that ‘death before employment’ is not really an option.

                And broad bush stroking is ignoring the fact of variance between individuals as well as the differing circumstances making various demands on different people….which may well conspire to force the option of ‘willing to work for less than shit’ over not willing to work that particular job. Or not, as the case may be.

                The original point remains that there are circumstances where an individual will choose no job as being better than having a shit job.

              • pollywog

                variance between individuals as well as the differing circumstances making various demands on different people .which may well conspire to force the option of ‘willing to work for less than shit’ over not willing to work that particular job.

                so you’ve never dealt with WINZ before then eh ? life on the dole is a slow death and you pretty much gotta take what they give you or die faster.

              • Bill

                Or…so never dealt with a boss, uh? A job is a slow death. You pretty much gotta take what they give you or die.

                So hang any pretence of democracy at the door.

                Do as others will have you do even when it is most assuredly not as you would do given the freedom to choose.

                Sell your time for $.

                Sell your body for $.

                Sell your mind for $.

                Close your mind.

                Forget dignity.

                Slave it and slog it and one fine day you’ll be free. Because you’ll have saved enough of those $ to trade back at them for your freedom.

                That’s how wage slavery is meant to work; what sets it apart from straight up slavery.

                Apparently.

                And some us might want that deal. And some of us might prefer to drop that deal in the dirt and walk away.

      • Galeandra 4.1.4

        ‘ perhaps I am missing something.’

        A heart?

  5. randal 5

    think of the jollies the personnel people get having 2,500 squirming in their seats for your favour.
    why, a personnel person might begin to feel like a king.

    • BLiP 5.1

      The days of “personnel” have long gone. Its all Human Resources now, like workers are nothing other than a pile of sand at a cement factory, an expense on the bean counters’ flowchart that needs to carry its weight in the supply chain.

      But, yeah, human resource managers will be spunking themselves silly over that image.

  6. Bill 6

    Don’t know how you can state that the 2 500 people are unemployed Eddie.

    Some will be. Others will be under employed or in really shit jobs. Their individual situations is a matter of speculation.

    That aside, 2500 people queuing for hours to get a supermarket job is, or should be taken by people at large, as a total indictment of our useless ‘relaxed’ government.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      “Others will be under employed or in really shit jobs”

      Have to be pretty shitty jobs to justify standing in line for seven hours for a 1 in 16 shot at a minimum wage job.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Yup. There always seems to be a surplus of really shit jobs. Something to do with the bargaining power of an individual and the bargaining power of a company and the absence of a redress in power via effective unionism.

        Supermarket wages aren’t minimum btw. They’re not great, but they are above minimum….which might just be enough of a draw card for some applicants who are on minimum?

        • IrishBill 6.1.1.1

          Once again. These are relatively well paid jobs for the industry. That’s because they are unionised jobs. At progressive enterprises you can make $18 an hour as a warehouse storeman in your first year on the job. That’s more than most make as a first year lawyer or journalist.

          • Bill 6.1.1.1.1

            The difference is that after a few years the lawyer or journalist will be many $$$ better off than the storeman working for Progressive. Your comparison is a bit bogus in that respect.

            That supermarket workers will earn more than they do in the jobs they seek to leave to go work in the supermarket is the point. No?

            That a supermarket worker will struggle like hell to raise a family on the wages they get might be another point.

            That the wages have even managed to reach the level they are at instead of being minimum is due to unionism is another salient point.

            That those wage levels are miles behind the wage levels for the same company operating in Australia is another.

            As is the fact that union coverage in Australia is so much greater than here.

            But lawyers and journalists and such like? They are really rather well rewarded and empowered as are most professionals who are expected to constitute the class of coordinators….the managers and ‘lets keep a lid on things’ types. As such, their interests generally coincide with the interests of those who dominate society. Can’t see the comparison with supermarket workers and others whose best interests can never be served by maintaining the status quo.

            Jeez. From job queue to revolution! So easily done too.

            • IrishBill 6.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s a fair enough call on lawyers but many journos would be lucky to earn more after a few years than PE store workers.

