Social problems refer to challenges faced by individuals in the day to day living; they reduce the quality of life (Mooney Knox, and Schacht, 2009). Arguably, all human endeavors are designed to counter these social problems so as to make life better and worth living. One example of a social problem is unemployment. It refers to the inability to secure gainful economic indulgence despite the willingness and ability to work at the prevailing payment rates. This paper critically reviews the problem of unemployment and the different approaches that have traditionally been used to arrive at lasting solutions. My motivation to analyze the problem of unemployment has been the fact that unemployment is amongst the commonest social problems and one whose solution can be achieved with just a little effort. The problem of unemployment can also be solved if governments adopted appropriate policies. Sociological approach
It is important to apply sociological approach to the problem of unemployment as it is entirely social. There are numerous related factors that contribute to unemployment. Some of these factors are within an individual and are, therefore, subject to his or her control while others are external and beyond their influence. To solve the problem satisfactorily, the different factors must be looked at keenly. Person-Blame Approach
Person-blame approach is the belief that every social problem arises from individual inadequacies. It is the assumption that people or individuals should be blamed (or should blame themselves) for all the social problems they encounter. This approach advocates for total accountability on the part of the individual as far as social problems are concerned. Whether or not this approach holds any water is subject to discussion. In the case of unemployment, supporters of this approach may assume that unemployed individuals have inadequate skills or expertise, have done little or nothing at all to enhance their skills and talents or they posses irrelevant skills and training. These properties make them less attractive to potential employees. They can also assume that the individuals are lazy or not aggressive enough while searching for jobs. The United States Bureau of Statistics in 2008 estimated that the number of individuals who could not obtain employment because they lacked relevant skills or qualifications stood at 1.7 million and the number was expected to rise in the coming years (Kott and Droux, 2012). These were individuals who had been invited for job interviews, but failed to meet employer’s expectations. System-blame approach
This is the assumption that social problems arise from conditions surrounding a person. In the case of unemployment, most people point an accusing finger at the government for failing to address all the social problems facing citizens. Even with relevant training and skills and sufficient rigor, some people still fail to secure employment. The International Labor Organization reports that at least 196 million individuals worldwide, who represents at least 6% of global workforce, were without a job in 2012 (Kott and Droux, 2012). Obtaining a suitable job has sometimes been associated with having appropriate connections to who is who in the society. The solution of unemployment using this approach requires that several factors outside of the individual are sufficiently addressed. US policies on Unemployment
In order to reduce the rate of unemployment in the United States, the federal as well as the state government have devised different policies; the most popular being the monetary policy and the fiscal policy. Monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve has been used in the United States to address the problem of prolonged unemployment. In most cases, this economic stimulus programs have been effective as they provide almost instantaneous solutions. Here, banks are encouraged to lend out more...
References: Andersen, J. (2002). Europe 's new state of welfare: unemployment, employment policies and citizenship. Bristol: Policy Press.
Kott, S., & Droux, J. (2012). Globalizing Social Rights The International Labour Organization, 1940-70.. Geneva: International Labour Office.
Mooney, L. A., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2009). Understanding social problems (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
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