Thursday, 8 November 2012

A different kind of unemployment

As news broke today that the number of those without work in New Zealand has increased for the third quarter running, there was yet a glimmer of light in the darkness. The Minister of Economic Development announced that what these people are experiencing is a ‘different kind of unemployment’. In a display of political gymnastics so dynamic the likes of it surely hasn’t been seen since the virtuoso performance put on by Donald Rumsfeld (‘…as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know….’), the Minister danced around the issue majestically. Here he was pirouetting on a series of figures and statistics rattled off at mind-numbing speed, then without a pause, he was deftly vaulting across a raft of principles and promises before nailing a perfect landing right on top of the opposition parties. It was breath-taking.

Now, I’m no expert on unemployment, and certainly no expert on employment (always doing my best to avoid it whenever possible, as I do), and I have to admit that the Minister lost me a little as he effortlessly floated across the parallel bars, but it seems to me that a different kind of unemployment has to be a good thing. It is surely irrefutable that if being normally unemployed means not having a job, then being differently unemployed must, by an act of inescapable logic, mean that you mustn’t not have a job, although at the same time it obviously doesn’t mean that you do have a job. It’s a sort of employment limbo, if you will, or a purgatory where you pay penance for your sins (no doubt the normal unemployment was the consequence of some kind of sin, so it’s only fair some kind of penance is paid). I might be hopelessly wrong on all this – I’m no expert as I said – and perhaps the Minister will enlighten us at some point as to the details, but in the meantime, it’s nice to think that all those people without a job have finally had some good news.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, or should I say, well queried? I too have wondered as to the nature of this different type of unemployment. It will be interesting to find out more.

    Your columns need more publicity...somehow!