I stumbled across the phrase ‘economically inactive’ for the first time, a phrase which pushed all the wrong buttons early on Monday morning and got me worked up.
It says a lot about something, I’m not sure what
‘The number of economically inactive people in the UK is measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and consists of people aged 16 and over without a job who have not sought work in the last four weeks and/or are not available to start work in the next two weeks. The main economically inactive groups are students, people looking after family and home, long term sick and disabled, temporarily sick and disabled, retired people and discouraged workers.
I guess it winds me up because it is saying that if you don’t have a paid job and aren’t looking for one for whatever reason then you are not working. Or rather you are not working with a capital W, work that brings in a wage and contributes to the economy.
So if you are a looking after a sick relative or being a housewife with a few kids you are being inactive from an economic point of view, and that somehow is an undesirable state of affairs.
Perhaps I’ve just got a bee in my bonnet (my wife thought so!), but in my opinion this sort of terminology and thinking adds guilt and shame to people who should have no reason to feel as if they are not contributing to the economy (or THE ECONOMY) or being lazy.
If you are looking after a sick parent with dementia day in, day out for weeks on end you are working as much as the high flying businessman or doctor. We can’t let money or our wage define us, work is so much bigger than something we get paid to do