Letter: Taxpayers should be happy to subsidise the unemployed

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The Independent Online
Sir: I could not agree more with John Philpott that there is a need "for a grown-up debate on solutions to mass unemployment" (9 April). However, the solution he prefers of subsidising jobs for the long-term unemployed does not come near to addressing the long-term problem: the technological revolution is destroying jobs; increasing globalisation means that a growing percentage of work that remains will find its way to low-wage economies.

It is now sadly clear that the vision we had some decades ago of a four- day week and more leisure time for all is a myth only realisable in a benevolent dictatorship - in practice there will be an increasing number working for long hours and little pay servicing the few who are also working long hours, but for a lot of pay.

But even with growing wealth there will not be enough service jobs for all. We need to change our attitude to employment. Instead of despising those who do not want to work, should we not be grateful that there are some who are happy to lead their life without it?

Should we not be encouraging the "drop-outs", be happy that they are willing to live on a minimum income, and not begrudge the fact that, as taxpayers, we are subsidising them?

Janet Falush

London SW13

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