Many developed countries have unemployment benefits. Even America, which believes in individual responsibilty and the free market, have unemployment benefits. The leaders in these countries know that the unemployment benefits can be abused, but they still provide these benefits as, in their judgement, the good outweighs the abuses.
In the free, competitive market, people compete for jobs. Some win and other lose. The losers gets unemployed. They have families to feed. In a weak economy, it is not easy to find an alternative job that can pay an adequate wage for their needs. Should they have to borrow and pay a high interest charge? Do the family have to grow hungry? Some have to resort to crime to get some money. Is this a good outcome?
What about people who are lazy and will enjoy the unemployment benefit, without working? These countries have found many ways to overcome this problem. Some countries, fix a limit on the duration of the unemployment benefits. In America, this is usually 12 months, although it has been extended due to the extremely weak economy. In other countries, the unemployed worker is required to attend job training and interviews, and to accept reasonable offers. They can only get the unemployment benefits, when jobs are not available.
These measures are not perfect, but they work reasonably well. If this was not the case, they would have been stopped.
What about countries, such as Singapore, that do not provide unemployment benefits? It is important to have personal savings that can be drawn down to meet emergencies, such as unemployment. Most young people are able to get jobs. They should set aside personal savings of 15% to 30% when they are young. These savings should be invested in financial products that can be withdrawn easily, without paying a high penalty. They include stocks and bonds traded on an Exchange.
Tan Kin Lian
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