              I’m also not defending the rates PE pays and have written at length on the wage-gap between Aussie and NZ.

              Aussie union density isn’t much better than New Zealand’s but they have better critical mass and have maintained legislation (including an award system) that allows for unionised workers to be more effective.

              My point was that these are plenty of jobs out there that are worse than PE jobs including foodstuff (New World, Pack n Save) jobs doing exactly the same work.

              • Bill

                So we agree that people are prepared to stand in line for a shit job if it’s better than their current really shit job…of which there are plenty of…due, in part to low union density.

                Now if we could just take it a step further and agree on the revolution….

    • vto 6.2

      16 people queuing for each job, not 2,500.

      • Bright Red 6.2.1

        that’s 2350 who end up without a job at the end.

        • vto 6.2.1.1

          but bright red that is as silly as this entire post.

          how about, for a dose of reality, take a random sample of 150 jobs. 150 jobs anywhere. Add up how many people apply for those 150 jobs. There are probably 2,500 people lining up for 150 jobs every day of every week and have been on average for the last 30 years.

          But it makes a great tabloid sensationalist headline ay. Just as well substance and credibility is something the authors don’t often try to achieve on here.

          • snoozer 6.2.1.1.1

            “Add up how many people apply for those 150 jobs.”

            people usually apply for more than one job, so while each job might have 16 applications that wouldn’t usually mean there are 16 people for each job. In this case there are.

  7. Monty 7

    How do you know that all 2500 are jobless – I would doubt that very much – Surely a reasonable proportion may have existing jobs which for one reason or another they are considering other options.

    Supermarkets can offer flexible working hours, staff discounts (?) variety, opportunity for promotion – while the starting pay may be crap – there must be other reasons why people would want to work in that environment.

    I do agree that systems could have been better organised on the day (Red Alert Post) – but on the other side of the equation did you hear the great news that confidence is higher than it has been for three years – Seems like the economy is turning around and that National is doing a great job eh?

    • Bright Red 7.1

      monty.

      consumer confidence is a measure of whether people expect things to get better in the future than they are now.

      When you’ve walked down one side of a valley and you are starting to wlak up the other, you expect that in the future you will be higher than you are now, but you might still be a heck of a lot lower than where you started from.

      Confidence will always increase coming out of a recession, its a mathematical inevitablity, and the deeper the recession, the bigger the gain in confidence ought to be.

      See. It’s better to understand the stats you’re talking about before you start drawing conclusions.

  8. randal 8

    love that flexible hours bit.
    code for kiss my bum if you want more work and sorry son but you have no rights if you aren’t full time.
    just the sort of stuff the right wing loves to keep people on their toes.

  9. Graham 9

    The 2,500 people were probably made up of people in various different circumstances:

    – currently unemployed
    – newly unemployed (redundant, quit, fired, whatever)
    – those currently working in part-time jobs wanting full-time
    – those currently working somewhere that requires them to travel and wanting a job closer to home
    – those people who have just moved into the area and want a new job
    – those currently working in other jobs who have had enough and want a change

    The point is, you can’t just say “that means there are 2,500 jobless Kiwis just within the locale of this new supermarket desperate to get off the dole (if they can get it) and into work” without a bit more research (or even thought).

    And yes, there are plenty of other jobs bad enough to make working in a supermarket look good.

    As BrightRed said, “It’s better to understand the stats you’re talking about before you start drawing conclusions”

    • Clarke 9.1

      The point is, you can’t just say “that means there are 2,500 jobless Kiwis just within the locale of this new supermarket desperate to get off the dole (if they can get it) and into work’ without a bit more research (or even thought).

      True … but you can say that dole numbers are up 13% in December.

      • indiana 9.1.1

        “Think about it, that means there are 2,500 jobless Kiwis just within the locale of this new supermarket”

        Clarke, at least your reference has more credibility than Eddie’s

  10. Pete 10

    Latest unemployment numbers being reported:
    13% increase for the month of December 2009 – 66,328 up from 58,541 in November 2009.

