Image for Creating a Future that Works

As an advanced industrial nation, Australia could now have a society with real full-employment and free of poverty.

Why have we failed to achieve this?

There are currently 2.5 million Australians trapped in poverty, including one in every eight children and the nation has become bone numb to this growing nightmare. [1]

At the root of this poverty are the under-employed, the unemployed and the homeless, including thousands of ex-diggers. [2]

If Australian society cannot even honour ex-service men and women with a dignified life, how can we hope to turn the tide of rising poverty in the Lucky Country?

Sadly, without real change in political and economic direction, poverty can be expected to grow in the land Down Under.

Over the next couple of decades it is predicted that half of current paid work will be gone, as the dawning robot revolution picks up pace. [3]

Are we prepared for a future with half the nation locked into poverty, while the well-off hide behind brick walls with robot security guards?

This is not the Australia that millions have worked to create.

After the terrible years of the last great war, Australian politicians helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 23 states, “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” [4]

If Australian politicians had remained true to the charter they signed up to in 1948, would there be unemployment or poverty in Australia now?

As automation steadily reduced the need for workers and computers opened the way to robots, people were expected to compete for work, with total disregard to diminishing opportunities for employment.

We have now been lumbered with an economy that requires around 5% unemployment to keep the wheels of growth turning. [5]

This is a fiscal addiction to unemployment on the part of politicians and it needs to be broken, if we wish to send poverty into history.

This addiction is also a form of fiscal terrorism, when it results in homeless people being murdered on the street, or freezing to death in the cold.

In this stark fiscal reality, the well-off grab a larger share of the national pie, at the expense of the under-employed, the unemployed, the homeless and children forced into poverty.

The victims of this fiscal shift of resources from the poor to the well-off are frequently labelled “leaners” and “dole bludgers”, in a system that controls, disciplines and humiliates.

The well-off may view themselves as “lifters”, but are they really lifting a life from children in poverty?

When the figures are crunched, they are cruel and sobering, if anyone is willing to face the truth.

The number of individual lives being hammered by greed-driven growth creates quite an army, which Muir, Powell and Butler describe ~ “This is basic maths: 657,407 young people plus another 1,197,057 underemployed and unemployed adults 24 years and older looking for work minus 149,900 job vacancies equals not enough jobs. Assuming one job per person, this means 92 in every 100 of these people won’t get a job vacancy. Competition is fierce.” [6]

Sadly, politicians cannot be expected to lead the way to real work with real pay for all able workers, so where do we turn?

We must turn to the mirror to find the solution and make a personal commitment to send poverty into history.

What can be done?

There are a million possibilities, if we will dare to “think different”, as Steve Jobs would say.

Those who would like to make a difference can explore an action plan that will start a wheel turning toward real full-employment and an end to poverty in Australia.

Creating real work with real pay for all able and willing citizens can be seen as a primary service activity, as success will directly solve many other problems, including homelessness.

A foundation could be formed of like-minded people to create working solutions, establish training and create work.

A real full-employment foundation would push against current economic mindlessness, that is great at creating wealth, but is also fantastic at delivering under-employment, unemployment, homelessness and driving children into poverty.

Mindless greed that takes from children to give to the rich is totally unacceptable and must be condemned as a form of child abuse.

As a nation, we must reverse greed to herald an end to poverty.

We must design an economy that delivers a share of the national pie to all citizens.

It may only be possible to help one person at a time into real and sustainable full-employment, but once the way is open and more people undertake and support the service action of creating real work with real pay, we can look to a future where all able Australians can and will be treated equally.

Anyone who is genuinely disabled cannot be expected to work normally.

People who are now disabled may find hope and empowerment when real full-employment is on the table.

The current system that controls, disciplines and humiliates people can drive a person into a disabled state of mind, especially if they have little hope of escape from the treadmill of hopelessness.

If empowered individuals have a mind to create real work with real pay for all able citizens, there are many ways that this can happen.

Where work is available, this can be made known, with a view to achieving real full-employment positions.

Those able to compete in the free-enterprise economy might be assisted into self-employment and start a business.

For people who are not comfortable in the competitive market place, co-operative enterprises could be a working solution, which are just as competitive as other forms of free-enterprise, but enable people to work together to generate income and profits. [7]

Work can be created with arts industries, tourism and agriculture.

Heritage has a value to tourism and the better our heritage fabric is cared for, the better its value for the tourist dollar.

There are many historic cemeteries around Tasmania that may need better interpretation and with gravestones in need of restoration.

If that is an employment opportunity, then ways can be investigated to make it work.

In 2007 I organised the restoration of a grave, raising the funds needed and creating some work for a stonemason. [8]

There are so many ideas that can be explored, including with space development, that the stars are really the limit.

There is no reason why astronaut training could not happen in Tasmania.

With space tourism about to take off, a family holiday in Tasmania could be combined with preparation for a space adventure.

In time there will be space hotels and permanent settlements beyond Earth and people will need to prepare for this future on Earth.

A survival adventure course in Tasmania would be a great way to prepare for surviving in space.

By identifying exactly how we can create a full-employment society on Earth, we will see how to avoid the same old mistakes in space.

There are endless possibilities for creating work that can be sketched out and explored.

If a foundation for real full-employment succeeded in Tasmania, there would be no homelessness, or poverty on the island.

Tasmania would then set a brilliant example for the rest of the nation and other places around the world.

Working together as a community is the only way that under-employment, unemployment and poverty can ever be sent into history.

Success creating real full-employment will increase taxation to the government through wages, reduce the need for so many Centrelink workers, make the job network simply vanish and dispatch scam training schemes off to the dark side.

