Open Debate: The Social Contract of Employment

Youth unemployment set to top one million for the first time since the early 1990s.

Nick Clegg announcing a Government funded Youth Contract, that some people on twitter I follow have dubbed ‘Future Jobs Fund: lite’,

Newsnight spoke to some of the young people behind this statistic (along with David Miliband, former Labour Foreign Secretary, and Chris Grayling, Tory Minister for Employment), and Jeremy Paxman who opened the show saying “You’ve finished your education, now you plan to start a career … well forget it because there aren’t enough jobs”.

During the show one young person argued that the economic system should be changed to ensure that young people can work:

“People seem really shocked when you have the audacity to believe that you should want fulfilling work, that you should just be, take anything when quite frankly, when I believe we deserve what we want.”

Paxman: Why?

“Previous generations have had it. If the economic system is not offering us the right opportunities then we should change our economic system.”

I have been thinking on the social contract of employment our citizens can and/or should expect because of this comment and he’s right. Regardless of our political divides; be they Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem or Green; we all submit ourselves to the state in the context that Rousseau outlined in the Social Contract.

Under this proposal it stands to reason that governments should provide a situation, like parents attempt to do, to ensure that their children have more opportunities than they did because of the wisdom of their experiences and the ability of their successes.

It  chimes a cord with the Promise of Britain ideology articulated by Labour Leader Ed Miliband who has outlined that the Promise of Britain “is where each generation does better than the last” following a Labour Prime Minister who delivered results on Education and increased aspiration of young people and their families trying to get them to study at University for a vital degree capable of getting them a job and delivering a good standard of living post-graduation.

Do young people deserve a job they want? Do people deserve a job they want? Or should they be condemned to working a job that pays the bills but doesn’t satisfy them emotionally, professionally or morally. What do you think? Please leave a comment and we’ll debate it out.


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