    Story here:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3254083/More-people-on-unemployment-benefit-Bennett

    Also note (C/o Bennett):
    “The Government has an unrelenting focus on supporting people into work” – just so ya know.

  11. torydog 11

    What a bang up job the nats are doing……

    BY the by, on TV1s Breakfast programme yesterday Pippa told us what the problem is…apparently if you dont earn hundreds of thousands dollers a year you are thick, so all those people who are unemployed or on a low wage are lazy and thick!!!

    Nice to know Pippa is filling the tory pig void while Sir Paul is away.

    • felix 11.1

      Gorra link?

    • Jum 11.2

      Why do you think she idolises Henry so much? Any time these fat cat botoxed bimbos and bimbettes talk about people on the minimum wage or no wage just a benefit I’d like to give them a few smacks, the arrogant aaaaaaarsssssssssssses.

  12. infused 12

    I had 193 people apply for 1 job here.

    • BLiP 12.1

      Did you make them queue up down the street as a warning to the rest of us how good we have it?

  13. Rex Widerstrom 13

    What would be interesting is to know how many registered unemployed(aka “shiftless dole bludgers who don’t want to work”) live within, say, a 20 km radius (i.e. a bus ride) of this business. And then to know how many people in the line were amongst that number.

    I suspect the answer would put paid to fervently held belief of many that those in receipt of a benefit don’t want work. In fact, since you’re still presumably required to report your endevaours to find work to WINZ. the local WINZ office ought to be able to provide that statistic.

    An OIA request should do the job, Standardistas…

  14. prism 14

    The line of hopefuls haven’t got anything better to do, they have to stay there and see it through. WINZ has probably insisted on this from the comfort of their office desks and liveable wages.
    And where are the other semi-skilled jobs where people could make things, work with materials not just hit keyboards talking, endlessly working with words and symbols? That is considered an area to progress to, from actually forming, handling something that can be used.

    Governments have been forced, though I don’t know what wily resistance they put up in defence if any, to abandon the tariffs that allowed manufacturing to flourish and people to be employed and earning right here in little NZ. We can’t resist because we must hang on to our main earner dairying. So we become more dependent on cows and more vulnerable to disease controls, and non-tariff barriers.
    Good though that Joe and Josephine can have things cheaper, and our spending path has been greased with credit cards so we can all buy more. Clothes for instance, the womens clothing shops grow up overnight like mushrooms and when one goes down, up comes another. (The clothes that are abandoned hardly worn, stained and unsaleable in a year would clothe us for the next year without new purchases.)

    • Bill 14.1

      The line of hopefuls haven’t got anything better to do for the simple reason that the line of hopefuls (and most every other one of us judging by the comments here and on other related threads) have been successfully herded and educated into a perspective whereby the deal encompasses all of the thinkable possibilities and options that stretch before us to the horizon.

  15. prism 15

    If some of the bloggers here were in Haiti they would be standing arguing about how many bodies and live people they had pulled out, who had done the most, and criticising the government’s lack of effectiveness. Heaven help us from these nit-picking bloggers who have all the time to argue the detail when the overall picture is the story.

    • Bill 15.1

      This is in line with my comment above I guess, but the question has to be asked in relation to your comment above; ” What is the overall picture?”

      How narrow or wide is the perspective that is determining what constitutes the big picture? And what or who determines that perspective?

      • prism 15.1.1

        “How narrow or wide is the perspective that is determining what constitutes the big picture? And what or who determines that perspective?”

        That’s the problem – when we get desperate for a job or too accepting of other people’s limited opportunities, then there is no perspective. A national debate about what would be good for NZ and how to achieve it for everbody’s benefit would help a wider perspective than just pursuing simple individual advantage.
        An example of lack of perspective at present is the many retired who only see their needs, and don’t acknowledge that satisfying these and their wants can only come from a thriving economy. They are dependent on younger working and earning people and businesses making profit.
        But many of the retired are anti-business, and anti-spending to promote business by local government. Their lack of perspective means they don’t take an overview of planned enhancements to their area to ensure they are not profligate, but they condemn them out of hand.
        There is a disconnect between the source of the needed pension/super and the recipient who prefers to think its from a pension fund not PAYE taxation.
        The lack of perspective of this important sector of NZ society has a great effect on which way we steer.
        I hope that this is referenced to your thoughts. I’d better stop waffling and get some other work done.

