Real choices for mothers and their partners requires a social investment state that supports families throughout their life course.
Of course, at first sight it is laudable but then …
Would it not be even more laudable and plausible to establish another reference as the words of Bertrand Russels who suggests in his In Praise of Idleness
that four hours’ work a day should entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life, and that the rest of his time should be his to use as he might see fit. It is an essential part of any such social system that education should be carried further than it usually is at present, and should aim, in part, at providing tastes which would enable a man to use leisure intelligently.
(l)eisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the few was only rendered possible by the labors of the many. But their labors were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is good. And with modern technique it would be possible to distribute leisure justly without injury to civilization.
Isn’t the rhetoric of “social investment”, seen in connection with targeting choice between family and career, not only wrong by way of reducing social policy on a labour market instrument, but also by way of misguiding the understanding of work? Isn’t it with such social investment perspective also established as private matter through the backdoor? Instead of paying for childcare privately the state (or possibly private public partnerships) ar paid in kind, through the work they do instead. Redistribution of wealth has to go hand in hand with redistribution of work. Indeed, Nicolas Bueno in his short Introduction to the Human Economy makes a point that is surely interesting enough to overcome the idea of social investment as a social policy. He writes
Once human beings are delivered from being thought of as mere producers of economic value, a part of the time and energy that was before only dedicated to producing goods and services can be used in order to create something else. But what can individuals create with their human potential? Human benefits.
A visit of Peter Herrmann, currently guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy/Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik [section social law], Munich, Germany, will be giving the coming first week of Mai two lectures in Maynooth, Ireland, at the Maynooth University’s Department of Chinese, directed by Dr. Lu Zhouxiang.
The first lecture deals with
One Belt – One Road [OBOR] – One World – From Economy of Comparative Advantage to Socio-Politics of Cooperative Progressing.
The second is looking at
One Belt – One Road – One World – Digitisation of Life as Chinese Lifestyle
These lecturers, made possible in particular by the engagement of Dr. Lu Zhouxiang. Herrmann, who is himself visiting scholar at the Department in Maynooth, will contribute from his experience of having lectured and researched for some time in China – Bangor College of Central South University of Forestry & Technology, ChangSha, and Zhejiang University, School of Public Affairs, Dept. of Social Security and Risk Management, HangZhou, PRC. This will establish links to theoretical debates and establish as well reflections from the global experience Herrmann gained over the years.
in any case it is interesting to see how, now, from different angles, what had been claimed to be a European Social Model, is now openly attacked from different sides: fortress, including the appalling measures by the Hungarian government; Greece earlier (and ongoing) , the reductions of social provisions and education (via cuts, privatisation and “managerialist dictates”) and and and … and now …
The European Court of Justice decided on 15th September that member states can impose greater limits on the rights to benefit of EU migrants in other countries. EUobserver explains that if a person works for less than a year, then benefits can be suspended after six months, and the claimants can be deported.
I wrote, earlier this year, that “The UK can legitimately deny benefits to EU workers if, and only if, it denies benefits to British workers on the same basis.” It seems I was wrong. Britain, and other European states, can now come to the decision that a European worker might not be enough of a worker to be treated as one, and European migrants who work do not have the same rights as other workers. That drives a cart and horses through the principle of free movement of labour on equal terms.