Saturday, August 23, 2014

what about job guarantee/employer-of-last-resort schemes?


How ELR addresses some of BIG’s goals without introducing its disadvantages.

While the primary objective of an ELR is somewhat narrower than that of BIG—it only aims to eliminate unemployment while maintaining stable prices—it accomplishes a number of goals that are important to BIG advocates as well.

Most importantly, ELR does not introduce inflationary pressures. The ELR wage unit maintains a relatively constant purchasing power of the dollar—the dollar will be worth the amount of labor it can hire out of the ELR labor pool. This is a major advantage over basic income. ELR does not introduce inflationary pressures for several reasons. The most important one is that it fixes the value of the currency to the labor bufferstock wage.

ELR does not suffer from the inflation trap characteristic to BIG and if the wage is set at the living wage level (something which most job guarantee supporters favor), neither does it have the unemployment or poverty trap that BIG proponents fear. Note that ELR is strongly countercyclical, rising when the private sector downsizes. BIG does not—everyone gets her check no matter what is happening to the economy. ELR helps to stabilize the economy; BIG does not.

Like BIG, ELR is universal and purely voluntary. We strongly object to punitive conditionality criteria or demeaning means-tests—as do BIG proponents. Furthermore ELR jobs provide not only an income but also socially valuable goods and services.

Among BIG advocates Van Parijs, for example recognizes that even a colossal BIG program may not resolve issues such as inadequate housing, education, healthcare—all key components of a decent standard of living. Parijs acknowledges that a BIG must be part of a more comprehensive social policy that includes other programs, but very little discussion is devoted to how we can ensure these other necessities are provided.

What ELR offers is a vehicle for achieving many of the goals that society democratically determines are worth pursuing. If the goal is the adequate provision of care for the young, sick, and elderly, then ELR can explicitly incorporate these services in its institutional structure. If it is deemed that communities require environmental cleanup, then ELR jobs can be targeted specifically to solving these problems. In other words ELR can be designed as an open and flexible program that can serve many societal needs. ELR can also broaden the meaning of work by recognizing certain activities as socially useful and by compensating for them. By extension then, through the many forms of community involvement which are now recognized as legitimate ELR jobs, we foster advanced citizenship, reciprocity and social cohesion.

Finally ELR increases efficiency. By training and educating workers and maintaining them as gainfully employed, ELR also enhances human capital, thus the detrimental effects of idleness and unemployment are avoided. ELR also increases efficiency because it increases production, maintains human capital and protects the environment.

In conclusion, BIG and ELR share many of the same goals and objectives. BIG proponents oppose ELR because they believe it promotes the fetish of work. ELR proponents advocate providing jobs to those who want to work. In their view, ELR is compatible with BIG, and so they do not oppose it. ELR proponents would prefer NOT to send a Big BIG payment to all as this would devalue the currency. However, if we are going to have a BIG for all, it is still necessary to offer ELR so that those who want to work have the opportunity to get a job.

ELR supporters do agree that we need decent incomes for all. Most people can achieve decent income through work so long as their wage is high enough. Others will need income not related to work—some form of BIG. Hence, ELR supporters are not opposed on principle to BIG. They just want to get the horse (jobs) before the cart (decent incomes for all).

also, a page with lots of info about BIG..

from Lizard's Ghost

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