Hyman Minsky, full employment, and political demands

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Jacob Richter
Hyman Minsky, full employment, and political demands

From the Boston Globe article "Why Capitalism Fails":

[url]http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/09/13/why_capitali...

Quote:
But Minsky was cut from different cloth than many of the other big names. The descendent of immigrants from Minsk, in modern-day Belarus, Minsky was a red-diaper baby, the son of Menshevik socialists. While most economists spent the 1950s and 1960s toiling over mathematical models, Minsky pursued research on poverty, hardly the hottest subfield of economics. With long, wild, white hair, Minsky was closer to the counterculture than to mainstream economics.

[...]

In his writings, Minsky looked to his intellectual hero, Keynes, arguably the greatest economist of the 20th century. But where most economists drew a single, simplistic lesson from Keynes - that government could step in and micromanage the economy, smooth out the business cycle, and keep things on an even keel - Minsky had no interest in what he and a handful of other dissident economists came to call "bastard Keynesianism."

[url]http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/09/13/why_capitali...

Quote:
Minsky's other solution, however, was considerably more radical and less palatable politically. The preferred mainstream tactic for pulling the economy out of a crisis was - and is - based on the Keynesian notion of "priming the pump" by sending money that will employ lots of high-skilled, unionized labor - by building a new high-speed train line, for example.

Minsky, however, argued for a "bubble-up" approach, sending money to the poor and unskilled first. The government - or what he liked to call "Big Government" - should become the "employer of last resort," he said, offering a job to anyone who wanted one at a set minimum wage. It would be paid to workers who would supply child care, clean streets, and provide services that would give taxpayers a visible return on their dollars. In being available to everyone, it would be even more ambitious than the New Deal, sharply reducing the welfare rolls by guaranteeing a job for anyone who was able to work. Such a program would not only help the poor and unskilled, he believed, but would put a floor beneath everyone else's wages too, preventing salaries of more skilled workers from falling too precipitously, and sending benefits up the socioeconomic ladder.

While economists may be acknowledging some of Minsky's points on financial instability, it's safe to say that even liberal policymakers are still a long way from thinking about such an expanded role for the American government. If nothing else, an expensive full-employment program would veer far too close to socialism for the comfort of politicians.

I was informed by a US comrade that, had it not been for Tenth Amendment issues, two such employment programs would have been been followed through by FDR.

Notwithstanding this history trivia, what are your general thoughts on this full employment measure?  How does it relate to worker struggles and socialist principles, and how does it fail to do so?  How radical is it, whether reform-enabling on other economic fronts or being at the absolute most that capitalism can offer?

skarredmunkey

Thanks for the link J.R.

Full employment has always been radical (even when it wasn't a fringe idea as it is now). It was a promise made from left to right in the interwar, WWII and immediate post-WWII eras in Britain and elsewhere (and in the US during the New Deal as you mentioned). It seems nowadays to be an idea much more associated with Minsky's "bastard Keynesians" and the old liberals, rather than among today's socialists.

Full employment is a revolutionary idea IMO. Its logic as a concept is inherently opposed to both the "law of the market" and that fundamental tenet of conservatism that tells us that unemployment and class stratification are both natural.

I wish organized labour and the left would talk about this concept more. I'd like to hear a little more about employment rather than just employment insurance. I think the left is afraid to tackle the concept of dependence for a lot of reasons that are obvious and probably justified. I have to wonder in the midst of the debate over EI: what's in it for the federal parties to be at least rhetorically supporting EI and EI reforms rather than the types of things that Keynes and Minsky advocated: massive government-led job creation, investment in infrastructure and public services and wealth redistribution directly to the poor. The simple answer is that one policy is a lot cheaper and easier and a lot less risky for the state than the other.