        • Bill 15.1.1.1

          See my comment below, the conclusion of which I warn you, might see me branded as one of those rose tinted glasses wearing hippy types!

  16. prism 16

    Gosh Bill you set it out bleakly when talking about the deal.
    But the bigger picture could be that people end up in wage
    slavery because there are so few better avenues to move on to. To slave away at something you dislike doing, for not enough money to advance aspirations, that is just dismal surviving.
    There is always drudgery in any job, but what I am concerned about is the loss of alternatives, about how so many industries have become uneconomic and the jobs floated away. Saw about Cadbury, sad.
    But if there is some week left after the job finishes, and the living-needs maintenance finishes, and some money left over to expedite enjoyment life can be OK, if there is a path to better pay etc in the future.
    Is there a fund in NZ for investors to buy up viable businesses that are about to be sold to overseas interests, and then get them off the stock exchange? I think Du Pont was or is a family business, and NZ is probably smaller than that one business. They stayed a great business, off the predatory stock exchange, though don’t know about now.

    I heard a discussion on media and why the newspapers are being crunched and are dying because the big corps(e) bought them with leverage and now have to squeeze them for anything they can get to pay the debt. If we get that done to us as a country, then we will really have lost everything that we have worked for in the last 160 years.

    • Bill 16.1

      Hey ho. The lot of the wage slave is bleak..and you seem to agree when you talk of ‘dismal surviving’ and the (apparent) lack of alternatives. What I notice is that your alternatives are not alternatives at all, but just jobs…Cadbury, du Pont…maybe jobs with better wages or conditions attached….but still just jobs.

      Why is it okay to enslave somebody as long as you pay them enough compensation to “expedite enjoyment” at the weekend or whatever? I don’t understand that.

      The limitations imposed as soon as ‘a job’ is seen as the vehicle whereby human worth can be nurtured or aspirations attained is precisely what I lament when I suggest that jobs have become the be all and end all “of the thinkable possibilities and options that stretch before us to the horizon.”

      The vehicle; the job is so all consuming in terms of time and energies that it becomes a means and an end in itself…we don’t just do our jobs, we become our jobs. So when the job, which we we use as a principle measure of worth and success goes, it takes with it all the sense of worth and success the worker had invested in it. The resultant psychological loss is the entry point for depression in times of redundancy and retirement.

      It’s nuts that we have become entangled in all this nonsense especially when we consider that whereas the job promises to deliver us to so many destinations, experiences and situations that are better, bigger and brighter; it is utterly static and robs us of the necessary time and energy needed to create a future that is any different to yesterdays ‘necessary’ routine. Jobs are not a vehicle or avenue to anywhere…unless we want to count ever more proliferate consumer spending as an aspirational goal.

      At best they are the gentle tugging bind that pulls us through a state of reasonable and sometimes pleasurable ignorance to our pointless destination at the top of the garden path.

      Maybe we should de-condition ourselves and set off on life journeys rather than life careers?

      • prism 16.1.1

        Difficult. Anything becomes boring sometimes. To work at something is probably a necessity, to keep sharp and skilled and interested in life as well as to get money to live. Can’t see the way round it.
        Time to have your own life apart from work though is lacking for many people these days. After Theroux came to NZ and said he’d found it shut it was decided that everything must be open nearly all the time. I’ve been to Britain and couldn’t get into a pub when I wanted to.
        I have read Howard Hughes and he went mental although he appeared to have all options to have a carefree, rich, glamorous life. Started worrying about all the bacteria in the air around him. Kept sunlight out of his hotel suites with black plastic on the windows.
        He had a good manager to keep his businesses on an even keel so didn’t have to do much of anything. Once he had flown the Spruce Goose, he had reached his peak. Where is satisfaction in life? IF not working for pay then one must have some regular purpose or interest. Otherwise one might end up a grizzly, fault-finding, self-centred old fart.

