by John Brian Shannon | January 28, 2016
How balancing the economy can give us the best work/life balance. Or is it the other way around?
For those of us fortunate to be born in a Western nation, life is mostly about balance, and for our elected leaders it’s about how to achieve balance in the wider economy, and about the kinds of policies we’ll need for the future.
Thus far, our political and economic model has evolved. But let’s never forget that it wasn’t designed, it evolved. Big difference. (It might be the best Model T Ford ever built, but it’s still a Model T, if you catch my meaning)
And that’s exactly the conversation that we need to have
Here in North America, it requires only 1% of the workers (and presumably 1% of the total available investment pool) to produce enough food to feed everyone on the continent. Yet, we see major food distribution problems and it’s getting worse.
With regards to agricultural output and distribution, our North American model is the best devised but it’s far from perfect. And that is my point, instead of waging trillion dollar wars we should have continued to improve our economic model, especially in regards to the food distribution aspect.
I don’t think that we should be giving food away for free (except in emergency situations) but there are far too many Food Banks in operation for such an affluent society, and there is constant demand for more of them.
Q: And why do we have this particular symptom that I’ve singled-out for discussion?
A: There are far too many idle hands, and it’s because their jobs picked up and went to Asia — a process that began in 1973.
We could put an end to many social ills by employing every worker for a minimum of 6 months per year
By legislating mandatory job-sharing, every worker in the U.S. would be guaranteed a job appropriate to their particular skillset for a minimum of 25 weeks of full time employment, annually.
That means every worker has a full time job for a minimum of 6 months of every year and is then eligible to receive automatic unemployment insurance benefits during their (short) layoff period.
Mandatory job-sharing eliminates the need for ‘Welfare’
We know that long-term unemployed individuals eventually turn to welfare in order to be able to eat, have shelter, etc. once their unemployment insurance payments run out.
We also know that long-term unemployment eventually turns into substance abuse, crime, homelessness, and other social ills.
More crime = bigger policing budgets = bigger insurance claims/higher insurance rates = more citizens injured or terrorized by crime, etc… all of that are the symptoms of high and long-term unemployment, progression to welfare, and changes in the thinking of the individuals in such circumstances, including long term depression, withdrawing from society, anger, resentment, and more.
But with mandatory job-sharing the yearly unemployment rate would be 0% — that is, over the course of the year, every worker will have worked a minimum of 6 months. However, at any given point throughout the year the nominal unemployment rate would settle at 2.5%-3.0%.
With a job (and full unemployment benefits during layoff) long-term unemployment would become a thing of the past.
Keeping workers in a state of long-term unemployment brings on an OCEAN of troubles
Job-sharing is the answer.
By legislating that every healthy worker in the U.S. has a job for a minimum of 25 weeks annually, we could solve the worst inequality, poverty, other social ills, and dramatically and positively lower crime rates, insurance rates, policing and court costs, and enjoy a safer, more egalitarian society.
It’s so simple.
- Economics in the Age of Abundance (Project Syndicate)
- In Sweden, Nobody Sleeps in Dumpsters (John Brian Shannon)
- The Secret of Norway’s Success (John Brian Shannon)
- If Norway Can Succeed Like This, Why Can’t Every Country? (John Brian Shannon)
- Can Switzerland’s amazing success story be exported? (John Brian Shannon)