Does Unemployment Lead to Self-Loathing?

Can a whole generation suffer collectively from self-loathing? A British politician believes that it can — and that it is.

We hear a lot these days — and scientific research confirms it — about young Americans being raised by their hypervigilant, always-hovering “helicopter” parents to become insufferable narcissists who feel entitled to the best of everything regardless of whether or not they’ve done anything to earn or deserve it. This is what happens when every player in a tournament receives a trophy just for being there, and when grade inflation results in automatic As.

But Ian Lavery, a member of parliament representing the town of Wansbeck in Northumberland, said during a debate last week in the House of Commons that 23% of the region’s 18-to-24 year-olds are unemployed, and that this dismal state of affairs is affecting their self-esteem. Lavery and others have begun calling northeastern British youth “the Lost Generation.”

“This is an extremely important issue and it has not really been touched on,” he said during the debate. “A survey by the Prince’s Trust only last year found that 40% of jobless young people suffer from some form of mental illness.

“They suffer from suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks. … I have great concerns about the Northeast.”

How does high unemployment — especially among the young, which is chronically high in this country as well — affect self-esteem? Has losing a job, or being unable to find one, ever affected your self-image? How?


Does Unemployment Lead to Self-Loathing? — 3 Comments

  1. i have the kind of job where we are asked to jump rope as best/hard/fast as we can and then leave the game. people come and go but the three of us stay put. we are in our fifties, menopausal, exhausted, and don’t have anywhere else to go. desperation washed away our self-esteem quite some time ago.

  2. The capitalist system deliberately cultivates unemployment. It’s called the ‘Reserve Army Of Labour’.

    Politicians don’t admit to it (because there’d be riots) but the closest any politician has come to acknowledging its existence was Margaret Thatcher who called it “natural unemployment”.

    It serves several purposes:-

    As a deterrent against strikes and workers asking for better wages and conditions

    To keep inflation low

    To provide employers with a surplus pool of labour in case of industrial disputes

    For the Reserve Army Of Labour to be willing to fill all vacancies, good or bad it needs to be desperate and for it to be desperate it has to be made to suffer.

    So the unemployed suffer financially and culturally.

    They are demonised by our culture, media and society which all impacts upon mental health. Society tells them they are ‘scroungers’, ‘losers’ etc… and unfortunately some start to believe it.

    One of the cruelest things anyone can say to an unemployed person who is desperately trying to find work is ‘get a job’, because the truth is – there are more people than jobs and this has been planned.

Leave a Reply to Anneli Rufus Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>