POST 10 – A Fair Go: Collectivisation could be key to social betterment

James Meland-Proctor

In class I spoke with Nathalie about her proposal for her issue, which focused on the pay gap and gender imbalances in workplaces. She explained that certain industries are either feminized or male dominated and that perhaps mentoring was a way to address that. Her proposal was for an app, which networked employers with people for mentorships in the hopes to focus on women more, but overall address gender issues in the workplace head on. While she maintained that women did not have their fair share of work opportunities, she was hesitant to make it a solely female focused issue – with her desire to help male teachers and nurses, whilst still providing a means to give women a leg up in important business roles. If there is one thing I have learnt from my colleague is that my design solution is not something that will end the issue all together, rather just lessen the effects of a small facet of that issue. It becomes difficult sometimes to remind yourself of this, but at least when focusing super close on a small part of the problem, it creates traction and leads the path for other innovations and ideas. This was especially evident through idea sharing in class as my own design proposal improved after my peers heard about it.

Earlier this year in September, Falzon (2016) wrote an article titled ‘Australia does not have a welfare problem’. Now that title aptly summarizes my positioning on social inequality in Australia, in that every year the gap between rich and poor Australians widens with certain groups of people being disproportionately affected by these changes. It has been overall a growing global phenomena that the level of opportunity in developing countries is not as good as it used to be. In Australia particularly, we see this through the privatization of tertiary education, the rise of graduates trained in areas where there are few jobs, and politicians attempting to welfare services and public money where they can. Honing in on social welfare as a response to addressing a very large problem, I have envisioned why it is there are problem surrounding welfare payments and why it is so easily overlooked by politicians and the public. There exists the perception that people who take welfare payments are somehow bludgers and scammers. The main reason I have deduced for why this is, is that because while corporate welfare for businesses, hourly rates, salaries and bonuses are all things that are determined by the market while welfare is taken from tax payer money. Understandably, people may disagree with how their taxes are spent, however a study showed that more money was spent giving money to corporate welfare over lifting people out of poverty.

 

In deducing the reasons for stigma surrounding welfare, I thought that what if there was a welfare system which instead of being government and tax payer funded that it was entrenched in the market. There exist hundreds of insurance, superannuation, and other companies which work to invest and make money for their stakeholders. By empowering young people on youth allowance or single mothers on Newstart to take an active participation in their financial situations, you are starting to remove the stigma and even dissolve the ideas around social welfare payments as being a cop out. The service would still act as a way for people to pool their resources, but like people on these payment systems they are not getting resources for free, they still have to work to make what they would ordinarily earn from a lower income job. While I am still figuring out how exactly the service would work.

  1. You would pay a fee, the business then trades with other business and earns a premium/profit for themselves and then doles out payments to people when you need them
  1. You join, you purchase a scheme that is right for you and your needs, the businesses harnesses the buying power of all members, and offers things like health insurance and other deals (OurGo, 2016)
  1. People come together to use their collective purchasing power to negotiate and unlock things that were inaccessible to them individually, such as housing or certain medical and health procedures.

In this sense, financially marginalized individuals are taking their economic futures into their own hands by participating in market systems together like an institution.

 

 References

Falzon, J. 2016, Australia does not have a welfare problem. We have a poverty problem | John Falzon, the Guardian. viewed 27 September 2016, <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/20/australia-does-not-have-a-welfare-problem-we-have-a-poverty-problem&gt;.

OurGo | Join a new campaign to help young Australians take back their economic future 2016, OurGo. viewed 27 September 2016, <https://www.ourgo.co/how-it-works&gt;.