Thirty years of flexible working combined with welfare reform and 5 million working people on minimum wage, and a tsunami of human tragedy appears to be heading our way. Thousands of families are about to end up in the grey economy, living off the books to survive, and outside society’s norms and protections.
This deregulation of working life is a deregulation of our states of mind, a legacy of mental illness in the making. When we live and work in toxic environments we get sick, and whatever the philosophers amongst us might think about the mind–body split, it’s likely that mental health problems will soon be appearing at venues near you.
In this recessionary context, suggesting that dealing with mental health requires sorting out your politics might look like avoidance or ideological pedantry on a par with punching kittens. I like animals, but surviving the current regime of employment relations and public policy involves keeping our political wits about us and working out which side we’re on.
Workplaces have taken a perverse turn, and I mean that in its Freudian sense…
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To read more about Surviving Work, see http://survivingwork.org