After hearing Iain Duncan Smith's announcement about making unemployed people work for nothing, nothing short of slave labour, I racked my brains for suitable art history responses.
I came up with Gustave Doré's vision of the workhouse. Here's a good link on the history of it and poor law legislation. An IDS of the 14th century would have advocated putting the poor in the stocks, or even hanging them!
Living in Hard Times Lane by Herbert von Herkomer (1885) captures the mood too.
Come to think of it, I saw a student reading Dicken's Hard Times on campus the other day. Good primer for the Victorian 2.0 future slowly being unveiled all around us.