By Vic George, Paul Wilding
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Additional info for British Society and Social Welfare: Towards a Sustainable Society
For its flourishing, and indeed survival, society depends on people showing a sense of their duties and obligations. There has to be a balance. Stressing The Stability and Instability of British Society 17 one and ignoring the other is a recipe for social conflict. There are no abstract answers to achieving the proper balance; any answer has to be pragmatic and situational. However, the sustainability of society depends on being alert to the need to get the balance right. 9. Contemporary society in Britain will only survive as a living, collective enterprise if people feel involved in decisions about its life and their future.
Fagin and Little's study demonstrated that unemployment affects the health of not only the individual unemployed person, but the immediate family as well (Fagin and Little, 1984). Long-term unemployment has also been linked to marriage break-up (Lampard, 1993) as well as educational underachievement. Evidence also shows that, subjectively, the unemployed consider their well being more unfavourably than do employed persons even after such factors as education, age, health and marital status are taken into account (Clark and Oswald, 1994).
This is true, but the picture is very different if one uses the labour participation rate rather than the unemployment rate as the index of employment. Since welfare benefits for the unemployed are paid for shorter periods in the USA than in Europe, the US unemployed are less likely than their European counterparts to say that they are actively seeking employment and are thus excluded from the unemployment rate statistics. The risk of exclusion from the labour market may be similar, but the official unemployment rate is lower.