It is now being increasingly recognised that the modem State must guarantee the right to work to its citizens. But it does not mean the right to some particular work. If I become unemployed, I have not the right to be provided with an identical work.
The right to work, also, implies that the worker must be paid adequate wages for his labour. He should be able to get enough of food, clothing, and shelter, including some comforts. If his wages are just sufficient to procure the bare necessaries of life, he is liable to become a physical wreck.
Human machinery requires proper greasing and oiling if it is to work effectively and efficiently Comforts not only lubricate human machinery, but make life something more than a mean satisfaction of ugly wants. Then, the worker must work only for reasonable hours. Human labour is subject to physiological and psychological limitations.
Long hours of work mean frustration of personality as the worker has no leisure for creative work. The thing that makes a man a citizen is thought. If he has no time to think he loses the quality of a citizen. A good citizen means a good State. There is, accordingly, a “civic limit” to the energy “the State can, for its own sake, permit him to expend.”
Few States outside the former Soviet Russia have legally recognised the right to work. But no State can any longer afford to ignore it. There are two alternatives before the State. It should either provide work for every citizen, or make some provision for his maintenance so long as he remains unemployed.
Unemployment insurance is a solution for the second alternative. Similarly, the State should intervene and see that the workers get adequate wages consistent with a decent standard of living and they are employed for reasonable hours of work, giving them ample leisure to develop their minds.