Skip to content

“Life without Work” now and a century ago

October 30, 2010


I came across an interesting BBC 2 documentary yesterday, entitled “Life without Work” and the second episode in this two-episode series. It tells the story of four inhabitants of York, who have recently become unemployed, and compares their situation to what it would have looked like a hundred years ago. It was namely a century ago that Rowntree undertook his ground-breaking research that would serve as a starting point for our contemporary way of thinking about poverty and social welfare, not only in the UK but across the globe. Rowntree basically set-up the very first household survey by visiting all working-class households in York and documenting their standards of living. He was also the one that developed our concept of absolute poverty by deciding upon a minimum standard of living below which he considered people to be poor. The documentary focuses not so much on Rowntree’s contributions to our understanding and measurement of poverty but rather on his research into unemployment. It follows four individuals in York that were recently made redundant and the different ways in which the welfare scheme in the UK  helps them or fails them. Given that the welfare scheme is here now partly a result of Rowntree’s research, it is striking to see that still so many fall through the cracks of the scheme and unemployment might still cause people to live in destitution. The documentary is an interesting insight into how a welfare system might work for some but not for others and makes you wonder what it takes to get it right.

Life without Work, BBC 2 online

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Do u know more permalink
    November 7, 2010 9:41 pm

    hi I saw this too but when is the next episode or was that final?

    • Keetie permalink*
      November 7, 2010 10:38 pm

      I think there were only two episodes to this documentary…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: