- "Work-sharing schemes, in many different forms, are becoming the norm in Holland and Denmark, and have made inroads in France and Germany. The key element in any such approach is to separate work from income.
"A Danish law enacted in 1993 recognizes a right to work discontinuously, while also recognizing people's right to a continuous income. It allows employees to choose a 'sabbatical' year, which could be divided into shorter periods, every four or seven years. Unemployed people would take the place of those on leave, who, for their part, would receive 70% of the unemployment benefit they would get if they lost their jobs (typically, 90% of one's salary). Danish unions have managed to use such statutory individual rights to reduce the working hours of entire company workforces, and thus increase the number of permanent jobs. The idea of a universal basic income, paid to all citizens, independent of their position in the labor market, is a logical next step."
We're Not All Rocket Scientists
- "My point is that along with—not instead of!—policies that make higher education more accessible, we need strategies to improve the quality of these jobs as well. The fact is, as the table in the earlier post
showed, we expect to create a lot more of these types of jobs in the future (note that they're in the 'non-tradable' sector so they're not going overseas). Commenters mentioned unions and minimum wages, and they have traditionally helped raise wages in service jobs. Working training can help too, though when you hear people talking about cutting 'discretionary spending', that's where many of those training dollars reside. But here's another point to keep in mind. The last time pay in jobs like these really went up was in the latter 1990s, when labor demand was strong and unemployment was low (and btw, immigration flows were greater in those years than they are now). From the perspective of the workers who hold these types of jobs, there may be no social program more effective than full employment." [1
Tips on jobs from Zappos for US
- "Some of this may mean
all of us paying a little more
to those who cut our hair and sell us our clothes. But this is exactly what we did a half century ago to spur recovery by paying more to the workers
who make our cars and appliances and build our homes." [1
Keynes for the 21st century
- "rich countries should be making preparations for life beyond capitalism"
Keynes predicted, mankind was likely to suffer 'a general nervous breakdown', because it would have been deprived of its traditional purpose. People would still have to do some work 'for contentment'. Three hour shifts or a 15 hour week will 'put off the problem for a little'. But in the end what would be needed was no less than a 'new code of morals'. We shall have to breed out, or breed down, purposefulness and breed up carpe diem – 'the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things – the lilies of the valley who enjoy to breathe the air – the rare angelic beings who are perfectly good, which is almost the same thing as to say that they have no purpose whatever'.
All this, remember, was supposed to happen about now, or in the very near future, at least in rich countries. It hasn't worked out like that, but it challenges to think why, and to rethink social arrangements forged in an era of scarcity for us in an age of abundance.
Although we should remember and honour Keynes as a great theorist of stabilization policy he has more to offer the 21st century than that. Because he asks the fundamental question that no economist now dares to ask: what is our economic civilization for? What is the purpose of money? What is the relation between money and the good life? Or more simply: 'How much is enough?'