With the rise of monetarism, the full-employment idea was seen as out of touch among the right, even though it was never really 'in-touch' with that set. It appears to be "old" with the left as well given that there is a degree of consensus among the academic left inside and outside economics (especially those who are social democrats rather than Marxists) who see decommodification and a massive welfare state to protect workers from the excesses of capitalism as preferable to an employment-led or employment-based social policy. The focus on jobs rather than welfare (which is itself an unnecessary dichotomy) is also seen as reactionary or an attack on welfare, all though it need not be.

stellersjay stellersjay's picture

This story caught my eye the other day and left me thinking how can you not like a guy who said: “There's nothing wrong with macroeconomics that another depression won't cure?”

The concept of the natural unemployment rate has always gotten my knickers in a twist, because I've always suspected that it's economists' code for the precise number of workers that need to be unemployed to keep the rest in line. Is it paranoid to wonder how long it will take for a quiet revision of the natural unemployment rate? (The natural unemployment rate is 9%. The natural unemployment rate has always been 9%. We have always been at war with Eurasia…)

skarredmunkey

stellersjay wrote:

...The concept of the natural unemployment rate has always gotten my knickers in a twist, because I've always suspected that it's economists' code for the precise number of workers that need to be unemployed to keep the rest in line.

Yep. It's also a concept accepted by most social democrats because insurance for the unemployed is widely seen as easier and a better option than government-led employment growth.

stellersjay stellersjay's picture

I wonder how many jobless recoveries it will take for a rethinking on that. As more than one poster has noted, the jobs that are disappearing aren't coming back. At some point won't that government-led growth finally be cheaper than insurance for the unemployed?

triciamarie

What insurance?

Many if not most of the workers who are displaced from living-wage jobs will never again find that kind of work. When their EI runs out they are faced with spending the rest of their life in poverty, unless they have contributed to and are old enough to draw on a substantial pension to supplement low-paid work. Retraining programs on the whole are remarkably unsuccessful. Even if workers can access and complete the training -- which excludes the majority -- the jobs are simply not there for these workers changing fields later in life.

Unionist

skarredmunkey wrote:

Full employment is a revolutionary idea IMO.

You bet it is.

About 10 years ago (maybe more?) our union had Ed Broadbent as a guest speaker at a conference. Among other things, he spoke about his work as head of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (now called "Rights and Democracy"), to which he was appointed by Brian Mulroney in 1990 and served till 1996. He dealt with the importance of human rights and the Charter among other subjects.

During the Q&A, I asked him whether the time had not come to recognize additional rights as human rights protected by the Charter - such as the right to gainful employment for those able to work.

His reply was that economic rights should not be entrenched in a constitution. I asked about the right to shelter, food, health care, and education - his reply was the same.

So yes - the right to employment is too revolutionary for some. You are constitutionally free to practise your religion, or to start up a television network, but not to work.

 

 

500_Apples

Because putting guaranteed employment in the constitution will somehow lower the unemployment rate?

Instead of pursuing legal gimmicks, why not push for reality-oriented legislative changes?

Unionist

500_Apples wrote:

Because putting guaranteed employment in the constitution will somehow lower the unemployment rate?

Not sure I follow you. Right now there is no enforceable legal obligation - whatsoever - on the part of any level of government to provide skills training or job-search assistance to a willing able-bodied individual, let alone to actually provide them with gainful employment. Do you foresee some pitfalls in society's recognizing that the right to a livelihood is as fundamental as the right to practise one's religion? Why not start with recognition of the principle, then work to make it a reality?

Protection of freedom of speech in the Charter doesn't guarantee full freedom of speech, but it provides a powerful tool to enforce that freedom which legislators can't easily bypass.

Quote:
Instead of pursuing legal gimmicks, why not push for reality-oriented legislative changes?

This thread is about "full employment". How about naming a single reality-oriented legislative change which would bring that goal closer - keeping in mind that legislation can be gutted or repealed or made inoperative by policy decisions (remember EI then and now?).

