Monday 11 October 2010

UK tops joblessness league, apparently

Another day, another hand wringing report,  issued this morning. Firstly, it is Monday and let's face it those of us on the way to the office this morning are likely to be filled with pangs of jealousy amongst the rage the report is trying to generate.

The report says that the UK has more non working households than Germany or France. Given we have not such a greying population as Germany, perhaps things are worse than we think.

There are some big questions raised here though - the biggest one for me is just how huge is the black market in Britain. With high taxes and high benefits it seems the system is designed to make people actively seek out the black market route.

The few people I know who claim benefits all do cash work on the side, c'est la vie.

I am less worried by the number of workless households (although per se this creates difficult inter-generational issues) being compared to France and Germany. In France the idea is that you only have part-time jobs in any event and they don't even try and count the workless of the banlieue. Plus who knows what figures the CPS study is using to compare as they have not deigned to release the full report yet except the to Daily Mail.

Anyway, my money is on the black market being much bigger in the Uk than the Government allows for; it is not something 13 years of New Labour wanted to shout about, but today we live in the Country of their making.


Anonymous said...

A thriving black market in what is beginning to look like one of the world's more authoritarian, over managed, over spied upon, and over regulated society? I don't think so.

I'll go along with your thesis amongst some immigrant groups, but your stereotypical indigenous unemployed family on a Leeds council estate, repeated a million times up and down the land, is exactly what it appears - unemployed.

Obsidian said...

The local rag has an article on sunny Rochdale, one district has 84% of it's population on benefits.

Round my neck of the woods quite a lot of those also have a sideline, such as prostitution or drug dealing, and make a pretty penny out of the whole affair.

Anonymous said...

Errrr... John East said:
A thriving black market in what is beginning to look like one of the world's more authoritarian, over managed, over spied upon, and over regulated society? I don't think so.
Actually John, in such societies (Breznhev's Russia for instance) the informal economy is the only part which does work.

Bill Quango MP said...

semper: I agree.

[Its not remotely relevant but my favourite story of Breznhev's Russia is a black marketeer selling burnt out light bulbs for MORE than the price of new ones. Anyone know why?]

Demetrius said...

I recall vividly the informal economy of the 1940's. It is my instinct that there is a great deal of it about at the moment from head banging stuff to boot fairs.

Obsidian said...

@BQ, you piqued my interest with the used bulbs, and googled this

For most of us, it is hard to fathom the rationale for a market in burnt-out light bulbs. But in the scarcity-driven Soviet economy, the market was entirely reasonable. Light bulbs were rarely available to individual consumers, but were obtainable for state-sponsored activities. Thus, it would be difficult to purchase a light bulb for a new lamp in one's home, while burnt-out bulbs in state-run offices or factories were routinely replaced. So if someone purchased a new lamp and needed a bulb, he would buy a used light bulb for a small fee and replace a functioning bulb at work with the dud. He would then take the functioning bulb home for the new lamp, while the burnt-out bulb at the office/factory would be replaced with a new functioning bulb. Meanwhile, the maintenance person at the office/factory would take the used bulb and sell it on the used light bulb market.

Bill Quango MP said...

Obsidian: Perfect!

Always useful to remember when some socialist worker type extols the virtue of a centrally planned economy.

The other one I like is of some post-communist officials coming to the UK to see capitalism in action.

Amazed at the plentiful supply of food in every shop and absence of queues one asked their UK host.

"But who decides how much bread should be delivered to London each day ? "

and the very surprising answer..

"No one does."

James Higham said...

They used to produce eggs in villages, then take the train to Moscow to claim their portion back.

Anonymous said...


The UK now is Italy of the '60s & '70s but without the sun and olive oil.

Steven_L said...

Everyone round here smokes bootlegged tobacco and watches fake DVD's while they are still out at the flicks.

I oftne wonder how many of those big 25L vats of oil you see in the shops these day end up in the diesel tank too.

John Thomas said...

Of course "If you pay in cash I won't charge charge you VAT (of course it won't go through the books)we are all winners except HMG" It is like the "Fools & Horses" comedy "No income tax, no VAT......"
when in business everything went through the books and I made nowt.

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