With Bob H’s recent passing, the ABC has run a piece on some of his ideologies dating before he became Prime Minister.
He noted that during the 50’s and 60’s we had experienced great social change, with high immigration into the country plus full employment, creating a community that meshed together very well. By the 70’s, as unemployment began to increase, plus under employment (ie part time jobs increasing) he saw that cohesion starting to break down.
One of his solutions for this problem was the idea to support “alternative lifestyles” with land grants and financial support, to help these types of communities flourish. This he predicted would see some people leave traditional employment in favour of these alternatives, and thus open up jobs for people who preferred that style of living.
Hawke noted that unemployment benefits were very low (though I’m betting not as bad as they are today).
Whilst not quite hitting on the idea of the “Universal Basic Income” (that I thought I’d mentioned previously, but can’t find now), it almost amounts to that idea. People who want to work always will, and those who prefer not to work would no longer be labelled as “unemployed”, but receive financial support to engage in - other activities.
Following on from the AI thread/s and future jobs, with a rising part time / casual workforce… this is ever more prescient now, than back then.
It would take a few generations for such a social shift to really become accepted by the wider community, but it’s certainly an interesting concept! I’m not sure if the economics of this idea would come together, but I do suspect that a large % of the population would continue to choose to work, and not just “opt out” of contributing to society.
Bob Hawke, I barely knew you!