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Unemployment - A Psychological Disorder

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Just Yesterday my kid was asking me about the difference it thought processes of rich and poor people. My kid's observation:

- Poor people tend to think that they are poor because of Rich people. Rich people are greedy, manipulative and exploit people in need(greed for some businesses).

- Rich people think it is their own fault that poor people are poor. They are lazy, want everything on their plate and not do any effort to earn anything. Rich people work hard to get rich.

So, who is right? I said I don't have the exact answer and the answer may not be generic. This question is like 'Nature vs. Nurture' question.

Today, I am reading in the Guardian -

Mental health workers protest at move to integrate clinic with jobcentre

Mental health workers and their clients are marching on a jobcentre in south-west London in protest at a scheme they say frames unemployment as a psychological disorder.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced in March that Streatham’s jobcentre would be the first to have therapists giving mental health support to help unemployed people back into work.

The DWP has now said that announcement was a mistake. But by coincidence, next week Lambeth council will open a £1.9m mental health clinic in the same building.

Mental health workers and service users, furious at what they see as an attempt to embed psychological treatment in a back-to-work agenda, were to go ahead with their demonstration anyway.

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Unemployment is not a psychological disorder although it would be naive to suggest that the two topics are entirely unconnected. Being mentally ill will stop you working and being unemployed can cause you to become mentally ill.

Asking if there 'are' sufficiently well paid job is the wrong question. The right question is 'can there be' sufficiently well paid jobs, and the answer to that is yes.

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Is it not stressful jobs that cause mental health problems?

Almost never in my experience. Everyone I know that 'went of work with stress' was bonkers before they started doing the job and, once unemployed, did not get noticeably saner.

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Like all generalisations, this one fails at the first test.

There is a big difference between a 'self made' rich person and someone who became equally rich by lottery / inheritance

Similarly, there is a big difference between a poor person that is happy with her lot (and there are plenty of them) and a poor person that wants to be richer

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It sounds like there's a blatant switch and shift being attempted.

Instead of unemployment (or risk of) causing mental health issues now they're trying to make out that the mental health issues were there to start with.

Maybe there's a compensation (or avoiding compensation) angle to it as well.

Edited by billybong

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Unemployment is not a psychological disorder although it would be naive to suggest that the two topics are entirely unconnected. Being mentally ill will stop you working and being unemployed can cause you to become mentally ill.

Asking if there 'are' sufficiently well paid job is the wrong question. The right question is 'can there be' sufficiently well paid jobs, and the answer to that is yes.

Unless you are on the board of a bank or a politician. In which case it's almost a job requirement.

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Try telling the thousands of miners who were laid off in the 1980s that it was their psychological problems that caused the closure of the pit. Perhaps the government is trying to tell the unemployed that they are all in need of prozac to make them "feel" employed, even in the absence of actual work.

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Like all generalisations, this one fails at the first test.

There is a big difference between a 'self made' rich person and someone who became equally rich by lottery / inheritance

Similarly, there is a big difference between a poor person that is happy with her lot (and there are plenty of them) and a poor person that wants to be richer

Greed

Agree. These points were inferred by a child though. Probably after attending a school debate club.

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All part of the nudge theory being pursued. Fear, uncertainty and doubt. Psychological warfare on the sections of society.

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Travel back in time, find a baby Warren Buffet and place him in the care of a loving but illiterate poverty stricken couple living in a small village in rural India.

Does he still grow up to become a billionaire?

Probably not.

To claim to be a self made man is -at the very least- to overlook the fact that you are expressing the thought in a language you did not personally devise and are operating in a cultural context you also did not devise- so it's not really an accurate statement- the best you can claim is that you maximized the opportunities you were given while others with the same opportunites failed to do the same- which is fair enough.

The problem with blaming the poor for their poverty is that you can't re run the experiment in order to find out if it was their choices or their situation that was the defining factor in making them poor.

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Almost never in my experience. Everyone I know that 'went of work with stress' was bonkers before they started doing the job and, once unemployed, did not get noticeably saner.

My experience is quite the opposite. The people I know who've had a stress related illness through work have all been perfectly sane. It's fair to say that some people are much more adaptable and resilient than others but that doesn't mean that those who find it difficult to cope are nutcases. I think the demands of even the most mundane lower middle management jobs are much greater now than they were say fifteen or twenty years ago. Things move at such a fast pace these days, new technology, endless restructuring and reorganisation, endless strategic reviews, endless penny pinching efficiency drives in order to remain competitive, fear of redundancy - it all takes its toll. And the level of dedication and commitment some companies now expect, even from junior members of staff, is wholly unrealistic and usustainable, and usually not in any way commensurate with the salaries on offer.

Edited by Priced_Out_GenXer

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I think its a problem brought about by our social structure. If we go back to Victorian times say, then most people had to be productive to survive. Because we don't generally live a subsistence life style in the UK we have time to dwell on existential problems that if we were struggling to survive, not simply make ends meet, we wouldn't have time to gaze at our navels and wonder why we are dissatisfied with life.

