Is it reasonable to conscript the unemployed in the army?

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chris1989
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12 Mar 2024, 12:08 pm

I don't know why but I seem to feel that when there are unemployment problems in one's country, one of the reactions from some people would to say that the unemployed should join the armed forces. It just kind of irritates me a bit because I mean of course there are people out there who are very lazy, unmotivated and have no aspiration without working but I seem to think that the argument is being directed not just at those people but even those who became long term unemployed through no fault of their own, may have long term physical or mental health issues that need treatment or are trying and struggling maybe similar to how I was before I started doing paid work.

My concern is, is that if unemployed people were forced into the armed forces, many might decide to leave or escape or those with who have already got anxiety and mental health issues might just probably make it worse for them. It might be helpful for some people but not others.

I remember a guy saying that my country (the UK) was built on press gangs but I mean press gangs were people who basically kidnapped people and forced into the navy during the Napoleonic era. Surely we don't want those types of things going on in the 21st century kidnapping the long term unemployed and so on into the armed services.



funeralxempire
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12 Mar 2024, 1:15 pm

No, probably not.

You've already hit on one of the concerns, that the 'work shy' and other long-term unemployed might have mental and/or physical issues that prevent them from working. Even if those issues don't amount to qualifying as a disability, they might still make one virtually unemployable. How exactly will those people be made useful to the armed forces if they can't pass basic training?

Beyond that, you'll need to be able to pay them for the service. If there isn't enough money set aside in the military budget to cover the cost of expanding the armed forces it'll mean something else is getting cut. That means acquisitions or maintenance will likely be where the money comes from.

Conscription tends to be bad for morale.
Uneducated soldiers aren't able to learn the skills required to be effective soldiers.

Rounding up the least capable people in your society and forcing them into the military seems like a plan designed to piss off the highly skilled, career, volunteer soldiers that a modern military is built around.


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blitzkrieg
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12 Mar 2024, 1:19 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
No, probably not.

You've already hit on one of the concerns, that the 'work shy' and other long-term unemployed might have mental and/or physical issues that prevent them from working. Even if those issues don't amount to qualifying as a disability, they might still make one virtually unemployable. How exactly will those people be made useful to the armed forces if they can't pass basic training?

Beyond that, you'll need to be able to pay them for the service. If there isn't enough money set aside in the military budget to cover the cost of expanding the armed forces it'll mean something else is getting cut. That means acquisitions or maintenance will likely be where the money comes from.

Conscription tends to be bad for morale.
Uneducated soldiers aren't able to learn the skills required to be effective soldiers.

Rounding up the least capable people in your society and forcing them into the military seems like a plan designed to piss off the highly skilled, career, volunteer soldiers that a modern military is built around.


^ I have seen that exact concern voiced by military personnel in the UK army when they were quizzed about conscription in the news media. Career soldiers don't want conscripts in the army who are inferior to them in terms of skill and also who often don't want to be in the army in the first place.



funeralxempire
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12 Mar 2024, 4:27 pm

blitzkrieg wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
No, probably not.

You've already hit on one of the concerns, that the 'work shy' and other long-term unemployed might have mental and/or physical issues that prevent them from working. Even if those issues don't amount to qualifying as a disability, they might still make one virtually unemployable. How exactly will those people be made useful to the armed forces if they can't pass basic training?

Beyond that, you'll need to be able to pay them for the service. If there isn't enough money set aside in the military budget to cover the cost of expanding the armed forces it'll mean something else is getting cut. That means acquisitions or maintenance will likely be where the money comes from.

Conscription tends to be bad for morale.
Uneducated soldiers aren't able to learn the skills required to be effective soldiers.

Rounding up the least capable people in your society and forcing them into the military seems like a plan designed to piss off the highly skilled, career, volunteer soldiers that a modern military is built around.


^ I have seen that exact concern voiced by military personnel in the UK army when they were quizzed about conscription in the news media. Career soldiers don't want conscripts in the army who are inferior to them in terms of skill and also who often don't want to be in the army in the first place.


Agreed, but I'd add inferior in terms of commitment alongside inferior in terms of skill. No one likes to be stuck babysitting people who don't want to be there and who have no incentive to do more than whatever the bare minimum is.

People end up either seeking to create entertainment from, or seeking to exploit or seeking to avoid becoming invested in tasks they're forced to do against their own will. Who wants to work next to someone who constantly f***s around, or is just looking for things to steal, or who is as actively lazy as possible?


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DanielW
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12 Mar 2024, 4:39 pm

no, not unless there is a draft of all of the general public already in effect.



cyberdad
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12 Mar 2024, 4:41 pm

Nope



blitzkrieg
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12 Mar 2024, 4:42 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
blitzkrieg wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
No, probably not.

You've already hit on one of the concerns, that the 'work shy' and other long-term unemployed might have mental and/or physical issues that prevent them from working. Even if those issues don't amount to qualifying as a disability, they might still make one virtually unemployable. How exactly will those people be made useful to the armed forces if they can't pass basic training?

Beyond that, you'll need to be able to pay them for the service. If there isn't enough money set aside in the military budget to cover the cost of expanding the armed forces it'll mean something else is getting cut. That means acquisitions or maintenance will likely be where the money comes from.

Conscription tends to be bad for morale.
Uneducated soldiers aren't able to learn the skills required to be effective soldiers.

Rounding up the least capable people in your society and forcing them into the military seems like a plan designed to piss off the highly skilled, career, volunteer soldiers that a modern military is built around.


