DO unemployed persons benefit from the existence and functioning of international bodies? Have agencies such as the United Nations, the World Bank, International Labour Organization, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, African Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and Group 8 (G-8) solved unemployment in developed and developing nations.
These organisations need to be aware of the importance of devising and implementing efficient, relevant and effective policies in reducing unemployment and socio-economic problems.
These international agencies need to ask themselves- are these policies strengthening economies and alleviate distress or has the conditions deteriorated? Are they providing the necessary guidance and nurturing of developing countries until they can be sufficiently independent? International financial organisations must be more humanistic in their outlook.
Some organisations are sympathetic and sincere but others are unscrupulous and remain aloof from the suffering, unemployed masses. Thus, the policy-makers and discontented must carefully weigh their options and long-term impact of decisions and treaties before entering into agreements.
Developed countries must answer the question: is debt reduction or cancellation a permanent solution? In attempting to solve problems- are international institutions providing short-term or long-term solutions? Are policies in need of restructuring? What are the alternatives for producing tangible benefits for the grassroots population? Are these policies reducing unemployment or creating havoc among the poor and unemployed?
It seems there is an underlying attempt to maintain the status quo and the unbalanced nature of development. Unemployment should not be accepted as normal in any country.
Usually, growth and improvements occurring in cities are not truly reflective of the productivity and development of a nation. There is unequal progress as rural areas tend to be neglected. Internal migration from rural to urban areas contributes to relatively high rates of rural unemployment. Indeed, unchecked industrialisation and unplanned urbanisation result in disproportional growth and increased urban unemployment.
It is essential to empower the poor with skills and initiate schemes to combat rural and urban unemployment. The promotion of more grassroots organisations and the development of domestic and sub-regional markets will diminish unemployment rates. There is now a growing need for expertise to train and advise locals on strategies to boost private and public sector growth.
Citizens must be included in the campaign to eradicate unemployment. Giving someone a job is empowering someone. Unemployed persons partly reflect economic and political mismanagement. Frustration, discouragement, idleness and depression are prevalent among the unemployed. It is an attack on democracy and freedom whenever able-bodied and willing persons are denied jobs. Obtaining a job should be one of the basic human rights.
The burden of eliminating unemployment must not be on the shoulders of a few humanitarians and philanthropists. Now is the time for direct action and visible results. Educating and increasing public awareness and dealing with unemployment is necessary. Ideas and plans need to be properly assessed, enforced and monitored. Obviously, when we stop paying lip service and offering token assistance, only then we can seriously embark on our mission to rid society of unemployment and other problems.
There is too much useless talk and wasted hours at conferences, in the media, committees, seminars and workshops on unemployment. New terminology, superb speeches, commissions, grandiose ideas of an alternative economic system and books filled with ideas on eradicating unemployment and poverty have failed to materialize. Why bother with irrelevant matters and insignificant issues when millions of our fellow humans are poor, oppressed, suffering, hungry, dying and unemployed?
There is a need for enhanced collaboration with NGOs, trade unions, civil society organizations, volunteers, international bodies and concerned citizens to ensure relief for the unemployed. The need for networking cannot be overlooked. Among developing and developed countries, there is a need to strengthen the bonds of friendship and encourage the exchange of ideas, technology and labour.
We all belong to humanity’s quilt and no nation, class, religion, gender, tribe, caste or ethnicity is superior or better than another. It is critical that the unemployed make a pledge to send a powerful and urgent message requesting that differences and divisiveness be put aside and there be unity to combat unemployment.
Is there a willingness to permanently eradicate unemployment? One of the main reasons for the continuation of unemployment is that people are too busy fighting among themselves and thus unable to understand the larger disparity between haves and have-nots.
Dr Jereome Teelucksingh is a recipient of the Humming Bird (Gold) Medal for Education and Volunteerism. He is attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Indies at St Augustine. He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.
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