Ever wonder why there never seem to be enough good jobs to go around? If you have, then your gut feeling is serving you well, because there actually aren’t enough good jobs to go around. Here’s why:
The dodgy NAIRU economy
Over the past forty plus years, it has been the policy of the central government to deliberately keep a certain percentage of the workforce in a state of long-term unemployment at all times. It does this because of an establishment economics theory called the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment, or “NAIRU” for short.
NAIRU says that there is a certain percentage rate of unemployment, below which, accelerating inflation will occur. In other words, should the central government spend or do anything to reduce the unemployment rate below that limit, then the automatic result would be accelerating inflation.
The actual reason why the central government does this has little to do with inflation at all. The inflation scare tactic is another mainstream theory that says there is a trade-off between unemployment and inflation. In other words, when we are nearing full employment, the lower the unemployment rate goes, the higher the inflation rate will go. NAIRU is sold as the policy answer to the trade-off. If we simply maintain a certain percentage of unemployed workers at all times, then inflation won’t eat us alive.
Hidden Unemployment Significantly Alters the Statistics
The problem with all of this is that we are never even close to true full employment. Employment and the economy today are not what they were in the 1960s and 1970s. Underemployment is commonplace as there aren’t enough good full-time jobs at decent pay to go around, real resources which could be used to produce goods lay idle, and infrastructure crumbles around us. Furthermore, there are several problems with the unemployment statistics. Just one of those is hidden unemployment.
The official rate only measures those who are actively looking for employment, but doesn’t concern itself with those who are unemployed and not seeking employment because of circumstances beyond their control. That alone means that the actual unemployment rate could be almost four times higher than official figures.
Obviously, the official unemployment rate figures used by politicians and the central bank are not an accurate reflection of the true state of unemployment. Given the fact that the current rate of 4% might actually be closer to 12%, it would seem highly questionable for officials to push even more people out of work to supposedly prevent inflation. However, it’s easy to understand why they would want such a thing.
Waging a constant war on Labour
Deliberately maintained involuntary unemployment by the central government:
– allows business to control its workforce by threatening labour with the financial hardship and negative social stigma of unemployment.
– allows business to keep wages down and helps to render trade unions less effective.
– engenders an environment where low-paying, part-time jobs become the norm for the economy.
– engenders an environment where real wages fall and productivity rises, pushing more and more of labour’s earned share of national income to the wealthy.
– engenders an environment for private debt to supplement lower wages. Because wages overall are too low to consume everything that the nation produces, credit cards and other financial products can help to top up low wages, allowing consumers to buy more. Thus, low-wage environments not only benefit business, but banks and the financial sector as well.
That is the core purpose of NAIRU, though it is very much hidden from the public, and it is the one thing that the establishment will not bend on. It wants to keep the policy alive and kicking, and to do that it reminds you that the market is in charge of our collective fate (which we now understand is pure nonsense), and then regularly comes up with “market-based” proposals which it sells to the people as “solutions” for their problems. Some of these are:
– Job training and help to keep skills current
– Job placement schemes
– Volunteering and work trials
– Help with writing an effective CV
– Business subsidies and incentives to hire chronically unemployed workers
– Universal Credit
– The UBI
UBI is a way to maintain the NAIRU economy
The UBI is yet another “market-based” solution to maintain the dodgy NAIRU economy, ensuring that wage suppression, lost output, weakened unions, long-term unemployment, and impoverished conditions endure. The establishment knows that a UBI will be an immense failure for the economy, especially for low-skilled members of the working-class. As I have mentioned previously in the series, it is nothing more than an opportunity for the establishment to eliminate the benefits system, and then when the inflationary effects of the UBI causes it to fail and people need jobs, they will be forced into part-time junk jobs with even lower pay. The NAIRU economy is maintained, the wealthy enjoy far greater wealth, and life is made worse for the working-class.
NAIRU has also caused enormous personal harm to individuals and families. Studies show that just a few of the effects of long-term unemployment are higher rates of suicide and substance abuse rates, and general poor health.
Central Government itself controls the unemployment rate
Since we now know that the central government itself controls the unemployment rate, we also know that unemployment (and its damaging effects on society such as grinding poverty, increased suicide rates, and many other problems), is a policy choice, period. It is not a phenomena of the market, it is not something driven by robots and technological advancement, it is not the result of having too many lazy people about, it is not something that we cannot control. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and misery are always conditions that politicians at the central government choose to impose on the people.
Over that time span, politicians have also chosen for jobs to go from full-time, good-paying jobs with great benefits and good work environments, to low-paying, meaningless jobs that punish workers.
Many people hate the idea of a job
That slow change over many years ensures that the younger generations – those who do not remember a production-based economy – will hate the idea of a job, because all that they remember growing up is struggle. Perhaps both parents couldn’t find adequate work, or both parents worked junk jobs to make ends meet, and they themselves now work in even worse jobs than their parents. On the whole, they view having a job as punitive; more of a punishment than something which can be rewarding and meaningful, and rightly so.
In the era of Neoliberalism, people are encouraged to hate labour and view it with mistrust as one would organised crime. Politicians create policies which attack labour. The media constantly blames and shames labour. Business punishes labour incessantly. You are told that work is something you must do to survive, and nothing else. If you wish to survive, you will do as you are told, you will accept abusive working conditions, you will accept your tiny pay packet, and you will learn your place. And, worst of all, you are told that there is no alternative.
There is an alternative
Enough! That is a flagrant lie. There is an alternative to this inhumane, undignified, and thoroughly unacceptable ideological theft of your lives and your economy by politicians on behalf of their wealthy mates. There is no such thing as a natural order to the economy as the establishment teaches. The economy is a man-made thing. Today’s sick, twisted economy is nothing more than “free-market” nonsense run amok. There’s nothing natural about it. It’s a policy choice. Like anything created by humans, the economy can easily be re-made into something from which all can greatly benefit.
I am here to tell you that we can bring an end to NAIRU; that we can have actual full employment without fearing inflation; that we can eliminate abusive business models; that we can push low-paying businesses out of our economy; that we can build a powerful economy that is both stable and sustainable, where all will derive good benefit; that we can end involuntary poverty, and we will do it from the bottom-up by guaranteeing a good paying, meaningful job to all who want a job, and are able to work. And yes, that includes the disabled as well.
Next Up: Part IX: The Job Guarantee
We need your help!
The press in our country is dominated by billionaire-owned media, many offshore and avoiding paying tax. We are a citizen journalism publication but still have significant costs.
If you believe in what we do, please consider subscribing to the Bylines Gazette from as little as £2 a month🙏