        • Bill 16.1.1.1

          There are crucial worlds of difference between work and….language falls over….jobs.

          Work is not an undertaking that is separate from living in the way that a job generally is….work is not forced upon us by others or by convention… whereas jobs are.

          Work is undertaken due to genuine necessity or as a way of seeking accomplishment or pleasure or whatever and contains it’s own reward.

          The same cannot be said of jobs. There is false demand, a false necessity to a job. The job is attended and done to avoid sanction or simply to escape the fear of joblessness and its supposed or feared consequences. It does not generally contain it’s own reward as a matter of course and so has a principle reward in the form of financial compensation attached to it. Which is then used to purchase secondary rewards in the form of consumerist items or temporary escapes…

          In other words, even as we tie ourselves to it and identify with it and fear that we could not function without it, we are using the compensation received for it as a means to escape the effects and reality of it.

          Why bother with such a convoluted rigmarole?

          Seriously.

          • prism 16.1.1.1.1

            Work and jobs yes I see what you’re thinking.
            But isn’t it a luxury to philosophise about them? For a man to have a shed where he does work that he wants to do, he has to have the money to support himself and his dog and wife and children. What did Bert Munro do to get money he needed to live while he experimented in his unique way?

            I have done a few different jobs in my life and experienced different management styles, which make a huge difference to the enjoyment or otherwise of a job don’t you think? I do a volunteer job, so there isn’t financial recompense, but I enjoy it so the receiving money isn’t the only reason for doing a job. I can afford to do this for free because I’m on the old age pension so my living costs are provided for. A job can bring enjoyment, social interaction, a sense of self -one can get too isolated if choosing to live self-sufficiently but there are people who manage to do this. Would you say the self-employed are in a job? In theory they are their own manager, and have chosen to do the work they do.

            When was it that we could separate work from a job? I have read about early societies who used to work to acquire their needs though they had to do long hours at certain seasons of plenty to get their food stores for later. But they also had much time off for chatting, festivals, dancing etc. Not the regimented time scale we have now. And perhaps that is the biggest difference between work and a job?

            When pakeha came to NZ they got Maori incorporated into the money society. Maori were paid money for land, charged tax on notional values of land or stock, or fines on dogs, then they were forced to change their ways somewhat. In one area the men used to go hunting for pigs when the family needed meat. Then a store was established and bought pigmeat from them and sold them beer and probably groceries and when they wanted pork for the family they bought it, but paid more than received for their carcases, and of course the alcohol drain on money is notorious. Once the drinking habit was ingrained they were enslaved to a great extent compared to their freedom previously.

  17. Bill 17

    In the interests of brevity and in an attempt to cover far too much ground I’m going to try to illustrate some points on work culture and job culture by leaning on the experience of a working environment I was a part of.

    Had Bert Munro been a part of it he would have had his shed and ample time to spend in his shed because his total number of hours given over to renumerative work in a typical week would have been about six hours per week total.

    And the particular timing of the six hours or so (sometimes more and often less) would have been largely for Bert to decide. The constraints would have been production dynamics ( people and processes) and expected delivery time to the customer…48 hours away….two weeks…tomorrow morning…or whatever.

    The rest of the time is Bert’s to do more or less as he wishes with.

    His scenario is as follows. He is one of a dozen or so people living in twenty houses. Some of the houses have been converted to house the business. There are workshops and gardens. There are children to be cared for, animals to be husbanded and ongoing maintenance of machines and buildings etc.

    The onerous tasks are rostered…sewerage maintenance etc… and every adult does one entire cook day every dozen days or so. The performing of one of the agreed upon onerous tasks and a cook day are the only mandated constraints on Berts time apart from the hours given to the business.

    He engages in everything else on a voluntary basis.

