Thursday, May 17, 2012

Will Hutton stimulates renewed effort to work on Green Wage Subsidy

Having listened to, and exchanged a couple of words with, the excellent Will Hutton at his Bristol Festival of Ideas Observer lecture in Bristol on Tuesday, I am again fired up about the central importance of creating good work for our fellow citizens, especially in this damned recession.

Will mentioned something to the effect of the "State being the employer of last resort", which is in step with my proposal for a Green Wage Subsidy .

I may be missing some highly important point which totally invalidates the GWS, but in many discussions over the years, nobody has come up with it. The main problem is that it is an unfamiliar concept.

To me, the fact that JSA &c are granted on conditon that the recipient does no work is clearly a source of inefficiency. (Efficiency, n : the ability to work well and produce good results by using the available time, money, supplies, etc. in the most effective way

GWS aims to convert benefit into a wage subsidy that will stimulate the green sector of the economy. In 1996 I estimated that it could produce between 1 and 2 million jobs - coincidentally, exactly the same as estimates of unemployment at that time.

The key point in its favour in the present economic situation is that it comes at no extra cost in the short term. It is cost free, because the benefits would have to be paid in any case. 

In addition to costing nothing (did I mention that already?) it has the effect of greening the economy, that is, stimulating the green sector of the economy - a sector that is, and will be, growing strongly in any case, and in reality, should be co-extensive with a real, valid economy

So I have written to the Work Foundation in the hope of getting some kind of dialogue. 
I will write to Compass and Ed Miliband too. No reason why not.

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