Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump thrived on unemployment. Therefore we must create employment




It was a bit of a surprise to me, if no-one else, when Trump declared that he is going to cancel US involvement in TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. If he carries through with it, it will be the death of the TPP (which is not to be confused with TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would involve us, and  which is itself in deep difficulties).

Greens oppose these big multilateral trade deals because they always end up putting the interests of multinational corporations before environmental and employment protection. So there is one tiny bit of silver lining on the Trump thunderhead.

It is strange to suddenly be informed by the media that the Trump vote was a vote against globalisation. Even while he was ranting against the collapse of US manufacturing, Trump's goods (see above) are being made in China. Which is of course, China's fault.

China's cheap goods do undermine jobs here in the West. So unemployment is an issue for voters, and is one of the factors that has produced the horrendous position that the world finds itself in today. Which is why we need to create jobs. Where can jobs be created? In the Green sector of the economy,  where there is a huge amount of work to be done in healing and protecting society and environment.

How can that work be done? With Green Wage Subsidy, which converts unemployment benefits into a subsidy for the green sector, and acts as a precursor for full on Basic Income. This can be done on a local basis, gradually, and can start in as many weeks or months as it takes to get the licensing paperwork sorted. All it needs is permission from the DWP for local authorities to go ahead and allow people on benefits to work in the green sector.

So, if we want to stop and reverse the dangerous drift to the right, we must cure the social and economic disease that is unemployment, and GWS is an effective means to this end.

5 comments:

Ghost Whistler said...

What will happen to citizens that do not wish to participate in the scheme? Will they lose their benefits? How will the scheme be enforced otherwise? Isn't this just forced labour by another name? Sure the work itself may be agreeable, but it's going to be conducted in a capitalist system and thus the worker-boss dynamic, with all the potential for exploitation, remains, especially as no wage is being paid.

RogerM said...

Trump has regularly said he was against TPP, claiming that it threatened US jobs...(even though it did not include China). It was not a surprise.

We need to think more about how we manage international trade - and in response to Brexit's claimed goal of free trade. Clearly more jobs have been (and will be) lost through technical change than free trade, but the latter has severe and negative climate change implications, in its search for low cost services and goods.

Richard Lawson said...

Roger, you're right , I wasn't paying attention. But my main, central and substantive point is that unemployment is a disease of the body politic. Even if unemployed people don't vote, their existence is something that the Daily Mail etc can use to whip up anger, and it is this anger that is the flame at lifts Trumps hot air balloon.

Richard Lawson said...

Ghost Whistler, it's all on the link. Citizens who do not wish to participate are left in exactly the same situation that they are in now. Participation is voluntary. They will still receive their benefits. The scheme does not need enforcement. People do actually like doing work. It gives them money, gets them out of the house, gives them a sense of purpose, gives them time structure, and widens their social circle. All of these points have been tested by social scientists.

Therefor is is not forced labour by another name. You are getting GWS muddled up with what the Tories do. It is very sad that Tory thinking has wormed itself so deeply into peoples' heads that they cannot conceive of anything better. It's not just you, I get this from many politicos.

And yes, it is going to be conducted in a capitalist system, unless you can overthrow it before we can start. We'll have to disagree here. For us greens, the priority is healing the grievous sicknesses of environment and society. In healing those sicknesses, we will transform the system. I understand that you want to overthrow the system as a priority, and the sicknesses will thereby be healed. Must stop, battery out.

Richard Lawson said...

Ghost Whistler, Using this system does not mean endorsing it, that would be a facile assumption.