^ I have seen that exact concern voiced by military personnel in the UK army when they were quizzed about conscription in the news media. Career soldiers don't want conscripts in the army who are inferior to them in terms of skill and also who often don't want to be in the army in the first place.


Agreed, but I'd add inferior in terms of commitment alongside inferior in terms of skill. No one likes to be stuck babysitting people who don't want to be there and who have no incentive to do more than whatever the bare minimum is.

People end up either seeking to create entertainment from, or seeking to exploit or seeking to avoid becoming invested in tasks they're forced to do against their own will. Who wants to work next to someone who constantly f***s around, or is just looking for things to steal, or who is as actively lazy as possible?


Yeah, I imagine conscription is bad for everyone in the army.

I think it would only be necessary when using people as cannon fodder, from a military higher-up perspective.



funeralxempire
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12 Mar 2024, 5:09 pm

blitzkrieg wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
blitzkrieg wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
No, probably not.

You've already hit on one of the concerns, that the 'work shy' and other long-term unemployed might have mental and/or physical issues that prevent them from working. Even if those issues don't amount to qualifying as a disability, they might still make one virtually unemployable. How exactly will those people be made useful to the armed forces if they can't pass basic training?

Beyond that, you'll need to be able to pay them for the service. If there isn't enough money set aside in the military budget to cover the cost of expanding the armed forces it'll mean something else is getting cut. That means acquisitions or maintenance will likely be where the money comes from.

Conscription tends to be bad for morale.
Uneducated soldiers aren't able to learn the skills required to be effective soldiers.

Rounding up the least capable people in your society and forcing them into the military seems like a plan designed to piss off the highly skilled, career, volunteer soldiers that a modern military is built around.


^ I have seen that exact concern voiced by military personnel in the UK army when they were quizzed about conscription in the news media. Career soldiers don't want conscripts in the army who are inferior to them in terms of skill and also who often don't want to be in the army in the first place.


Agreed, but I'd add inferior in terms of commitment alongside inferior in terms of skill. No one likes to be stuck babysitting people who don't want to be there and who have no incentive to do more than whatever the bare minimum is.

People end up either seeking to create entertainment from, or seeking to exploit or seeking to avoid becoming invested in tasks they're forced to do against their own will. Who wants to work next to someone who constantly f***s around, or is just looking for things to steal, or who is as actively lazy as possible?


Yeah, I imagine conscription is bad for everyone in the army.

I think it would only be necessary when using people as cannon fodder, from a military higher-up perspective.


I think typically you'd want conscripts to not being facing direct combat, at much as possible. You use them for logistics and support roles, while better trained volunteers perform more of the fighting.

Cannon fodder generally isn't a viable tactic, especially not in democracies.


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blitzkrieg
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12 Mar 2024, 5:11 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
I think typically you'd want conscripts to not being facing direct combat, at much as possible. You use them for logistics and support roles, while better trained volunteers perform more of the fighting.

Cannon fodder generally isn't a viable tactic, especially not in democracies.


Those are good points.



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12 Mar 2024, 6:41 pm

chris1989 wrote:
Is it reasonable to conscript the unemployed in the army?
Only in a time of declared war.

Enlisting in the military as a "last resort" when civilian employment seems unlikely is more reasonable.


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chris1989
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18 Mar 2024, 7:39 am

I remember my dad telling my step brother who was getting ready to go out and doing his hair and saying imagine if there was a war and there be no time to do any of that.



Aspinator
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18 Mar 2024, 8:06 am

I personally feel that the draft should be for all people not just the unemployed. The draft could be for any type of public service not just the military.



shortfatbalduglyman
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18 Mar 2024, 11:16 am

DanielW wrote:
no, not unless there is a draft of all of the general public already in effect.


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Conscripting only the unemployed for military: socioeconomic discrimination

Either conscript everyone (that fulfills Department of Defense Military Exam Review Boards standards) or nobody



funeralxempire
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18 Mar 2024, 12:09 pm

shortfatbalduglyman wrote:
DanielW wrote:
no, not unless there is a draft of all of the general public already in effect.


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Conscripting only the unemployed for military: socioeconomic discrimination

Either conscript everyone (that fulfills Department of Defense Military Exam Review Boards standards) or nobody


I'm pretty sure socioeconomic discrimination in that sort of situation ends up being accepted as justified. Some of the qualifiers typically are socioeconomic in nature, others closely correlate with finances (like being in school). Others might correlate less closely, like being married with a kid at a young age.

There's certain jobs they won't want to draft people from (like arms manufacturing, to maintain expertise) and there will be certain fields that they need people from (like anything related to logistics, to benefit from their expertise).

Widespread conscription often is a part of changing a country's economy to be focused on war. If the only use they have for someone is fighting, odds are they'll get given that role.

But, the counterpoint is that a significant portion of the long-term unemployed and unhoused tend to have other issues that would make them unsuitable for service, so even if some factors lead to discrimination that favours drafting them, other factors will lead to discrimination that hopefully causes them to be weeded out early on.


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MrsPeel
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22 Mar 2024, 11:36 pm

We're having a lot of youth crime around here, and it makes me think maybe getting everyone to do a year of national service after school might be a good thing.
Not just the unemployed but everybody. And not just for defence but for building projects, disaster relief work etc.
Seems like a win-win for everyone as we'd get government projects going and get youngsters into employment or at least help them get used to the discipline of having to get up to work every day.



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23 Mar 2024, 6:30 pm

If the army mainly consists of conscripted unemployed or poor people I think the politicians are more likely to view the soldiers as expendable. It's important the thought "It could be my son or daughter" is hanging over the people with power as a sword to keep them back a little bit.


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