The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self- sufficient.
But our systems of state charity – aka welfare – have too frequently had the opposite effect: they have actually created dependency. It is time to re-think the way we help people.
I’m going to suggest something that many might find upsetting and outlandish – that welfare would be more effective, more varied, more widespread and affordable if there were no state involvement. Read on …
The task of accounting for the economic impact of unemployment is complicated by the fact that there are different types of unemployment and not all types have equal impact on economic welfare. Workers aged 15 to 24 represent about a quarter of the world’s labour force, ranging from 8 to 16% in Europe and North America to 18% in China, 23% in India and 28 to 30% in most parts of Africa. Youth employment is of crucial importance since it reflects on the capacity of the society to generate sufficient job opportunities for the next generation and to prepare them adequately to avail of the opportunities. In marked contrast to previous recessions, rising levels of long term unemployment is a striking characteristic of the current economic downturn in the USA and other OECD countries. In the USA, 46% of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months and their jobs are unlikely to come back.