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There's a Simple Solution to the Unemployment Crisis: Offer Everyone a Job

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/14/theres-simple-solution-unemployment-crisis-offer-everyone-job

UBI makes more sense than a job guarantee.

Job guarantee during this time of shutdowns would work about as well as our current system. No ability to work = no jobs. Then the short-term fix would be unemployment, basically a crappy short-term UBI.

So again, your back to UBI.


It’s an interesting idea. But what we need are not jobs but production, income or other access to production, and autonomy.

A job assures none of these. The problem is not that people do not spend enough of our lives at work; it is that “work” amounts to taking bribes to preserve and extend some rich person’s dominance at the cost of most everything else. The fewer jobs people were forced into, the more honest work we could accomplish.

In the face of centrally controlled currency, with its usurious nested interests and rentier economy, people fear unemployment because it is part of the cudgel by which we are forced to relinquish control of our work-lives. Otherwise, unemployment means leisure.

A Universal Basic Income might be a stopgap in this. A government employment scheme could as well, as Roosevelt’s WPA did, to some extent and despite some considerable difficulties. But an employment scheme would only improve on UBI if the employers’ idea of how the workers should spend their time were better than what the workers might accomplish on their own. Historically, that has been a very rare thing.


Interesting how no mention at all that in Eastern Europe, for half a century, the entire population of many countries (200-300 millions) had a job guarantee…not quite exactly as envisioned here…but nevertheless it is a historical case study to at least be mentioned…other than the two US aspirational examples of Roosvelt or civil rights movement.

It would be valuable to have a reference link for the history that you cite.

The biggest obstacle as I see it right now are pre-existing commitments to allow “market access” to firms in other countries to our “government procurement” of goods and services. Large sections of the economy are supposed to be outsourced, and this will probably happen within a few years once an ongoing dispute is settled (probably next year) . There is a smattering of media thats discussed this, (example : (h)ttps://blog.nccr-onthemove.ch/us-india-visa-fee-controversy-before-the-wto-a-migration-mobility-nexus-for-the-wto/ but almost none of the media comes anywhere near to revealing how world changing the change might be to the middle class in countries affected by this. Basically, wages could plummet for those who retained jobs but a great many jobs in professions currently viewed as stable could be left with far fewer jobs than today to do) And of course these commitments - one the flow of commerce begins in earnest, will likely permanently block any of at least a dozen longstanding wish list items of progressive Dems that involve jobs, including this one. They quite simply have been taken out of the realm of the possible, to understand how and why we must learn a completely different body of knowledge and be aware its intentionally made very very confusing to frustrate our efforts in every way. Its a pretext, a scam on all of us, an extrinsic fraud, fully intended to steal away democracy, (which the oligarchical cult doing this trick might call “majoritarianism”) everywhere, nothing less.

The ultimate voter disenfranchisement scheme, forcing workers to exchange places so they could be stripped of rights effectively. All in the name of “competition”.

Also, we should keep in mind how technology is making it possible to automate more and more, at an exponentially increasing rate. Each time a new advance in labr saving technology emerges, additional jobs become easy to replace, it may take several years for whatever changes that brings about to occur but they do usually happen. What all this means is that we shouldnt fool ourselves into thinking that we’ll all be working for much longer. We need to start prparing for a future without work, especially given that the oligarchy that runs this planet has been for decades, and is way ahead of us. They have already created binding trade agreements like the ‘GATS’ that take most of what progressive Dems want to do off the table, without telling us. This makes much of what we attempt to do wasted activity because we’re trying to accomplish what we should have done 30 years ago, now in many cases we need to pursue a strategy to free our country from entangling trade commitments before we can successfully make other changes. Or our efforts will have the opposite effect to what we want, they will strip us of what little safety net we still have. So there really is no way around it. We need to pursue something called GATS Article XXI. UBI also would require we leave the GATS which freezes financial services regulation. Anything that competes with banks or insurance companies is likely to be impossible within GATS, and making any substantiative changes that are not the absolute minimum possible to address some emergency is also likely limited very greatly, as well as subject to time limits, limits on possible scope and more…

