The commercialisation of poverty

Farming out the care of our own to others doesn’t work.

Why would we think it could?

When governments award contracts to for-profit providers from overseas, who is the main stakeholder in the deal?

Not the employers, not the job seekers, not even the local economy. It’s shareholders. And in the case of several large Disability Employment Service (DES) contracts, it’s shareholders from overseas.

People who know me understand that I have not a thing against investment. My own not-for-profit DES makes a healthy surplus, which we retain to support our business and promote the ability of people with a disability (which, not surprisingly, in turn supports our business).

A great example is our Focus On Ability Film Festival, which we have now been funding, organising and supporting in kind for ten years. We get no economic return from this. That’s not why we do it. We do it to increase in awareness of the ability of people with disability all over the world. We do it because people with a disability get to be the centre of a positive story. We do it to keep real and have fun and celebrate our clients.

NOVA Employment can only do this because we have been around for almost three decades, through lean and rich times and all the times in between. We can only do this because we think big, have clever, vibrant and hard-working staff, and keep the interests of our job seekers top of mind all the time.

We do not seek to make money off the back of people in poverty.

I repeat: we do not seek to make money off the back of people in poverty. Surely the commercialisation of poverty is the very worst that capitalism can produce?

All for-profit providers are making money off the back of people in poverty, such as job seekers with disability.

If you think this sucks as much as I do, get in contact. Let’s rally!

- Martin Wren