123 Int'l Lab. Rev. 221 (1984)
Local Employment Initiatives in Western Europe

handle is hein.journals/intlr123 and id is 235 raw text is: International Labour Review, Vol. 123, No. 2, March-April 1984

Local employment initiatives
in Western Europe
I. Introduction
The rise and persistence of unemployment in most of the market
economies of Western Europe during the last decade have led to a
questioning of many assumptions previously taken for granted. The expan-
sion of industrial operations and the building up, by merger or amalgamation,
of vast commercial and financial institutions had frequently been thought of
as the very essence of economic growth and a concomitant, if not a cause, of
full employment. For millions of people - in the OECD countries the figure
is 34 million and rising - the reality has proved to be very different.' The
humiliation of finding no employment and the resulting sense of deprivation
have affected them materially, physically and psychologically, in particular
young people seeking to enter the labour market without success. As
widespread unemployment has persisted and grown in duration 2 they have
begun to feel that at least two of the main traditional providers of
employment can no longer be relied on to come to their rescue, namely
government in the public sector, and large-scale industry and commerce in
the private sector. Predictions of the end of the recession in world trade and
of a resurgence of national economies are met with increasing cynicism and
disbelief, and there is in any case doubt as to how far any upturn would make
good the massive losses of employment opportunities now being experienced.
As a result, self-reliance, an ideal long since acclaimed as appropriate for
less developed countries, is being practised increasingly (though not yet
widely) by the unemployed in industrialised market economy countries. As
always, successful self-reliance appears to result from the spontaneous
reaction of individuals and groups at the local level to the situation in which
they find themselves, rather than from the application of a doctrine handed
down from the centre with implementation entrusted to officials brought in
from outside. Indeed, the manifestations of self-reliance in the creation of
employment have not conformed to any specific pattern in Western Europe.
The notion varies with the physical, socio-economic and cultural characteris-
* Centre for Employment Initiatives, London.

Copyrigbt C International Labour Organisation 1984

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