 

500_Apples

Any legislation can be gutted, just like full employment can be brought in and taken away, as is being done with the social safety net that currently exists. A friend of mine was recently told by a Quebec doctor he needs to pay $175/year to be his patient, otherwise the waiting list will be longer.

I think a better analogy to free speech would be Broadbent's resolution to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. It was passed with bravado, but nothing came of it. As for free speech, the government does not need to crack down because speech is very well-regulated by social norms and the corporate media. Human rights legislation is by and large a crutch, that gives a false sense of accomplishment at victories that are small, but also yields a large stick for rich, western countries to be self-righteous to the rest of the world. A lawyer cannot bring full employment, he cannot get you a job. Even if he were to have the tools to demand it, he would have no means to specify how it is to be done. Should McDonalds be fined if the manager says they only need 12 new cashies for the new store? Is that logical? No.

I can see it now, one lawyer would argue that we need to invest in the third world, bring electricity to Africa to increase demand for consumption. On his side he would have another lawyer argue for greater investments in technology. On the other side, a lawyer would argue that we need to cut social programs, to cut taxes, that a rising tide will lift all boats. After 25 years of Harper (The way the liberals are going) there would be a stacked bench and the supreme court would no doubt agree. Sounds like a recipe for nightmare.

Frmrsldr

Unionist wrote:
About 10 years ago (maybe more?) our union had Ed Broadbent as a guest speaker at a conference. Among other things, he spoke about his work as head of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (now called "Rights and Democracy"), to which he was appointed by Brian Mulroney in 1990 and served till 1996. He dealt with the importance of human rights and the Charter among other subjects.

 

During the Q&A, I asked him whether the time had not come to recognize additional rights as human rights protected by the Charter - such as the right to gainful employment for those able to work.

Do people have the right to work?

Should there be a corresponding constitutionally guaranteed duty on the part of government to provide employment to those in need of work?

I say, absolutely.

Good post ladies and gentlemen!

Unionist

500_Apples wrote:

Any legislation can be gutted, just like full employment can be brought in and taken away, as is being done with the social safety net that currently exists. A friend of mine was recently told by a Quebec doctor he needs to pay $175/year to be his patient, otherwise the waiting list will be longer.

You seem to be confirming my point, that fundamental rights such as work and free and effective health care need constitutional protection. Empty resolutions or amendable and repealable laws aren't good enough.

 

500_Apples

A constitution is a piece of paper. It can be reinterpreted at will.

Economic and social reality is backed up by social norms, the organization of the means of production, technological change, etc.

Frmrsldr

500_Apples wrote:

A constitution is a piece of paper. It can be reinterpreted at will.

Economic and social reality is backed up by social norms, the organization of the means of production, technological change, etc.

Economic and social reality backed up by social norms are by far the easiest to change. Legislation is also quite easily changed. Constitutionally enshrined rights and freedoms of the governed and corresponding duties and obligations of government are, in fact, the most difficult to change.

triciamarie

The problem with reopening the Charter is that for a virtual certainty this will result in constitutionally enshrined property rights, which would in many cases negate any advantage conferred under the existing protected (or analogous) grounds.

Frmrsldr

triciamarie wrote:

The problem with reopening the Charter is that for a virtual certainty this will result in constitutionally enshrined property rights, which would in many cases negate any advantage conferred under the existing protected (or analogous) grounds.

I don't think that will adversely affect/be adversely affected by the addition of the right to employment/duty to provide employment.

500_Apples

Frmrsldr wrote:

Economic and social reality backed up by social norms are by far the easiest to change. Legislation is also quite easily changed. Constitutionally enshrined rights and freedoms of the governed and corresponding duties and obligations of government are, in fact, the most difficult to change.

I doubt that.

Also, the wording of the constitution may be difficult to change, but the meaning changes easily.

Sometimes this positive, like how gay rights were added in the 1990s, even though Chretien specifically didn't want them in back in 1982.

