Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Solving Poverty In the New Normal Era
A social welfare critic in a recent Catholic Peace Weekly article predicted that the 'New Normal' era will be one step closer, ahead of what most countries predicted. The spread of corona19 has changed what was unusual to what is normal: social distancing. Elementary, middle, and high school students are entering this new normal. Non-face-to-face consumer life is our new everyday life—online school, telecommuting, robot cafes, and unmanned stores.
Analysis of social issues can be conducted through offline and online lectures, but it is still a cautious situation mentioning the effects of the new normal era when our society is not ready. Besides, the high unemployment rate is a big concern. The hardest hit were subcontractors, non-regular and special employment workers, and unregistered migrant workers who were forced to return to their home countries after being fired—unable to find another job. Even though the government announced plans to raise the level of subsidy for employment maintenance and lower the conditions for a subsidy, about 8.5 million people will still be overlooked.
Attention to a universal basic income as a policy facing the Corona 19 pandemic is debated. Thomas More and John Stuart Mill suggested this as a solution to poverty many years ago. The point here is that the state regularly pays individuals so that all citizens enjoy a minimal human life.
Basic income builds empathy in that it can eliminate blind spots and reduce welfare management costs as a solution to poverty due to reduced jobs and increased inequality that the upcoming science and technology revolution will bring. On the other hand, by reducing the willingness to work, it can cause social boredom and debauchery, and increasing taxes to secure financial resources has faced overwhelming opposition in many quarters.
Pope Francis regards unemployment as a global tragedy and has repeatedly emphasized the importance of jobs. To give dignity to humans labor is more important than money— better to work steadily through a job. Labor is not only concerned with the ability to take responsibility for oneself and others, but it also has great spiritual significance and values that must be respected. The Pope believes that for true human development to take place, labor must be guaranteed, and the common good, stable employment ensured by the logic of solidarity, true growth of the community is achieved.
This issue will be with us for some time and debate on the pros and cons will be part of the New Normal era. The writer believes that this is the only viable alternative since this cannot be done only by strengthening the existing welfare system.
Rather than politics and ideological debate on welfare policy, we need to prepare a practical plan for change by facing reality and identifying it accurately. The state cannot solve everything. A response to the New Normal era that came without notice is to focus on the human dignity of the person and labor.