For young people today, the situation under capitalism is particularly bad. They are the forgotten generation, dumped by a system in crisis. A new official report from the United Nations reveals that global youth unemployment has now reached dangerous levels.
Despite all the desperate attempts by the Tory-led Coalition government to talk up the latest set of unemployment figures as some sort of “miraculous” recovery with jobs for all, the grim reality is that these figures remain very high. For young people, the situation is particularly bad. Nearly a million UK youngsters (the actual figure is much higher) are officially out of work, with over 250,000 classified as “long-term” unemployed. They are the forgotten generation, dumped by a system in crisis.
A new official report from the United Nations, however, reveals that global youth unemployment has now reached dangerous levels also. The report, issued by the International Labour Organisation, confirms that a massive 74 million people in the 15-24 age range are unemployed worldwide – again, the real figures are much higher. This represents a 12.4% level of unemployment for this group within society.
The official report summary states:
- The number of unemployed worldwide rose by 5 million in 2013 to almost 202 million, a 6% unemployment rate.
- Some 23 million workers have dropped out of the labour market.
- The number of jobseekers is expected to rise by more than 13 million by 2018.
- Around 839 million workers lived with their families on less than US$2 in 2013.
- Some 375 million workers lived with their families on less than $1.25 a day in 2013.
The report continues:
“…employment growth remains weak, unemployment continues to rise, especially among young people, and large numbers of discouraged potential workers are still outside the labour market.”
The report then notes in passing:
“Profits are being made in many sectors, but those are mainly going into asset markets and not the real economy, damaging long-term employment prospects.”
In conclusion the report advises that the situation remains poor even for the so-called developed countries and for the rest of the world, the outlook is very grim. The report also notes that demand in the world economy remains low and uncertain, despite all the bravura talk from the likes of Cameron and Osborne, and that public sector cuts are weighing heavily. The report warns that 35% of unemployed youth in the advanced countries have now been without a job for six months or longer. This is certainly the case in some parts of Britain where the state of the economy can be summed up as follows: non-stop recession. Some of the ruling class are clearly now worried about the possible social consequences of this situation.
At the recent meeting of the rich and powerful at the annual economic get-together at Davos, some of those present even felt obliged to break from the usual discussions about how to make more money in order to raise “concerns” about issues like inequality and youth unemployment. Muthar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola told the Huffington Post “If we are not successful in creating greater opportunities, I there’s a real danger that the social peace and fabric of the world is in danger.”
Of course, at Davos all this was soon forgotten. European leaders are now considering new plans to fight youth unemployment. However the reality is that this is just a cosmetic set of ideas being raised out of fear of what might happen should this crisis remain unaddressed. They are scared of the masses taking action against a system that offers them nothing. So they should be. This scandal of global youth unemployment has exposed capitalism for what it is: A useless system of decay and greed in which the many must pay for the good of the rich few.
Hoping that a few well-funded projects can somehow reverse the situation is a fantasy. Reports such as the one issued by the ILO can recognise the problem yet remain unable to see a way out. They are trapped by the confines of a system which they defend yet cannot find a solution to its own crisis. The only way out is to dump capitalism in the dustbin of history and reorganise society along socialist lines where the resources of the planet can be utilised for the benefit of all. This is not a choice, it is the choice for workers and youth.