Occupy jobs - March 6, 2012
(image by Michael Fleshman)
BusinessInsider has an article Here's the Story About the Economy That Liberals Don't Want to Hear.
" The liberal view is that there's tons of room for the Fed to be more aggressive in the pursuit of full employment.
Meanwhile, economists are starting to come to the conclusion that the job market is not far from being 'tight.'"
and the article adds,
" Up until recently, the left was very much in step with where the mainstream of economics was (more easing, wherever you can get it).
But daylight between the two is emerging. Economists are increasingly talking about a tightish job market."
The article concludes, " Meanwhile, the view of more and more people in the economics-sphere is that the job market is getting tight, and there's little more the Fed can do."
Okay, so that's a summary of the article. Reading between the lines, I see the beginning of a move to codify long term unemployment of millions of Americans. This kind of talk, to me, suggests that we need to get used to this level of unemployment, that it's the new normal, the new reality. Of course these are the same people who have been telling us for years that the rapacious trade agreements Clinton, Dubya and Obama have inflicted upon the US are inevitable and necessary.
I don't buy either claim. They are claims designed to further the goals of multinational corporations that have no interest in the people of the US, and really, no interest in all but a handful of plutocrats.
This is a malignant kind of economic thinking and philosophy based on profits for corporations. That seems totally rational to corporate supporters, sycophants and the religious extremists they dupe. But this set of economic values is certainly not what Jesus would want, nor Buddha.
There's a different way of economic thinking, one that puts humans-- people-- first. That economic model would look at these scientific economists' claims that the job market was tightening and reject the idea entirely. That human model of economics would argue that the system is broken and corporations and the government are obligated to provide jobs for every person who wants to work. Why, because work is not simply a resource to produce goods for consumption and for profits. Here's what E. F. Schumacher wrote, in his chapter on Buddhist Economics, in his landmark book, Small Is Beautiful:
"The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence. Again, the consequences that flow from this view are endless. To organize work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerveracking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence. Equally, to strive for leisure as an alternative to work would be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely, that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.
From the Buddhist point of view, there are therefore two types of mechanization which must be clearly distinguished: one that enhances a man's skill and power and one that turns the work of man over to a mechanical slave. How to tell one from the other? "The craftsman himself", says Ananda Coomaraswamy, a man equally competent to talk about the Modern West as the Ancient East, "the craftsman himself can always, if allowed to, draw the delicate distinction between the machine and the tool. The carpet loom is a tool, a contrivance for holding warp threads at a stretch for the pile to be woven round them by the craftsman's fingers; but the power loom is a machine, and its significance as a destroyer of culture lies in the fact that it does the essentially human part of the work". It is clear, therefore, that Buddhist economics must be very different from the economics of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of civilization not in the multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man's work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, blesses those who do it and equally their products. The Indian philospher and economist J.C.Kumarappa sums up the matter as follows:
"If the nature of the work is properly appreciated and applied, it will stand in the same relation to the higher faculties as food is to the physical body. It nourishes and enlivens the higher man and urges him to produce the best he is capable of. It directs his freewill along the proper course and disciplines the animal in him into progressive channels. It furnishes an excellent background for man to display his scale of values and develop his personality."
This way of thinking would not consider an unemployment rate above six percent as acceptable. It would characterize it as a sickness that, for the sake of justice and humanity, must be cured.
As we move forward, replacing the top-down world of domination and billionaires, plutocrats and predator corporations with bottom-up values and organizations that value humans and put them above things, it will be necessary to repudiate the existing corporations first, sociopathic predator economic model.
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