Monday, 8 December 2014

Crazy Idea 21 - Bring back conscription

No, I’m not proposing we start a war or send our unemployed marching into the Middle East. I am however wondering if forced conscription would resolve some issues with some of my other crazy ideas.

Love them or hate them (I think our armed forces are fantastic), the military have consistently shown they can transform people.

Earlier I proposed the crazy idea that establishing full employment would help fix the economy. There are currently two million claiming Job Seekers Allowance in the UK and nine million people economically inactive. That’s potentially a lot of jobs to create!

Some of those people are currently unemployable.

Conscription after the last World War enabled people to learn discipline; learn trades and skills; receive a wage; and earn respect.

There seems to be a fair few people out there who would benefit from that sort of conscription.

People who sign up to the armed forces still benefit from learning discipline and trades and skills. It is possible to have your education paid for through the military, to become a professional in many different fields. The military have an infrastructure suited to taking large numbers of people and training them. What if we could transform that infrastructure and use it to mobilise a workforce millions of people strong?

Imagine how our economy could be transformed by radically increasing the number of skilled and trained people while at the same time reducing the number of unemployable individuals.

Swords into ploughshares anyone?

I would apply this radically. If the government has offered someone a job and they’re unwilling to work, conscript them for a month. If after that they were still unwilling to work, try three months, then six months…

Would it cost money? Yes.

Could conscription be a way for some people to escape the trap of poverty and unemployment they currently can’t get out of? I believe so.

Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: There's a short bio here.

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