“Welfare Is the Preservation of Labor Power”: Unemployment and Work Relief

David F. Crew

in Germans on Welfare

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195053111
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854479 | DOI:
“Welfare Is the Preservation of Labor Power”: Unemployment and Work Relief

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This chapter talks about the shift from unemployment to work relief. Before the Depression, local welfare offices became the dumping grounds for the unemployed. The Weimar welfare offices wanted to get able-bodied unemployed back into work. Welfare experts were attracted to the idea of work relief because it promised to preserve welfare clients' commitment to industrial labor discipline and their intellectual and physical abilities to resume wage labor when the opportunity arose. Work relief assumed two basic forms: obligatory labor and welfare or relief work. In obligatory labor, the client does not receive a wage but a supplement on top of any support payment. While welfare work enables the client to earn his or her own living. Many Germans found it difficult to separate themselves from a state of unemployment to work relief in the German welfare state in terms of the following: workhouse, correctional education and youth unemployment schemes, and Weimar labor law.

Keywords: Weimar welfare offices; work relief; unemployment; Welfare experts; wage labor; obligatory labor; relief work

Chapter.  8400 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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