People who have their heads fuddled with nonsense

10 Jul, 2020 at 11:19 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

unemployment-line-great-depression_large_image1The Conservative belief that there is some law of nature which prevents men from being employed, that it is “rash” to employ men, and that it is financially ‘sound’ to maintain a tenth of the population in idleness for an indefinite period, is crazily improbable – the sort of thing which no man could believe who had not had his head fuddled with nonsense for years and years… Our main task, therefore, will be to confirm the reader’s instinct that what seems sensible is sensible, and what seems nonsense is nonsense. We shall try to show him that the conclusion, that if new forms of employment are offered more men will be employed, is as obvious as it sounds and contains no hidden snags; that to set unemployed men to work on useful tasks does what it appears to do, namely, increases the national wealth; and that the notion, that we shall, for intricate reasons, ruin ourselves financially if we use this means to increase our well-being, is what it looks like – a bogy.

J. M. Keynes (1929)

2 Comments

  1. Keynes is as relevant today as he was in the 1930’s.

  2. Full employment a choice PM can make
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/full-employment-is-a-policy-choice-scott-morrison-must-make/news-story/d58e4674b218f4b0728732826507eafa

    “In the real world, currency-issuing governments have no ­intrinsic financial spending constraint. They can purchase whatever is for sale in their own currency, including all unemployed labour desiring work. Mass unemployment is a ­political choice.

    ***
    The government should introduce what I call a job guarantee by making an unconditional job offer at a socially ­inclusive minimum wage to anyone willing and able to work. The buffer of jobs would normally be small and would shrink as private sector activity recovers. No inflationary pressures arise because government would not be competing for labour at market prices. There is no market bid for the unemployed.”

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