Inflation - Essay Example Economists have defined inflation as the sustained general increase in the price of goods and services (Hart, 2010 p.10). When the prices goes up more money can only pay for fewer goods and services and the currency is said to have lost its purchasing power as the medium of exchange as well as the unit of account in an economy. when the prices goes up the situation is said to be price inflation while the money is in large supply the situation is referred to as monetary inflation((Hart, 2010 p.12). Several other concepts are related to inflation such as deflation which refers to a fall in the price levels generally while disinflation refers to a rate decrease in inflation. Hyperinflation is when the price increase is beyond control (Dwivedi, 2010 p.447). A general belief among economist is that inflation is caused by excess money supply in the economy which pushes demand for both goods and services. The measure of inflation is done through rating the increase in prices over a specified period of time. Inflation rate is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by working out the change in the price index and more so the consumer price index (Frisch, 1983 pg 9). The price index on itself cannot give the rate of inflation but it becomes useful when calculating the inflation rate. This rate is the percentage change rate of price index over a period of time. To calculate the inflation rate the formula below is used The widely used examples of indices to calculated inflation include consumer price index (CPI) which measures change in prices of goods and services(in a fixed basket) purchased by a consumer( Frisch, 1983 pg 12). This fixed basket has goods and services put together and are representative of the economy. The producer price index that measures price change in average as received by domestic producers. It measures the price paid by producers. It differs from the CPIs in that subsidizes in price, tax and profit may cause change in amount
In Britain in the 21st century, community workers are often linked with economic regeneration and consultation, empowerment and capacity building. This is in total contrast with the 1970's when community work was very closely associated with social work. (Twelvetrees, 2003.)
Twelvetrees suggests that at its simplest community work is the â€˜process of assisting people to improve their communities by undertaking collective action.' (Twelvetrees, 2003.) Community work though is not just carried out by community workers, community leaders, support workers and many others may choose to call themselves community workers. The majority of community work is carried out by paid workers and they undertake a wide range of functions.
Community workers are classically seen as a guide or catalyst, enabler or maybe a facilitator. Community workers â€˜go' to the place of the group and can advise its members on how they can do what they want to do. They can also cover roles such as secretary or chair, broker or advocate, but most important being clear about the fact that they must be clear about the role which they are playing at a certain particular time. Twelvetrees, (2003) suggests that community workers should be a â€˜Jack of all trades' who can take on different roles and approaches and are willing to bring them into play in different situations.
Community work therefore has a wide skill base with a great emphasis placed on the ability to make judgements and build relationships with others. Community workers must be able to adapt to each new situation and be able to listen, understand and act in an appropriate way to the situation that they are involved with.
Butcher, (in Butcher et al, 1993) suggests that on the most basic principles community stands for the idea that community is a network of people who share a common interest. For many, community is where they can both have a sociological and psychological link to others. Sociologically they can â€˜be part' of the community and can â€˜identify with' it psychologically. These two factors greatly strengthens the idea that community workers work with groups of people who have a common interest and reason for being together.
Summarising the above Community work can therefore be best described as both a set of values and as a set of techniques, skills and approaches which are linked to these values. Twelvetrees (2003) suggests that these values are to do with justices, democracy, love and empowering, and â€˜getting a better deal' for those who are in some way disadvantaged. Primarily community workers must be able to establish relationships with others see the world through the community's eyes and find ways to assist them to help themselves.
The theory behind most community work is basically about helping people to get a better deal, primarily by making this happen themselves, by being a facilitator and empowering the community groups in which one is working.
Derrricourt and Dale, (in Jacobs et al, 1994) suggests that no one can work in community work long before realising that even â€˜the simplest thing is difficult'. Community work it's self is a task of working with groups of people who may have different ideas but empowering them to come to a mutual agreement and find common ground in order to make the â€˜project' work. In any real life situation within community and youth work there will be pressures and constraints on a worker to operate in some ways rather than others.
Whatever the ideology, the worker must select actions which seem most likely to help the members of the particular community to get a better deal for themselves and become more confident and skilled. Twelvetrees (2003) suggests that while the values of community workers will quite legitimately influence their priorities, they also have to be pragmatic about choosing which approach is likely to work best.
One of the major sources of tension within community work is that some workers can sometimes go into a new project with the agenda already clear in their head, with no room for changing it. By having this approach community workers produce a great deal of tension simply because they are meant to be helping the community it's self get a better deal through empowerment but by coming in with a fixed agenda it suggests that they have it all worked out. This leaves no room for any sort of consultation or community group meetings and can take away nearly all the interest by the residents.
By not using community consultation the residents can very easily loose interest and involvement in a project if they are suspicious of the fact that it is not what they want to see happening. Community workers must be careful to go into a project with an open agenda and the ability to mould the agenda to what the residents want or face tension and the possibility of the lack of support of the community that they are working in.
This happened in my local community. A substantial grant was won to improve the town. The council decided to create a community centre that would house a cyber-cafÃ¯Â¿Â½ and open access hall for a variety of activities. It seemed like a good idea to the council yet the local community just wanted the money to be spent on tidying up the council estate, a new set of playground equipment and a new layer of paint in the church hall that the community had always used.
