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Cover Poverty and Development

8. Unemployment and Making a Living  

David Wield

This chapter describes the issue of unemployment and ways of making a living. Rather than simply being characterized by unemployment, in less developed areas work is often characterized by its complexity and diversity. The level of complexity is arguably increasing as all around the world there has been an increase in the diversity of ways of making a living, with more part-time wage work, more self-employed, and informal activities, and more flexible work systems. Often, rather than people being unemployed, a major issue is that many work extremely hard but at levels of low productivity, receiving low financial recompense, and thus remaining in relative poverty. They require opportunities for better quality and better remunerated work. Understanding of policy issues is improved by applying the concepts of commodity and subsistence production, reproduction, and waged and unwaged work, as well as an appreciation of how ways of making a living combine these types of work.