Because neither presumtive candidate Administration is likely to prevent this outcome, (both would likely welcome it because of their corporate ties) this must be done soon under another Administration which is yet unknown, we are really in a very dire situation, and we should recognize that fact. Were wasting time ‘hoping’ while we need to be doing what it takes to pursue Article XXI to get us our right to regulatye again, - if we’re doing anything other than preventing the otherwise inevitable continuation of the existing GATS path, which is on autopilot, an acceptable survivable economic future becomes less likely by the day. Things could happen far away which we would not be told about, with the result that we’ll be forever trapped in the worst policy imaginable, with lots of ratchets to prevent our ever voting our ways out. Thats the design goal of so called FTAs, they would more appropropriately called slave trade agreements, seriously. Once that happens, US workers will, like so many others, likely be forced to travel far away - to the ends of the earth, and disinfranchise themselves of rights, (as migrant labor, to provide services) or work under restrictive security clearances here (perhaps eventually the only decent jobs that will be immune from being outsourced) , to simply put bread on their tables. This will be the way it is for our children. So swallowing the party line will not lead us to anything significantly better than today, in the economic arena thats so important to all of us, even though politically we may seem improvements, such as lip service being paid to things that cant actually be fixed due to large scale outsourcing literally putting huge numbers of people out of work, reason being, seen as too expensive now- In many cases mass unemployment will lead to something far worse, with almost nothing needed to be done besides inaction. We’ll see the country become more and more like a ghetto with no opportunity at all for most people, and no hope of improvement. This is the time for all good people to come to the aid of Democracy. Not “Democrats” who in many cases are covertly anti democracy, just like so many Republians, unfortunately. They just dress better.

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Capitalism is a cult. Plain and simple. And the coercion, fraud and failed construct (it does not rise to the level of “para-digm” because of the institutionalized obfuscation whenever it is convenient).

The economy could be anything. Keep in mind that only demons benefit from demonization. The settler/ colonialist construct started demonization with the papal bulls of the 15th century. … truly psychotic foundations still playing out in deadly ways.

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Let’s be candid. The criminal ruling class and its functionaries in government want high unemployment rates. High unemployment rates keep wages low and ruling class profits high.

Let’s be candid. The criminal ruling class and its functionaries in government want the citizenry to feel harried and insecure and desperate at every moment. They want social decay. They want rampant crime in the streets. They want drug addiction and alcoholism and domestic violence. They want the people to eat poisoned food, to drink poisoned water and breathe polluted air. They want the people to suffer cancer and heart disease and misery. They want to crush all beauty, all kindness, all love, all compassion… because when these natural human feelings have been destroyed, the ruling class will rule forever.


If you look at history, democracy is an anomaly, so it requires work to restore. That work isnt electing Biden or Trump its finding a better model that doesnt let politicians sell the country down the river. The country has to unite, realizing that we do all share the same values and that thesemonsters do not. Of course if we allow the creation of any new parties, they will be behind them too, being that capture of everything is what they do. The whole world is captured by this tiny group of very rich oligarchs. We have to reject GATS and everything else like it. How, we need to have government cooperation, to pursue Article 21-
But we’ll never get it from Trump or Biden.

If only we could cancel the things out by a popular vote, but that isnt part of these 25 year old deals either. Human beings have no standing at the global governance level.

They are intended to make democracy impossible. Read up on the Trilemma.

GATS Article I:3 is what makes it illegal for the govenment to provide anything that corporations SELL, its why starting in 1995 we could not have any new public services, its why we cant have Medicare for All or new public water, college public banking or public housing and why the existing remaining nonconfrming monopoly services have to be slowly phased out in favor of globalization.(trading their jobs away too). the result will be people starving or pushing to have the minimum wage eliminated so we can be slaves too, and then not fake slavery, real slavery will return, under the guise of prison labor, people committing crimes so they will be imprisoned and have some food to eat. One 55 year old man stole a teddy bear so his cancer chemotherapy would not end. then waited for the police to come, sitting patiently in front of the store.

lets not forget that slavery was preserved in the Constitution for a reason. We need to eliminate it for good. But the problem is, we’re now committed to help prop the dictatorships up. Not our own families. Sory, game over, we lose.

We trusted them, we pay the price.

By sacrificing the middle class’s jobs - we’re making the country profitable again. the wealthy feel as if high yields are their entitlement. Democracy is a joke to them now. Of course it couldnt exist, people would just vote to fix things, they laugh.

Those employers are racist, we cant give a third of our jobs away to body shop firms that wont hire any Americans, and also undermine Social Security. But thats what they do. I dont know if there is a good solution. Protesting online, but now they censor at the network level. Are ALL politicians corrupt now? There may be a few new ones that arent, they all need to be called out and put on the spot so they cant deny they know about GATS and fucked up. Oops, we didnt KNOW… No way can we let them get away with it.

they have to be notified in no uncertain terms whats going on and put on camera denying it that is ourr only hope for escape.

. Anybody who reads these words and is not calling out POLLUTICIANS and blogs ilke all these ones to tell the truth about dirty deals like GATS or resign from the credibility expectation,and be revealed as part of the plot. silently complicit.

Blogs are often captured too. Freedom is not the freedom to be fed pablum with no fundamental integrity and be enslaved by corrupt pollutics as their GATS makes it so there cant be a right to exist, just spend money many wont have. It will privatize roads making it so those without positive balances wont even be able to travel. Cashless cities and micropayments to pass will put everybody under surveillance all of the time, criminalization of everyday behavior, will freeze out the growing ranks of the disposessed from any help.

Trumps wall will keep Americans in, after all corporations have paid good money for us.

