EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Abstracts from The Employment Dilemma and the Future of Work

11.2 The Key Role of a Second Layer of Private Initiative Based Monetarised Employment

We have already suggested the possibility of stimulating or even guaranteeing, at the public level if necessary, the availability of at least a part-time remunerated job. It is on this function that government social policy should concentrate. This is even more important not only because of the growth of the population, but also of the longer active life cycle of which mankind is now benefiting. This official stimulation and in extreme cases provision of a first layer of work should as little as possible interfere with a second layer of work, that resides entirely in the monetarised private sphere. There is a fundamental misunderstanding to be avoided: the development of a public policy aiming to provide a minimum part-time job (roughly of about 20 hours per week or 1000 hours per year) is not conceived as a substitute for private initiative. Quite the opposite, the limited time of work and the relative meagre compensation does not preclude nor discourage, for those who might need to benefit from it, the addition of — or the complete substitution of the first layer by — a second activity which would be entirely linked to their own initiative or in any case to a private type of ‘production’.
We believe that in a modern society the anxiety to remain without any sort of employment should be eliminated as a goal and that this would reinforce the possibilities for private initiative above or at the place of this first-layer work. The second layer of monetarised work is to remain at the centre of the economy, allowing any individual to substitute the first layer completely by taking up a remunerated job of his own preference. As such, the second layer of economic activity corresponds very much to our current system of career employments, but in a very flexible way.
Individuals would be free to decide whether or how much they work on this level. It can comprise as little as one additional hour per week to the basic work layer, for example spent on remunerated private teaching, or as much as 80 to 100 weekly hours, then in substitution of the first layer of course, which corresponds to the work load of economically very active people. Naturally, the monetary income of people in excess of what they absolutely need to subsist above the poverty level depends on their endeavours in the monetarised part of the economy. Payments will be determined in exactly the same way as they are now, leaving this dimension of the conventional system of obtaining income largely untouched.
Compared to our current economy, the second layer of work has to be and will be more flexible since it has to comply with the preferences of very different groups of our society. It will gradually erode the conventional concept of a more or less fixed working week of 40 or 45 hours, adapting the organisation of work to the exigencies of the people involved. As a consequence, it will fit more and more in the interests of those doing it, gaining in productivity through higher morale of those employed.
The second layer of work also provides the means to obtain additional income during retirement via occupational pensions and private capital accumulation and later melting. Traditional state-organised pension systems will be complemented by these two other pillars of the social security system. Already, there is a movement towards enhancing and diversifying future old-age income.

11.3 A third layer of productive non-monetarised and non-monetised work

On top of the already mentioned first and second layers of work, there is a third one. It comprises all fields of non-monetarised work. The work of the third level is in contrast to the previous two unremunerated and totally voluntary in nature. It is therefore a complement in the sense that the active person contributes to the welfare of the society or of a part of the society without any compensation in monetary terms. Many activities that have either no market value or whose market value cannot effectively be assessed are possible activities of the third layer of work.
There is a strong contribution to our society of non-monetarised work and many people are already engaged in such activities. In Germany, the Commission for Demographic Change states a very high activity level of the population: 27.2% of men aged 25 to 34 and 16.3% of women in the same age group are engaged in some sort of benevolent or voluntary work on a regular basis, many of them as honorary members of the board. Most of this work is carried out in the health, social, cultural or political sectors of the economy. This high level of activity remains fairly constant throughout the life cycle. The next higher age groups, those aged between 35 and 44, those between 45 and 54 and those between 55 and 64, display activity levels of 29.2%, 25.4% and 28.9%, respectively. The equivalent female figures amount to 16.3% and then drop to around 13%. This proves the theory of constant voluntary activity during all stages of life correct.
The Seniority Expert Service in Germany expects future changes in voluntary work and the inclination to take up such work: more and more people will probably provide more and higher skilled work without expecting monetary compensation. Especially the elder are willing to share their experience and their personal connections either here or in developing countries with other less fortunate people than themselves.


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