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You are very rich indeed when you want for nothing.....there are many very rich unemployed people, just as there are many poor employed people. ;)

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Even pre-victorian/industrial revolution, people knew that they had to be productive to survive, however theirs was a much more clear cut position - they saw the connection between physical effort and food on the table. The difference between pre and post victorian times is that in order to survive, you are forced to be productive for - first and foremost - somebody else's gain. Your own needs are met by whatever crumbs fall off the table. In the absence of choice - i.e. you can't just grab some land, build a home and grow food on the rest of it or you'll be arrested or worse. The crucial difference is that most people's only choice is to work for somebody else in order to feed themselves and their families.

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Yossarian learns that even a mental breakdown is no release when Doc Daneeka (Jack Gilford) explains the "Catch-22" the Army Air Corps employs.

As explained, an airman "would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he'd have to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't, he was sane and had to."

Trapped by this convoluted logic, Yossarian watches as individuals in the squadron resort to unusual means to cope

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(film)

Can't help feeling there's a problem like in the Catch 22 movie

crazy-to-work-here_thumb.jpg?w=309&h=220

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Travel back in time, find a baby Warren Buffet and place him in the care of a loving but illiterate poverty stricken couple living in a small village in rural India.

Does he still grow up to become a billionaire?

Probably not.

To claim to be a self made man is -at the very least- to overlook the fact that you are expressing the thought in a language you did not personally devise and are operating in a cultural context you also did not devise- so it's not really an accurate statement- the best you can claim is that you maximized the opportunities you were given while others with the same opportunites failed to do the same- which is fair enough.

The problem with blaming the poor for their poverty is that you can't re run the experiment in order to find out if it was their choices or their situation that was the defining factor in making them poor.

Quite

Warren Buffet's father was a member of the US Congress for four terms

Like quite a few 'self made men' Buffet had people of wealth or influence backstopping his life so he could afford to take risks in his career or even fail.

Not so easy if you do not know where the next meal is coming from.

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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Quite

Warren Buffet's father was a member of the US Congress for four terms

Like quite a few 'self made men' Buffet had people of wealth or influence backstopping his life so he could afford to take risks in his career or even fail.

Not so easy if you do not know where the next meal is coming from.

That is interesting, taking risks with no back up is one of those things you do if you are driven and have total self-confidence. Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how good or clever, if it misses there is a long way down and no one to smooth over the downside of failing. Failure then is traumatic, because it mattered.

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That is interesting, taking risks with no back up is one of those things you do if you are driven and have total self-confidence. Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how good or clever, if it misses there is a long way down and no one to smooth over the downside of failing. Failure then is traumatic, because it mattered.

I am not saying there are not any people from abject poverty who have made a huge success of their life but there are many more successful entrepreneurs who come from backgrounds where there is going to be a second chance if it goes wrong. These people can afford to take risks with their careers so dont necessarily look for the safest job

For example, Richard Branson may have be self made billionaire but his father was barrister and his grandfather a High Court Judge and Privy Councillor. I doubt he would have ended up on the dole if his original record business had failed.

Similarly, Rupert Murdochs father was already a minor newspaper magnate before his son vastly expanded the media empire.

Bill Gates father was a prominent lawyer and his mother sat on the Board of Directors of a number of big companies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Bill_Gates

I am sure there are lots of others like them

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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The idea that you can go out and make it big financially with 'hard work' and 'effort' is an incredible mechanism of control. The way our society is structured is set up to keep people where they are. People look at famous successful people and think 'If they can do it so can I' but they don't see the massive amount of luck that is behind the success. This is deliberate and encouraged by our society who parade these lucky few as paragons of personal success who have found the secret to making it through intelligence and effort. As wonderpup said, opportunities are limited to where you are born, who you are born to and what comes your way. Almost everyone puts in effort and works hard but big 'success' is down to Luck and Luck alone.

The myth that 'anyone' can make it is incredibly powerful. It gives people hope in the same way that buying a lottery ticket gives them hope. One or two people get lucky, and the rest of us keep providing 'hard work' and 'effort' in the vain hope that we can emulate these seemingly superior human beings. All the while we are providing productivity for the government's GDP stats and paying the bank interest on a mortgage. It really is pure genius.

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If hard work was all that was necessary, then much of the developing world would be incredibly wealthy.

Even in this country where there far more opportunities than many other countries - it is striking how a few families have managed to hoover up much of the wealth and in some cases kept it for close on a thousand years.

Having grown up in a poor (by UK standards) family, I was often struck by my university experience that I was starting at least a decade behind of even my middle class peers - never mind those who were truly well off. Nowadays, of course, someone in a similar situation was starting even farther back due to house prices and student debt. I suspect social mobility has reduced rather than increased in the last couple of decades.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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A lot of poor paying jobs are bloody hard work. In fact in my experience the higher up the totem pole you go the easier it gets. So I don't think it's so clear cut.

Also I think a lot of people recognise their own limits, that they will only get so far. If 'so far' isn't far enough to bother then they don't bother.

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You are very rich indeed when you want for nothing.....there are many very rich unemployed people, just as there are many poor employed people. ;)

I want for security.

If I have a house then I have security.

Therefore I'd better buy a house.

Damn, I can't afford a house.

....

[30 years later]

Hmmm, I could afford a house now. Should I buy one?

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