The “Race to the Bottom” is still in progress; it speeds up or slows down, but carries on.

Why pay $26.00 an hour in the US when you can pay .50 cents a day in Indonesia?

Ever hear of Nike? Good, flag-waving republican (yes, and democrat) CEOs going for the cheapest labor.

Makes you wonder what there is to defend when your heartland-homeland rots out from inside by the jobs going outside.

" It has been abundantly shown that the members of a small coterie, comparable
in relative size to the owning class of the Banana Republics and other unbenign
polities, own and control all important economic enterprises in the United
Few Americans own more productive
property, directly or indirectly, than do benighted Russians, Chinese or Latin
American descamisados. This fact is no doubt difficult for those conditioned by
domestic mass-media propaganda to accept; yet intractable fact it unquestionably

This was written 53 years ago. Has anything changed? The vast majority of Americans NEVER exceed the income class into which they were born.

Yet, we are constantly blasted with the message that this is the “land of opportunity,” and that if you are not rich, it is your fault. You made bad choices.


Workers may no longer have to be outside of the US to be paid outside of the US wages.

Didnt you hear, they made a deal 25 years ago. They are still working the bugs out but if they do, the WTO will get jurisdiction over non-immigration (travel for work, for commercial reasons)

Probably early next yesr, it may be coming soon to a workplace near you.

If we are going to support the public it would be much better for the country and for the people if they did something productive. Surely there are infrastructure projects in need of some sort of equivalent CCC labor and surely people would feel so much better about themselves if they felt they were “earning” their pay. Job guarantee is not a temporary measure like the CCC stuff during the depression so there is always a job. So no, UBI does not make more sense than a job guarantee.

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Thanks for the quote from 53 years ago, i looked it up, here’s the citation, it’s from The Rich And The Super Rich, by Ferdinand Lundberg:

The pandemic and unemployment are linked to the fight to end in endemic entrenched racism in police brutality and violence across the US; a pandemic of its own that kills as sure as Covid-19.

One job that is linked in my mind is that of Colin Kaepernick who took a stand, took a knee, that very visible principled action, against such violence that cost him his job for it by reactionary defenders of racist cop violence. Even when the NFL came-out to say they had “made a mistake” spokesman Roger Goodell never mentioned Colin Kaepernick’s name; a smarmy failure that spoke volumes! Keapernick went out on a limb and was thrown off for his selfless act of visible demonstration against police violence against everyone that comes into their depraved sights!
He deserves to get his job back, his great respect by millions was never lost, only from the NFL and entrenched racism that is desperate to evade responsibility for their complicity!!


From the person who devoted his whole life to the study of capitalism, Karl Marx

“The right to work was first advanced by Fourier, but with him it is realised only in the phalanstery and therefore presupposes the adoption of the latter. The Fourierists – peace-loving philistines of the Démocratie pacifique , as their paper was called, disseminated that phrase precisely because it sounded innocuous. The Paris workers of 1848 – with their utter confusion in theoretical matters allowed this phrase to be palmed off on them because it looked so practical, so non-utopian, so readily realisable. The government put it into practice – in the only way capitalist society could put it into practice – by building nonsensical national workshops. In the same way the right to work was realised here in Lancashire during the cotton crisis of 1861-64 by building municipal workshops. And in Germany it is also put into operation by establishing starvation and flogging colonies for the workers, which are now arousing the enthusiasm of the philistines. Put forward as a separate demand the right to work cannot be realised in any other way.”

“The first draft of the constitution made before the June days, still contained the droit au travail , the right to work, the first clumsy formula wherein the revolutionary demands of the proletariat are summarized. It was transformed into the droit à l’assistance , the right to public relief, and what modern state does not feed its paupers in some form or other? The right to work is, in the bourgeois sense, an absurdity, a miserable, pious wish…"

Paul Lafargue, Marx’s son-in-law, wrote his The Right to be Lazy in answer to the Right to Work equating it as the Right to be Exploited.

Yes, THANK you. Most of the people commenting here have LESS understanding of how economies work and to what ends than most mainstream economists. (And that’s an insult.)

Wow! Thank you, Ms. Tcherneva. I have been telling the nihilists and naysayers who populate these forums that the new generation of economists is different: Pay no attention to them.

Increasingly freed at least in part from the classical claptrap, you and your peers are increasingly able to see the obvious. You will face many challenges in your career, both practical and theoretical, many of them never imagined before. I have no doubt that you will rise to them. If you get most of them right and are blessed with great good luck, the challenges faced by the generation after you–if there is one–will be no greater.

“To me ‘green’ is conservation of community and conservation of people, so it also includes care work.”

Tcherneva is selling me with that.

There needs to be another Studs Terkel, though, to make a record of how care givers have survived, kept the faith, and GIVEN THE CARE in this crapola economy. If all that’s lost, sorry to say (for them) but the new hires might be kinda lost themselves. Or start out at a loss.

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