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Unemployment as a Lifestyle
All one hears is that the lack of jobs is the number one economic problem. Well documented are endless examples of systemic destruction in employment opportunities. The negative consequences of off shoring corporate jobs are undeniable. Up until now, the little attention placed on the psychological mindsets that build the structural impediments for a healthy main street economy, keep a serious discussion on jobs, just going in circles.
The official attitude that government social agencies exist to mitigate economic distress is a staple ever since the New Deal era. Much of the state of mind that created the welfare society emerged from the “do gooders” in New York State. The result from decades of socialization and educational indoctrination left us with the entitlement culture. One illustration supports the contention.
The NYAPRS, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services provides conclusions from a 2009 survey taken from informants who were consumers of employment services, administrators of state agencies, and community providers.
This research revealed several systemic and structural barriers to employment:
Slow transition to a Recovery-oriented system: The public mental health system New York State continues to have a strong focus on helping people to survive with their illnesses rather than to recover and function with the rest of society. This system does not seem to fully embrace the belief that all people with psychiatric disabilities can work.
Employment is not a priority: The policies and practice standards of the public mental health system, vocational rehabilitation and workforce services do not recognize the harmful effects of long-term unemployment. Therefore, supporting employment has not been a priority.
Lack of a comprehensive system: The services and supports needed for employment are not organized into single system in which people looking for work can get all of the services they need to find and keep a job. Some of the signs of this “fragmentation” include: Service providers have little awareness of outside programs and agencies; Limited inter-agency collaboration leads to complex, repetitive processes to obtain services (e.g., applications, assessments); Poor referral and follow-up practices; Limited ability to combine resources and use funding efficiently.
Charity for the unfortunate is a noble practice, but condemning vast segments of the eligible work force to government reliance, only produces subsistent survival. Note the concept “psychiatric disabilities” that breeds the acceptance that permanent unemployment is the new normal. NYARPS’ solution is more and bigger government.
The philosophical question that society refuses to confront is that work is essential to a healthy life. Most people deny this axiom. Their benefit lifestyle is based upon the tormented thought of actual work as an expenditure of energy and mental stress.