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Disabled people, work and welfareIs employment really the answer?$
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Chris Grover and Linda Piggott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447318323

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447318323.001.0001

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A right not to work and disabled people

A right not to work and disabled people

(p.239) Thirteen A right not to work and disabled people
Disabled people, work and welfare

Chris Grover

Linda Piggott

Policy Press

With the rise of industrial capitalism from the late 18th century, wage labour was organised in such a way that it disabled impaired people by excluding them from the one activity – wage labour – by which people were expected to secure their income. However, the current mix of neoliberal economics and communitarian-based notions of obligation that drive welfare ‘reform’ in the Britain oblige disabled people to work. This obligation to work is enforced through economic and social less eligibility that puts disabled people in a position where materially and culturally they have little choice but to engage with work. However, wage work – that by its very nature is exploitative – can be considered to be disabling and a right not to work is as defensible for disabled people as a right to work. An alternative view is that socially necessary activity that is self determined, freely entered into and based on greater choice and control could provide a way forward that does not define ‘social value’ solely as ‘productive value’.

Keywords:   capitalism, communitarian, disabled people, less eligibility, neoliberal, productive value, right not to work, wage work, welfare reform

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