Obviously, that can go both ways. For example Bush vs Gore 2000 in the USA.

Unionist

triciamarie wrote:

The problem with reopening the Charter is that for a virtual certainty this will result in constitutionally enshrined property rights, which would in many cases negate any advantage conferred under the existing protected (or analogous) grounds.

Yes, right-wingers (including Harper) have proposed enshrining property rights. You think they're waiting for some other demand by working people as a pretext to do their dirty deed? You think fear of that prospect is a good reason not to seek constitutional guarantees for social and economic rights? You think we can't beat them in that battle, so we shouldn't bother pressing our own demands? I'm having trouble following your thinking here.

triciamarie

Not directly. Property rights have long been a pet project of the Alberta neocons who have such political sway at this point. You can bet your bottom dollar that if we reopen the Charter they will not rest until property is added to the list. The reason it is so important to them is because it would give almost unlimited scope to challenge remedial legislation based on infringement of property rights -- not to mention the advantages of a countervailing Charter right in defending against human rights claims.

triciamarie

Generally, yes.

I do also suspect other schemes underway, for example, in Brantford, Ontario, where it smells to me like there has been federal Tory assistance in grooming and massaging the City's response to Six Nations protests as a potential test case contest between inherent property rights vs. the Charter rights of indigenous people.

But by far the easiest way for the right to move ahead with this phoenomenally huge take-back would be to hitch on to a push from the left for reopening the Charter.

skarredmunkey

triciamarie wrote:

But by far the easiest way for the right to move ahead with this phoenomenally huge take-back would be to hitch on to a push from the left for reopening the Charter.

Then the left should oppose it, and if that fails, rally behind the implementation of a Canadian "Social Charter".

Unionist

triciamarie wrote:

But by far the easiest way for the right to move ahead with this phoenomenally huge take-back would be to hitch on to a push from the left for reopening the Charter.

In the meantime, property rights are de facto sacred (without needing Charter protection), while the right to training and jobs is non-existent both de facto and de jure. We're doing real well.

You're sounding uncharacteristically fatalistic, TM. With your approach, workers would never go to the bargaining table or go on strike, for fear that it would be used as a pretext to strip them naked. If the enemies are as powerful as you appear to believe, they don't need an excuse.

 

Frmrsldr

500_Apples wrote:

Frmrsldr wrote:

Economic and social reality backed up by social norms are by far the easiest to change. Legislation is also quite easily changed. Constitutionally enshrined rights and freedoms of the governed and corresponding duties and obligations of government are, in fact, the most difficult to change.

I doubt that.

Also, the wording of the constitution may be difficult to change, but the meaning changes easily.

Sometimes this positive, like how gay rights were added in the 1990s, even though Chretien specifically didn't want them in back in 1982.

Obviously, that can go both ways. For example Bush vs Gore 2000 in the USA.

Your further analysis contradicts your initial doubt.

It boils down to the interpretation of the law. Call me an optimist, but I believe people's rights will be upheld in the end. It is, after all, called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

triciamarie

Unionist, thanks for noting that I'm not usually known for any undue aversion to challenging the powers that be. Laughing

I just think that we have a lot more to lose in a functioning Charter than they do. If we open that door, I can't seriously imagine which of our current two governing parties would be caught dead taking a stand against property rights.

janfromthebruce

Reading over the suggestion of "right to work" such as cleaning streets, providing childcare - I had to laugh. On the one hand, children are always held up as our "most precious resource" and yet, when saying we would provide full employment and thus any person who wants to work could do this - provide childcare belies that faux sentiment.

I couldn't resist this small dig. Another name for this full employment program in the wrong hands is welfare for work. As long as the work is voluntary, paid at minimum wage and not demeaning and publicly shaming than I have no problem.

And I agree, having full employment would maintain stable wages for those higher up on the front line worker scale.

