04/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Unemployment In The US: How Long-Term Unemployment Might Affect American Society

There is unemployment, a brief and relatively routine transitional state that results from the rise and fall of companies in any economy, and there is unemployment--chronic, all-consuming. The former is a necessary lubricant in any engine of economic growth. The latter is a pestilence that slowly eats away at people, families, and, if it spreads widely enough, the fabric of society. Indeed, history suggests that it is perhaps society's most noxious ill.

The worst effects of pervasive joblessness--on family, politics, society--take time to incubate, and they show themselves only slowly.

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