It is a “hard labour camp” in the sense that you’re required to work there if you want to eat, i.e. if you want to live. You won’t be shot or beaten for not working – you’ll just be left to die – but the outcome is the same. It’s healthy to see that you have Stalin as a yardstick for what counts as going too far, right? And even in the gulag, reduction of rations or transfer were often the punishments given to those who refused to work. No transport costs, either.
Europe is gradually introducing an underclass in each state by turning jobseekers’ allowances into a pay well below minimum wage in exchange for doing government work or work for private companies which have the government’s favour. This underclass replaces labourers which used to be, well, paid a regular wage for what is regular work. The UK, for example, has recently begun Work Programme, and was last week planning to add to this a scheme whereby the government pays a proportion of certain employees’ wages for a fixed amount of time so employers don’t have to. It’s all about special interests keeping a cheap fund of desperate workers.
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