Jacob Richter

I never thought about that irony regarding the absence of child labour, actually.  That is, however, worth a chuckle, if not necessarily a Joker-style laugh.

stellersjay stellersjay's picture

Reminded me of the late, great Utah Phillips, who said in a commencement address, “People are going to tell you that you, our young people, are our most precious natural resource. Have you seen how we treat natural resources?!”

skarredmunkey

triciamarie wrote:

I just think that we have a lot more to lose in a functioning Charter than they do. If we open that door, I can't seriously imagine which of our current two governing parties would be caught dead taking a stand against property rights.

Not to mention the provincial governments which would also have a say. I can't imagine formal opposition by any of the provinces west of Quebec.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it was an NDP provincial government or two that blocked the first attempts to put property rights in the Charter. I wonder if they would still oppose it.

Unionist

skarredmunkey wrote:

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but it was an NDP provincial government or two that blocked the first attempts to put property rights in the Charter. I wonder if they would still oppose it.

Not that I recall. The opposition Conservatives tried something along these lines in a non-confidence vote in the House in 1983 (soon after the Constitution was repatriated), but the motion failed.

 

Ghislaine

Would "full employment" be enforced against potential workers? Would the individual worker decide whether he or she was willing to work or woud a gov't committee? like jan, it wounds somewhat like "workfare". Would someone like me who is saving like mad in hopes to stay home for 4-5 years with kids before returning be allowed to do this?

I agree that there are serious problems right now. One thing that definitely needs to be improved upon is job training - especially encouragement of trades and healthcare professions. Right now, we are heading towards a crisis in terms of plumbers, carpenters, engineers, doctors and nurses.

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

Would "full employment" be enforced against potential workers? Would the individual worker decide whether he or she was willing to work or woud a gov't committee? like jan, it wounds somewhat like "workfare". Would someone like me who is saving like mad in hopes to stay home for 4-5 years with kids before returning be allowed to do this?

No, the government would tell you when to work, how long to work, and how hard. Just like with "freedom of the press", everyone is required to publish newsletters or appear on TV once in a while. Thanks for pointing out the danger of "full employment" policies.

Quote:
One thing that definitely needs to be improved upon is job training - especially encouragement of trades and healthcare professions. Right now, we are heading towards a crisis in terms of plumbers, carpenters, engineers, doctors and nurses.

That "crisis" has been ongoing for years. Do you think there's a more serious shortage in 2009 of any of these groups than there was five years ago? In fact, the shortages are more acutely felt in times of growth. And it's not just an issue of training.

 

 

Ghislaine

unionist, I was just asking questions about how full employment would be enforced in people's minds here on a practical level? Why the snark? I was being serious. I live in a place with very high unemployment, so I am interested in any and all possible solutions.

You are characterizing it more like "freedom of the press". Well, the immediate response to that would be that we already have freedom to work. You just don't have a guarantee of being hired, just as you don't have a guarantee of having your letter to the editor published.\

 

I am not saying that the crisis is new to 2009 or that training is the only issue. However, there are a heck of a lot of people who's parents tell them university is the only worthwhile course and that taking trades at college is somehow a lessor path. Quite a lot of high schools have this viewpoint.

Unionist

Ghislaine, I said clearly that we should entrench the right to gainful employment for those willing and able to work. If you're afraid of people being hauled off to the factory kicking and screaming by some government squad, then of course you don't have to join the fight. These are the kinds of objections or questions which really divert from the discussion of fighting for full employment - at least on a progressive board.

Ghislaine wrote:

I am not saying that the crisis is new to 2009 or that training is the only issue. However, there are a heck of a lot of people who's parents tell them university is the only worthwhile course and that taking trades at college is somehow a lessor path. Quite a lot of high schools have this viewpoint.

