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This Country Desperately Needs to Reduce Unemployment — So Wait Until You Hear the President's Reported Solution

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to the media in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (Photo: AP/Sergei Grits, File)

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has an idea for dealing with the 24-percent unemployment in his country: a legislative ban on being out of work.

Lukashenko reportedly made the comments while discussing Belarusian police's proposal to punish people who "intentionally don't work."

"We need to make these people work using any means we know and can handle," Lukashenko said, according to the Moscow Times.

Alexander Lukashenko Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to the media in Minsk, Belarus, Nov. 30, 2012. (AP/Sergei Grits, File)

The Belarusian president set a Jan. 1 deadline for introducing measures that would help combat what he calls "social parasitism," a phrase that was coined during the Soviet-era in which being unemployed was considered a criminal offense.

The phrase "social parasitism" is based on the socialist belief that anyone who is physically and mentally able to work owes it to their society to do so in order to establish a utopian communist state.

"You want to bring back [the phrase] 'social parasitism,' do it. That would be easier for the people to understand," Lukashenka said.

This most recent development is nothing uncharacteristic of Lukashenko, who in 2012 barred employees of the state-run timber industry from quitting their jobs without approval from a member of upper-management. In May, he took a similar approach to the country's agriculture industry.

While the official unemployment rate in Belarus is less than 1 percent, the International Labor Organization suggests the actual number of people who are out of work (without taking into account the number of children and those who are otherwise unable to work) is 24 percent, or about 2.16 million people out of the nine million people who live there.

(H/T: Moscow Times)

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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