    Obviously there is a heap of work being constantly undertaken. And different mixes of the people present voluntarily come together at any given time on any given work scenario. And the work is rewarding (eg social, pleasurable, educational etc). More than that, the work is an integral part of the social fabric of the place…just as much as the dancing and the festivities etc.

    As such work is an attractive proposition.

    And there is no vertical division of labour. Decisions are made by the people affected by the particular matter under consideration and are subject to various and constantly evolving democratic processes.

    And so on and so forth.

    The main point is this. In the situation above the work culture dominated and shaped the job culture, so that the job culture became highly democratic, cooperative, empowering and fun.

    This is in contrast to the experience most of us have whereby the thoroughly undemocratic job culture (which we are always trying to treat as external to our real lives) informs our habits and leads to a situation where any remnants of work culture that we find ourselves engaged in is impoverished and to often falls prey to bossiness, dis-empowerment and resultant overt and covert conflicts.

    More than this. As we have viewed work through the lens of job cultures, we have abandoned a lot of the work that would formally have bound our communities. ( I’m sure you could pinpoint 101 things in your immediate neighbourhood that need attention but which won’t receive any because everyone is of the persuasion that ‘that’s the councils job’ or ‘someone elses responsibility’ or whatever.)

    This is way to long for a blog comment, ( so much for brevity) so I’ll end by responding to your first question above. In times of peak oil, massively damaging CO2 emissions from our job related activities, loss of community and the obviously unsustainable way we are currently going about things, I don’t think it is at all a philosophical luxury to reflect on work and job cultures with a view to action

    I think it’s imperative.

  18. prism 18

    I get the idea now I have seen your example. Would you describe this place as a commune, or an eco village or…?
    The community things I have been involved in haven’t worked out well. There is always someone who knows better how things should be run, and someone else has idealistic notions that undercut the real system that has to be adhered to etc. So people in this successful community must understand clearly and support the community’s trading efforts and also front up and do their duty hours and also be in agreement with the spirit of the community.

    By the way The Day of the Triffids is on tv Wednesday night I think 8.30pm. The disaster experience, going blind in large numbers, and then falling prey to the unusual plants that had been widely cultivated which became killers to the vulnerable is quite a poignant story. In this new film adaptation the triffids have been grown to extract fuel, an interesting side issue for you perhaps. But in the book the hero also is interesting as he tries to both survive and find some stable, workable community and keep his humanity. He is confronted by various unresolvable problems. He spends time with one community which sets itself up as a haven and over-commits its resources and collapses etc. Then a self-styled leader tries to force him to accept a leader role for another community as part of controlled area settlement. He can only flee with his small troupe of survivors loyal to each other, a core survivors group.

    The description of the community you give sounds good. The combination of having cheaper living, and then having the right to work lesser hours than the ‘normal’ working week would be sensible. Having glidetime when working at an ordinary job would certainly be an improvement on our present time constraints. To live more simply and buy less would in itself not be enough, to participate in a job for only agreed hours – ideal.
    “This is in contrast to the experience most of us have whereby the thoroughly undemocratic job culture (which we are always trying to treat as external to our real lives)”
    Yes, there is a pop song about Monday and going back to work, but the singer has Friday on his mind. Of course that was when having two days out of seven for your own life, uninterrupted, was widely the case.

    I have an audio tape of a discussion on the French government’s effort to reduce people’s working hours so that couples could have more time together. Some found it difficult, I think it has been changed now. But just recently a news item said one country was trying turning off the lights at workplaces to force people to go home early. I think they want more babies, the ageing and youth aren’t in balance.

    This is long for a blog, which is what I have noticed, most are superficial and futile, and definitely not any attempt to learn or get wider perspective. I read the piece was it by Michael Gear on real community being costly. Very good.
    I think I have made a note about it. I have to carefully keep track of what I say and see – I am not that sharp a computer user to know where all the levers are for various aids.

    I am going to watch the Triffids tomorrow. It might illustrate some of the things that a community under stress
    needs to do to survive and find stability and enjoy living.

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