Systemic discrimination - by employers, by educational institutions, by trade unions, by governments, by religious institutions, by culture, by fathers, by husbands/partners/boyfriends/brothers - keeps women from skilled trades jobs. Women are told, in a million ways, what kinds of employment are acceptable for them, and that all of those must take second place to their domestic "duties". Besides the non-existence (outside Québec) of affordable publicy-subsidized child care, adequate maternity and parental leave provisions, and easily available and affordable skills training, the drive to open doors to women and give them "permission" to work in skilled trades is virtually non-existent. It is one of the starkest examples of employment inequity that I know - and it pervades every cell of our society. Some women's organizations are active in addressing this scandal, but not enough and without significant support from others.

 

Jacob Richter

Unionist wrote:
No, the government would tell you when to work, how long to work, and how hard. Just like with "freedom of the press", everyone is required to publish newsletters or appear on TV once in a while. Thanks for pointing out the danger of "full employment" policies.

My concern lies more with the type of job assigned rather the the above.  I'm not receptive towards having hazardous jobs on the table, for example.

By the way, isn't the above little different from working in a government job (full time, 40 hours and sometimes more, working harder when urgent projects arise)?

triciamarie

Of course along with universal access to good employment, we will also need universal education and universal childcare. We will need safe workplaces, a healthy environment, better health care, and good access to cheap healthy food, since to be fair, disability benefits will have to be tied to a living wage. And, we'll be needing free legal services for all the hundreds of thousands of employability and job suitability appeals.

No complaints here!

Just think, all it will take is for rich people to give up their excess standard of living.

What's the closest that any country has ever come?

Unionist

Ok, TM, you've made your point very well that fighting for full employment is futile.

 

Jacob Richter

Why?  What it and all other real reforms I have in mind take is class struggle across borders.

triciamarie

No, I think that reopening the Charter at this point would be more than futile, it would be disastrous. But I'm actually really curious to know if any country has managed to support full employment and if so, how did they do it?

And short of that, it seems to me that more modest goals like reducing the work week, or outlawing temp agencies, or tying subsidies to jobs (for real), or even limiting some raw material exports should certainly be within grasp.

Unionist

triciamarie wrote:

No, I think that reopening the Charter at this point would be more than futile, it would be disastrous. But I'm actually really curious to know if any country has managed to support full employment and if so, how did they do it?

First of all, who ever said that putting a line in the Charter would create full employment? We don't have freedom of the press or of association or of conscience or of speech or equality between men and women either. Those take struggle, not just words. But I find it rather stunning that posters here, like Mr. Broadbent, don't think that economic rights are worth entrenching as much as political ones.

Your previous post, however, essentially pooh-poohed the fight for full employment policies by saying that winning such a battle would require winning every other battle first. You weren't talking about the Charter - you were being fatalistic about the fight, as I suspected earlier. That's your prerogative.

As for your question about whether "any country has managed to support full employment", that's a very strange red herring. You are precisely as capable as anyone here of researching that question. But it's as irrelevant a question as asking whether any country has managed to support public health care or same-sex marriage or free education or universal public child care. We fight for those aims because we need them. Tales of others' failures are the stock in trade of those who want to hold back the wheel of history.

triciamarie

All those other battles are not prerequisites for reopening the Charter, they're a few of the considerations for meaningful full employment, and they all get loaded into the analysis at once if we go for a slam-dunk using the constitution.

I could really do without the hyperbolic invective though, Brother. Seriously -- I'm trying to hold back the wheel of history???

What's so fatalistic about my suggestions?

Jacob Richter

My Minsky suggestion didn't necessarily imply a constitutional amendment.

Unionist

triciamarie wrote:

All those other battles are not prerequisites for reopening the Charter, they're a few of the considerations for meaningful full employment, and they all get loaded into the analysis at once if we go for a slam-dunk using the constitution.

Please separate the two issues: 1) the Charter; and 2) fighting for full employment policies. I told a story about Ed Broadbent and his belief that economic rights (jobs, health care, education) don't belong in the Constitution. Why not forget about that for a moment and deal with this question: Should a political party espouse full employment as a policy? Should it engage the population in that discussion? Should it bring in all the elements that would be pre or post requisites? My impression is that your answer is "no", but I'm having a hard time hearing you past your fear of reopening the Charter.