Unfortunately the community worker and the council did not listen to what the residents wanted, and 5 years down the line the community centre is un-used except by a mothers and toddler group, with the rest of the community groups preferring to use their old hall. This project has tarred the council with a stereotype that they do not listen anyway so the local community has lost any belief in the fact that they are in it for their interests, even 5 years later this still is a lasting view.
Community work often involves inter-agency working. Inter-agency work brings together a range of individuals, organisations and interest groups. By working with these agencies it can bring about tensions between the different managers, and can bring about competition and misunderstandings. Working with different agencies can seem like a good idea but there are many issues that can be raised and these can have a big effect on the overall â€˜community; formed by the worker. Because each agency comes with its own agenda then their will be differences in the organisational systems. Banks et al (2003) states that different agencies have different systems for allocating work and recording and sharing information, this can cause many internal issues surrounding the smooth running of the project.
When trying to work as a community worker to bring about change these issues must be carefully addressed. The tension will always be there because of the different agencies involved with their own interests but the role of the community worker here is to make sure that the project does not suffer and that the issues are dealt with in a open arena. Take for example a youth action project may include the police, youth workers and nurses.
All these come with different agendas, youth workers looking at informal education and welfare, nurses on health and police officers on law enforcement and crime prevention. (Banks et all 2003) All of these different agenda have to be carefully managed in order for the project to be successful. Each agency must understand the importance of the project as a whole and be able to communicate any issues that it has with the other agencies. This is where the community worker can get stuck in the middle, between the different agencies and stuck in with inter-agency politics instead of being out in the community.
Dilemmas also form part of the daily planning for community workers. Take for example the planning of a new project, does the worker go for a big and high profile project that will involve the whole community but may not be very effective due to the fact that it may never reach its goals. Or does the worker settle for the small project that will enable him/her to achieve the desired outcome and be able to address a certain issue that the community has raises like youth â€˜hanging about on the streets'. This causes the community worker to face the fact that he either has to work with all the community, which he is likely to get more funding and support for, or just to focus on an achievable project like talking the youth â€˜boredom' that is happening.
Dilemmas surrounding confidentiality is always a difficult to decide the â€˜right' course of action. Although community workers are not seen as a counselling service, many see workers as a trusted person in the community to talk to. In this situation confidentiality becomes important, but also the rules of breaking confidentiality have to be addressed as well. Confidentiality has its limitations to be enforced and this can cause the dilemma to the worker as to what is ethically right. Should the worker pass the information on or keep the confidentiality that he promised. (Roche, 2004) This issue was brought up when I was working as a youth worker in the local youth club setting. A young woman approached me saying that she needed to talk.
Due to the fact that I had time to spare and she seemed distressed I let her talk and told her everything that she said would be confidential. She then told me that she was getting beaten up at home but did not want to it get out as she did to want her and her siblings to be spilt up. I spent a whole supervisory session talking to my supervisor about confidentiality. In the end I had to break it as a way of helping that young person to escape the endless circle but it was not a light hearted decision. My trust had been broken and since then the young girl has not come back to the youth club, but I know that she is now safe and living with a foster family and her siblings.
One dilemma that community workers often face is the fact of accountability and who are they actually accountable to. Many workers would suggest that they are accountable to the community groups as they are working for what they need but others may suggest that they are accountable to the state and their employer. Community workers are employed by a wide range of bodies, including local authorities, primary care trusts, regeneration partnerships, charities, housing committees, the list is endless. All of these bodies have their own organisational and departmental aims for the community worker's role, and the worker is accountable to in a legal/employment sense to their employer. (Henderson and Thomas, 1992)
In any community work there is the potential for a complex layering system of accountability, as managers may be employed by some agency to mange work funded by their agency. (Banks, 2003) this is where community workers can find them selves pulled in different directions and must always be careful about what they do. In some cases they may have to balance contradictory and compelling demands and attempt to make sense and achieve them in order to carry out the desired aim.
This may be where they community project has been given a set of money from the Church of England for a youth project, this project has then started to deal with people from all religions coming to the project. In order to retain the centres success the worker does not want to ban the youth from the centre due to the fact that they are benefiting from it. Yet the worker is going against the aims of the funding application. In this case the worker has to be accountable to both the Church of England and the youth who are attending the project. In order to attempt to solve this situation then the worker must talk to the Church and attempt to re-structure the funding application so that it can be used across the project and not just on the youth of the Church. (Adapted from Brierley, 2002.)
Bryants, (1982, cited in Jacobs et al) suggests that a community worker acts as a catalyst and has nine skills:
In order to be all these then at some point there will always be conflicting ideas and dilemmas to be addressed. One can not attempt to fill all theses roles of a community worker and still be able to work on a level ground with others. Although all of these are very important the fact that a community worker can relate to others within the community is essential and the skill of being able to accept differences and be able to address these is a skill which is learnt and will always be important in our world of work.
There will always be tensions and dilemmas to address but these must not get us down. We must learn to take everything in our stride and learn from our mistakes, being able to see where we went wrong and be able to apply these lessons learnt to our future practise. Our strategy must be based on a clear awareness of what we as workers are aiming to achieve by our intervention and use negotiation and communication to overcome any difficulties that we encounter.
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