Work-for-the-dole would no longer be needed, as people would be working for real wages and with honour.

Blindly competing as individuals for an ever larger personal share of the national pie, is the best way to drive up poverty and wreck the lives of way too many Australian children.

We can compete and create wealth, but at the same time we must invest in ways to share the national pie, so that all citizens can be full members of the society.

To participate in the Australian society requires a proper income.

Achieving this will require adjustment to a new economic dynamic, but in the long-run will create greater wealth for the nation, both material and creative.

Some basic objectives of a real full-employment foundation could be ~

A. Ensure that all citizens receive a fair share of the national pie.

B. Ensure that no Australian child is trapped in poverty.

C. Ensure that all able citizens have access to real work with real pay.

D. Ensure that all citizens unable to work receive an income that matches a basic wage.

This can be a national project, driven by individuals and beginning in Tasmania.

If we can create a future that works for all Australians, why wouldn’t we?

REFERENCES ~

[1]  ‘Poverty in Australia 2014’, page 5
Australian Council of Social Service
http://www.acoss.org.au/images/uploads/ACOSS_Poverty_in_Australia_2014.pdf

[2]  ‘Thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans homeless’
Fran Kelly, 6 March 2015, ABC News Online
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/thousands-of-iraq-and-afghanistan-veterans-homeless/6285252

[3]  ‘Automation to fundamentally change the job market within 20 years, says Oxford professor’
Matt Eaton & Nance Haxton, 23 March 2015, ABC News Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-23/automation-will-fundamentally-change-the-job-market-in-20-years/6340512

[4]  ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

[5]  ‘How the unemployed ‘disappear’ and why it matters’
Rose-Marie Stambe & David Fryer, 12 January 2015, The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/how-the-unemployed-disappear-and-why-it-matters-35850

[6]  ‘A whacking stick is not enough to get young people into work’
Kristy Muir, Abigail Powell & Rose Butler, 19 March 2015, The Conversation
http://theconversation.com/a-whacking-stick-is-not-enough-to-get-young-people-into-work-38710

[7]  ‘Co-operatives and social enterprise: are they a replacement for mainstream capitalism?’
Tim Mazzarol, 4 November 2012, The Conversation
http://theconversation.com/co-operatives-and-social-enterprise-are-they-a-replacement-for-mainstream-capitalism-10520?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+5+November+2012&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+5+November+2012+CID_0a067ac95fb97e59de1e5e40b0ea6ce6&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Co-operatives%20and%20social%20enterprise%20are%20they%20a%20replacement%20for%20mainstream%20capitalism

[7]  ‘The Mondragon model: how a Basque cooperative defied Spain’s economic crisis’
Race Mathews, 19 October 2012, The Conversation
http://theconversation.com/the-mondragon-model-how-a-basque-cooperative-defied-spains-economic-crisis-10193?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Weekend+Conversation&utm_content=The+Weekend+Conversation+CID_f4e84730ebd59e0077775a399dbe4444&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=The%20Mondragon%20model%20how%20a%20Basque%20cooperative%20defied%20Spains%20economic%20crisis

[8]  ‘Susannah’s Angel’
Kim Peart, 4 January 2012, Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/susannahs-angel-/

EARLIER ARTICLES ON THIS THEME ~

‘Liberating Australia from an Addiction to Unemployment’
Kim Peart, 16 March 2015, Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/liberating-australia-from-an-addiction-to-unemployment/

‘Help! Saving Australia’
Kim Peart, 6 April 2015, Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/help-saving-australia/

Kim Peart ~ is a visual artist and space development advocate from Tasmania, now living on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and once organised a conference on employment as one of the basic human rights as an event in Human Rights Week in Hobart. Kim is the director of Space Pioneers, which works toward a stellar economy based on the power of the Sun and resources of the Solar System, where poverty will be history and all Earth’s children will share unlimited creative opportunities. Kim will be returning to live in Tasmania in October with his wife, Jennifer and will be looking toward holding a forum to explore ways to create full-employment. Anyone interested in participating can contact Kim and be kept informed about the project ~ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

• Jamie Ward in Comments: Hows this for a crazy idea. Change the welfare system to a job system. Everyone on welfare gets a letter saying they now have a job. Their job is to contribute to the community and help other people. Wages will be the same as the welfare payment. Full employment. Massive boost to the self esteem of millions.

• Kim Peart in Comments: Re: 1 ~ Steve ~  If Australia had focused on being a full-employment society from 1948 onwards, when we signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes “everyone has a right to work” and “just and favourable remuneration” in Article 23, we would be a very different nation now. Could there be one in eight Australian children trapped in poverty, homelessness, unemployment and under-employment in a nation focused on real work with real pay for all able workers? I suggest that the attitude problem can be found in the heart of economic thinking and political culture, which has become addicted to around 5% unemployment to keep the wheels of growth turning, so that the well-of can grab a larger share of the national pie. Income redistribution to the rich is an attitude problem. If we don’t like the spectre of unemployment and poverty growing as ever more wealth is generated for the wealthy in the robot revolution, then we must first address the attitude problem that takes from the poor to give to the rich. While this behaviour continues, people left without hope and forced into poverty, may feel no reason to try very hard, when they are being controlled, disciplined and humiliated by a reverse convict system that offers limited hope to a few. Fighting back can begin with the well-off of this nation turning the tables to create real work with real pay for all able workers. The current system has an attitude problem, which creates an attitude problem among people without hope. It has taken decades to create this problem, but we don’t have decades to fix it. When the problem can be faced honestly and a plan worked out that is honest, then we can begin to fight back against the tide of greed that is creating the rot in the heart and foundations of our Great Southern Land.