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How to Fight Poverty Through Full Employment


How to Fight Poverty Through Full Employment

Dean Baker

One of the most effective ways to combat poverty among current and future generations is to maintain a full employment economy. The point should be straightforward: when the labor market is strong, or “tight,” it offers increased employment opportunities for those at the bottom. Disadvantaged workers are not only more likely to find employment in a tight labor market, they are also in a better position to secure higher wages as employers are forced to compete for labor. This can allow millions of workers the opportunity to raise themselves and their families out of poverty.


The economic model based on growth presumes a planet with infinite resources. In contrast, Earth Mother is already in stages of overload and collapse in far too many places.

This, to the contrary, is wise:

"For example, spending to promote clean energy—whether in the form of research or subsidies for the use of solar and wind power—will lessen the damage that we do to the environment, leaving less harm for future generations to deal with. Spending on physical infrastructure and mass transit will speed transportation times and reduce gas use. Money for education will give us a better trained and more productive work force."

Much could be done to improve energy efficiency, draw people into communal and community activities where those with experience pass their knowledge onto the young (and others). Such activities would be the prelude to ushering in a model of life based on appreciating the intangibles... not what money can purchase in the way of goods and services.

I have 2 closets full of clothing... much of it is 30 years old and/or purchased at consignment shops.

I think lots of Americans have plenty of clothing.

Back in l990 when Ted Turner called on writers to present new visions for a healthier future for mankind, I penned a novel. In it, there were Recyclatoriums... cool places, part museum, part shop, part curio center that essentially created venues where one person's excess became another person's treasure.

People interested in the same things lived together on Pods and their hours--logged into a computer-based time-bank (with everyone's hour considered equal, regardless of their species of service or expertise) were used to purchase things of need to the group.

Today's products are sold to individual consumers and most are designed for quick obsolescence. The result is not only a culture of inordinate waste: there's an entire virtual continent of plastic trash thrashing about in the central Pacific.

The consumer model that looks at the living world as endless resources to use up... or cannibalize is pretty much an Easter Island Recipe for the 21st century.


"Finally, we can move towards full employment by reducing the supply of labor, specifically by lowering the average number of hours that people work."

The above won't work if the hourly wage is not lifted substantially. How many temp. workers today don't work enough hours to cover basics? How many are on ridiculous rotating schedules that wreak havoc in the lives of single parents? How many have no benefits due to these hour cuts... in part due to the 40-hour threshold tied to employers covering "Obama care."

Plus, with corporate robots like Cruz and Paul Ryan carrying water for entities like the Koch Brothers, there will be major resistance to lifting wages so that shorter weekly hour commitments allow families to survive!

Until the U.S. is able to liberate itself from the grip of the billionaire boys' club and corporate oligarchs, the positive remedies that work in Europe's Social Democracies won't be ALLOWED here. That's one of the key reasons why the mainstream media refuses to air Mr. Sanders' speeches or messages.


Someone needs to point out that full employment could be an effective way to fight poverty?

Water puts out fire?
Maybe we'll have to try that ..


I heard on the Radio one day that a survey done in the UK showed that of the women polled, they wore a new item of clothing 7 times before getting rid of it.


Fashions recycle. So long as I retain the same figure... the clothes still fit.

I remember Ann Landers telling a woman who put on her wedding dress each year on her wedding anniversary that it was quite a gift (to her spouse) to retain that youthful body.

I try to keep my weight the same.


i suspect that there are at least several other means...
i didn't see any mention of health care for all, for example, nor returning the tax system to a more graduated one, nor free college and university, nor...

Have a great evening! :slight_smile:


Raising consumption in a finite reality is a disastrous idea. Full employment sounds good in a vacuum but given the population and the reality of technology is seems unrealistic. On the other hand, socializing the wealth produced can provide a minimum income that allows more people to work part-time or independently. A minimum income feeds the economy without mass enslavement to make-work drudgery.