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Sure, but the higher the work-free wage is, the larger the difference between working and not working will be.
I guess you mean lower, not larger. However, that depends totally on the question of how strong additional income is taxes/how strong benefits are reduced, as Bruce pointed out more clearly than I did.

but it have to be linked to forcing people to actively look for jobs.
I don't believe in the wisdom of the gov't. It is very difficult to make a system, which puts pressure on those who don't want to work, and who are willing to exploit every possible trick, without punishing those who are honestly trying to find work.
In the end not too much will change in most western European countries, except the stigma of living a live not focusing on making money.
This can even help to make people doing the things, they are good at, instead of making people do things, somebody invents sometimes only to test the willingness to work, but without practical use.

In the 30s and 40s Gustav Möller was minister, natural resources were cheap and even stupendous work could contribute a lot to the society. Today natural resources are among the core scarcities, stupendous work is often avoidable by machinery, creative actions, that do not immediately produce revenue can be much more worth than stupendous work and the revenues may not be collectible (e.g. open source stuff).
Moreover we are rich enough today, that we can pay enough to survive, but not enough to participate in the general consumerism. Bottom up approaches - such as a market - often do better in being creative and finding well fitting solutions than a top down approachs, that workfare or similar programs will do. In the 30s and 40s coming along was already quite a lot. 750 Euro, a typical students monthly money in Germany, or 9000 Euro/a, is less than 1/3 of the GNP/capita. I doubt that in the 30s and 40s a single could live a rather untroubled live from a third of the GNP/capita.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 12:54:26 PM EST
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