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Job Guarantee and Basic Income Guarantee

Interesting video, but doesn't go into detail about how the two are to be integrated -- or even if they can be. However, useful to introduce advocates, and gives examples of pilot programs.

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nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Unless you're trying to means test one or the other of the two, there's no integration problem. You'd have the job guarantee for everybody, regardless of whether they're rich or poor. You'd similarly have the basic income distribution, regardless of whether they're rich or poor.

As always, I'm puzzled about how the job guarantee would work. The film identifies the problem as technological, that machines are displacing people. I already disagree, since I think it's political, but to continue with its argument. . . .It presents the job guarantee as a program outside the normal long-term needs of government, which becomes important during economic downturns. Private sector hiring would pick up as the economy recovers and the jg program would apparently contract. Are workers like widgets, interchangeable parts? Will they then be able to slot in to whatever jobs are no longer being replaced by machines? If the problem is technological, then a simple jg would seem not to be addressing it.

Submitted by lambert on

Whenever I talk to BIG people, the underlying idea is to abolish work (not just a job, but work). I'm reminded (I know this is a category error) of a saying of my father that we all hated as children, but came not to hate: "It doesn't do itself, you know."

I don't see BIG as concerned with organizing society's productive forces at all[1]. I see JG as thinking through exactly how to do that.

[1] At some point, I should figure out if labor power can or should be treated as a common pool resource, like air or water. I think it can but I'm not sure.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Yeah, I really want everybody to lie around in hammocks doing nothing!!! We BIG types are utterly opposed to work of any kind under any circumstances! That was the problem with the India pilot study that showed that the BIG produced more personal initiative, more productivity, more education, better health, and other good things. My gosh, it was supposed to produce people NOT WORKING, the way us BIG supporters want!!!

Submitted by lambert on

And basically, that's what it boils down to. They try to say that the JG means crap jobs and people are forced to do it, both untrue, and then they inveigh against the tyranny of work.

I may be getting a jaundiced perspective from a poor set of advocates, but that's my summary, and I've processed a ton of comments on it.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Having said that the two programs have different ethical bases, you might briefly indicate what the difference is, why they can't work together, and which one seems most beneficial, rather than telling us how the people you disagree with make bad arguments.

I will say that a practical difference between the two approaches is the likelihood of doing it right. I don't know of any case where sending people money hurt the people. Royalty granted pensions to persons who had done them service. Here in the U.S. we have Social Security, which is one of the most successful programs ever. No one has ever found these programs to be abusive to the intended beneficiaries.

Providing jobs can be done very well or obscenely poorly. I don't think I've seen anything that argues for permanent government employment to address certain needed issues that would benefit the recipients, like research labs to provide scientists with a reasonable career path. Mostly, it's like what the video argues for -- temporary government employment until a job becomes available in the private sector. The record on government providing jobs for the sake of jobs appears to me to be mixed. The New Deal programs were very good, but there's a much longer record of county workhouses and the recent welfare reform to move people into jobs, which are really pretty punitive. It would be great if the jobs are mentally, physically, and emotionally suited to the people getting them, pay a living wage with adequate benefits, and be useful to the community. This of course would wipe out the fast food industry and children's daycare among other exploitative workplaces. And for that reason I doubt it would happen. I've even seen JG advocates argue for the jobs to be minimum wage. Considering all things, I suspect the jobs in the JG would in fact be shit jobs, so maybe you could tell me what the real JG advocates envision.

Submitted by lambert on

I do not have time to accept your assignment to "briefly indicate," for reasons stated there.

You have posting privileges. I think the most efficient course of action for me, for you, and what is also best for the readership, is if you put your ideas in the form of a post.

You might also consider that material in comments is more or less buried, never to be found again. A post, by contrast, has its own URL, and will be displayed with that URL, and its post title, in Google.

Write a BIG post! Have at it!

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...segment; guaranteed income.
IMO, that should be the first priority, because the infrastructure for that is already in place.
The psychological impact would be enormous and immediate.
Guaranteed jobs on the other hand is a much bigger problem to solve. Unemployment isn't so much about the economy as it is about the elimination of so many jobs through technology which has enabled off-shoring of so many jobs. The jobs just aren't there (U.S.) any longer.
Then there are the Christian, right wing wackos, who have a problem with anybody who is poor, black, brown, yellow, etc., and blame them for their plight.
Guaranteed income will be fought tooth and nail by said same hypocrites as well, but would be cheaper in the long run.
Anybody who claims it would be too expensive is ignorant, a fool, or an outright liar.
The cost of not acting is incalculable, IMO.

Submitted by lambert on

... under democratic control (even if not totally). That in a nutshell is what the JG offers that BIG does not offer; democratic input into the organization of production.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

I lived its destruction under Reagan having chosen blue collar (master machinist for one). I've had more careers than your years of blogging.
The whole economy of the western world is (in)-vested, 100%, in the full spectrum dominance of labor. Do you honestly believe there will ever be a democratic anything, regarding labor?
Not going to happen.
Come to think of it, this whole blog is vested in changing a system that won't be changed.
Why(you won't ask)? Because the U.S. is not free or a democracy. The trick is; convincing the majority that they count for something. Their votes actually count, because they are free to vote for whomever they choose.
Fantastical thinking and beliefs...

Submitted by lambert on

Your comments lately seem to have had two main themes: (1) Rage at the US people for their passivity and (2) despair that the system can never be changed.

So a blog like this, where many are not passive, and many believe that the system can be changed, or at least that we must try to do, evokes powerful emotions.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

You're not wholly wrong; but your very limited perception of my issues with the states is clear.
And so it goes...