Letter: Remedies for unemployment: community work and shared sacrifice

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is disturbing implication in today's leading article on the growing level of unemployment. You state that 'If (the unemployed) were in work, living standards would be higher not merely for them but for all of us.' Naturally, the scourge of unemployment has to be overcome and you present several sensible proposals to that end. However, it is absolute folly for the rest of us to seek higher living standards at a time of international pressures of mass unemployment, hunger and a growing refugee problem. In addition, there are compelling ecological arguments against still higher levels of consumption by wealthier nations.

President Clinton is right to seek a sacrifice from middle-class Americans. If the international middle classes are not able to face up to the challenge of an absolute cut in living standards, while retaining employment, then the future is bleak indeed.

Yours faithfully,

SIMON SWEENEY

Sheriff Hutton,

North Yorkshire

19 February

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