 

500_Apples

Unionist,

What do you mean by full employment policies?

Different economists will give different answers.

Unionist

500_Apples wrote:

Unionist,

What do you mean by full employment policies?

Different economists will give different answers.

Policies whereby society takes all necessary measures to ensure gainful, decent employment for all who are willing and able to work.

triciamarie

I fully welcome public discourse and policies intended to create ample good jobs in Canada. I do not support trying to amend the Charter to this end, for the reasons I have indicated. You were the one conflating the two ideas, Unionist, and somehow in your mind, the fact that I and others like Ed Broadbent (!!!) don't agree with your proposal makes us all fatalists and, variously, non-supporters of economic equality. That's pretty fucking insulting frankly.

500_Apples

Unionist wrote:

500_Apples wrote:

Unionist,

What do you mean by full employment policies?

Different economists will give different answers.

Policies whereby society takes all necessary measures to ensure gainful, decent employment for all who are willing and able to work.

Some economists might point to the right to work policies in the southern united states.

Frmrsldr

triciamarie wrote:

Of course along with universal access to good employment, we will also need universal education and universal childcare. We will need safe workplaces, a healthy environment, better health care, and good access to cheap healthy food, since to be fair, disability benefits will have to be tied to a living wage. And, we'll be needing free legal services for all the hundreds of thousands of employability and job suitability appeals.

No complaints here!

Just think, all it will take is for rich people to give up their excess standard of living.

What's the closest that any country has ever come?

I'll hazard Cuba and Venezuela.

Frmrsldr

triciamarie wrote:

All those other battles are not prerequisites for reopening the Charter, they're a few of the considerations for meaningful full employment, and they all get loaded into the analysis at once if we go for a slam-dunk using the constitution.

I could really do without the hyperbolic invective though, Brother. Seriously -- I'm trying to hold back the wheel of history???

What's so fatalistic about my suggestions?

Constitutionally enshrining the right to gainful employment/duty to ensure/provide gainful employment opens another front in the perennial fight for social justice and human and workers' rights.

What's wrong with that? The struggle continues comrades.

Unionist

triciamarie wrote:

I fully welcome public discourse and policies intended to create ample good jobs in Canada. I do not support trying to amend the Charter to this end, for the reasons I have indicated. You were the one conflating the two ideas, Unionist, and somehow in your mind, the fact that I and others like Ed Broadbent (!!!) don't agree with your proposal makes us all fatalists and, variously, non-supporters of economic equality. That's pretty fucking insulting frankly.

The remark about "fatalism" related to the view that if we fight to entrench rights, the enemies will awake and entrench their own rights. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that. I don't know why you feel "insulted" because I described your response as fatalistic. I wasn't trying to characterize you - because I respect you and your opinions. You obviously feel strongly about what I've said, so I'll apologize and not bother you any more on this.

Unionist

500_Apples wrote:

Some economists might point to the right to work policies in the southern united states.

That's ridiculous. "Right to work" states don't guarantee employment for anyone - they guarantee the right not to have to join a union. Are "some economists" confused by the label? Perhaps they should go back to school and pay attention this time round.

Fidel

The man was obviously ahead of his time. But I distinctly remember my father saying to me that whatever the economy is, it has to have heart. He grew up in the depression era and thought life in the 1970's was easy peasy by comparison. Dad, with the grade nine education and a graduate of hard knocks u.

But is it possible to have full employment? Should we have full employment given the current literature on dangerous climate change and how human activities in general are contributing factors?  Is full employment feasible in a capitalist system, whether mixed market economy or full blown kapitalism? Would it be more wise to limp our way out of the current dysfunctionality of human political economy until such time in the future when today's significant technological hurdles are overcome?

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