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Wed Apr 30, 2014, 10:42 AM

Can We Have More Jobs and Less Work?

Can We Have More Jobs and Less Work? These folks seem to think so --

Act Locally » April 30, 2014
In an age of overwork and unemployment, economists look at novel ways to solve both problems.
BY Jessica Stites

Few would argue that 2014 is a great time to be a waged worker in the United States. The unemployment rate remains high, and that’s not accounting for the droves of people who have dropped out of the workforce entirely. The jobs that do exist are often low-paid and precarious. Workers work longer hours and are more productive than ever before, but wages still have stagnated.

One solution proposed by two progressive economists—Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economics and Policy Research, and Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities—has been “getting back to full employment” (which is the title of their 2013 book, a follow-up to their 2003 book, The Benefits of Full Employment). Full employment doesn’t mean completely eradicating joblessness, but Baker and Bernstein argue that if the government can decrease unemployment to an equilibrium such that everyone seeking work can find it relatively quickly, it will stanch the fiscal pain of the unemployed and help boost workers’ bargaining power—resulting in not just more jobs, but better ones.

Another influential economic thinker, Kathi Weeks, a women’s studies professor at Duke University and author of The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries, has made the case that any solution to our current crisis of work must address the fact that work has consumed our lives. She calls for a radical “anti-work” politics that recognizes the social, economic and personal value of the things we do in our off-hours. To this end, she advocates for implementing policies like fewer work hours and a universal basic income.

Much more here: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16550/more_jobs_less_work

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Reply Can We Have More Jobs and Less Work? (Original post)
TBF Apr 2014 OP
Joe Shlabotnik Apr 2014 #1
TBF Apr 2014 #2
socialist_n_TN Apr 2014 #3

Response to TBF (Original post)

Wed Apr 30, 2014, 05:04 PM

1. I can see the merits of both of their arguments,

but I have to lean towards Kathi Weeks concept of unconditional basic income for a few reasons. As long as we are saddled with capitalism, its the best way to ensure that human rights (food, shelter, healthcare, education), and also the Environment are protected.

I'm actually not so pessimistic that a guaranteed basic income is impossible, in fact I think those on on the far left and far right could find much common ground. The problem is that I don't trust our current crop of leaders to do anything to advance mankind, as they are quite satisfied with the status quo, and would only seek to profit from such a change.

In Canada, healthcare is divorced from income or employment status: as it should be. The next step is to divorce human rights and equality from employment status.

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Response to Joe Shlabotnik (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 30, 2014, 06:28 PM

2. I like Kathi Weeks plan as well -

and it will be interesting to see how similar plans work out in Europe.

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Response to Joe Shlabotnik (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 30, 2014, 06:40 PM

3. Yeah, I like the second option too........

But "...I don't trust our current crop of leaders to do anything to advance mankind..." That's it in a nutshell right there and that's why IMO, it's going to take a revolution rather than reform to change things. And with the way the economic drives the political (Koch whores in Congress and all), it WOULD be difficult to trust the current political system with any sort of real change to benefit the rest of us. They ARE too invested in the current system to let it go for something new, even if we voted a whole new crop in office.

Even a Congressional majority of Kshama Sawants would have a hard time really changing capitalism into socialism with the way the entrenched power structure is now.

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