- Canada in a World of Rapid Change: Future Choices and Consequences
- "Do you worry that we might be heading towards a world, where animosity grows between the haves
and the have-nots and where the society becomes divided by higher and higher physical, social and
economic walls? Or worse yet, is the future one of more and more joblessness and social
disintegration, as the ship of state founders on the shoals?
"How can we change directions? Who has to be involved in turning the ship around?"
Community White Paper on Employment
- "Given the scale of the needs that have to be met, both in the European Union and elsewhere in the
world, recovery must be achieved by developing work and employment and not by endorsing
basically Malthusian solutions. Yes, we can create jobs, and we must do so if we want to safeguard
the future -the future of our children, who must be able to find hope and motivation in the prospect
of participating in economic and social activity and of being involved in the society in which they live,
and the future of our social protection systems, which are threatened in the short term by inadequate
growth and in the long term by the deterioration in the ratio of the people in jobs to those not in
- > The Changing Face of Wages
- "There has been much interest and debate among economists about the recent rise in wage
differentials for two reasons. First, as earnings are an important part of household income, the
increase in variance of earnings has caused an increase in the gap between rich and poor. Second,
the change in the structure of wages suggests that the labour market may be changing in a
Impérative transition vers une société du temps libéré
- "Le monde doit changer de cap, mais cette idée n'effleu re guère les hommes politiques,
prématurément mobilisés pour mener une campagne présidentielle sans contenu. Si les
propositions pour vaincre le chômage se multiplient, elles éludent l'impérative réflexion sur la
place du travail dans les sociétés contemporaines et la nécessaire remise en question de la
dictature de l'économisme."
Also from France (not a translation of the Le Monde article): The strike in France.
Unemployment in Germany
- "Unemployment in Germany - as in many other European countries -
has risen dramatically in recent years. In January 1994, 4.03
million people were without a job, with the jobless rate at 8.8 %
in western Germany and 17 % in the East."
- IMS: Joint Economic
Committee of US congress
- "We are already witnessing unparalleled change in the global economy, in technology and communications, in business and industry, and in communities and families.
...government must be redesigned and its policies reformed to maximize freedom for innovators and entrepreneurs, and to build new avenues for individual creativity and prosperity. If we can successfully redesign our government, especially its economic policies, then the new technologies of today and tomorrow will help create a world of unprecedented economic opportunity and prosperity for future generations."
The "redesign" and "reform" of government that free-marketeers advocate stress balancing the budget through reduced government spending on social programs. For a "balanced" discussion of budget balancing, see also the following two features.
The Balanced-Budget Debate: Atlantic Monthly
- "Are the American Dream and the federal budget deficit really so inextricably entwined? What
accounts for our current zeal for budget cutting and deficit busting? Can the budget ever be
balanced? Is it worth the cost? Will not balancing the budget mean mortgaging our future?"
The EDIN National Budget Simulation
- "This simple simulation should give you a better feel of the trade-offs which citizens and policy makers will need to make to balance the (US) budget."
Employment Insurance System (Canada)
- "On December 1, 1995 the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy tabled legislation in the House of Commons
to create a new Employment Insurance system. Employment Insurance is a fundamental restructuring
of the existing Unemployment Insurance program." For a contrasting view of the relationship between unemployment and government policy see the following article from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Permanent Recession? (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
- "[B]eginning around 1980, the business elite engineered a great U-turn in the dynamics of economic
growth. They were bent on undoing the "damage" caused to the market system by 30 years of full
employment and expanding public services. The way they chose to reach that objective was by
deliberately fostering economic stagnation.
"The high unemployment thus created allowed them to curb unions and their wage demands, and
crush workers' resistance to speed-ups, downsizing, automation, and other cost-cutting measures.
But unemployment alone cannot sufficiently discipline labour if workers can still fall back on
unemployment insurance and other forms of social assistance. So another key element of the
permanent recession strategy was to dismantle these programs.
"Deliberate economic stagnation was achieved mainly by the adoption of monetarist high interest rate
policies, which not only slow down the economy but also shift more income from wages to capital."
Farewell to the Working Class?
- "Many commentators on the world economy today point to the recent decline of industrial jobs and the increase of service jobs as a reason for abandoning class politics. Often unemployment and the closure of manufacturing plants are treated as if they amounted to the death of organized labor, or the disappearance of the working class.
"Arguments such as these confuse the working class with one particular kind of
employment -- blue collar, manual labor."
The Longwave and Social Cycles Resource Centre
- "When the Russian economist Nikolai
Kondratieff plotted commodity prices, wages and other economic statistics, he discovered that they
fluctuated in cycles of 50 to 60 years. On the rising side of the longwave, there were more years of
prosperity, and on the declining side of the longwave, there were more years of economic decline."
How to Find a Job
- "Mark S. Granovetter, a sociologist at Harvard University, investigated how people get jobs. His
study included professional, technical, and managerial workers who had recently found jobs, had
been obtained. Granovetter's data also indicates that of the people who found jobs through personal
contacts, 43.8% had new positions created for them.
"Granovetter concludes: 'Personal contacts are of paramount importance in connecting people with
jobs. Better jobs are found through contacts, and the best jobs, the ones with the highest pay and
prestige and affording the greatest satisfaction to those in them, are most apt to be filled in this way.'"
- The End of Work. (Jeremy Rifkin)
- "Rifkin wants a shortened workweek, which would provide full employment at 25 to 30 hours weekly. He also urges a new, publicly-funded economic 'third sector' to hire the still-unemployed to educate children, care for the elderly, and otherwise maintain the nation's 'social economy.'
"In a sense, Rifkin is right on target. These are very nice ideas indeed. All the more unfortunate, then,
that they are belied by every page of his previous analysis. So long as economic and (increasingly)
political power belong to the 20 percent who benefit from 'downsizing' and the convenience of
inexpensive, part-time employees, the path from our reality to Rifkin's vision is mere fantasy. Few
decision-makers would consider major sacrifices of profit to finance public service, much less
reduce their employees' weekly hours (thereby taking on a new raft of 'full-time' workers, benefits
The Overworked American. (Juliet Schor)
- "Are Americans working more and enjoying the fruits of their labor less? Economist Juliet Schor's statistical survey convinced me that we are indeed working more (the average paid work year increased by 163 hours between 1969 and 1987). But more importantly, Schor refutes the entrenched view of neoclassical economists that the length of the work week is chosen by workers rather than employers, buttressing her own view by making a compelling case for increasing satisfaction through working less."
- >Critique of Economic Reason. (Andre Gorz)
- "Gorz's view is that we are facing a society where there is more free time than working time and in
which, therefore, life ceases to be governed by economic rationality. The dystopian prospect is of a
society with an increasingly large unemployed or underemployed class (edging once more towards
'servility') while a separate section monopolises all the work and consequently the economic power.
Our social system is unable to distribute or manage this new-found free time, except to seek all
possible means of turning it into money - a project which negates the very meaning of free time,
characterised in Gorz's terms (echoing Schiller and Marcuse) by 'free, spontaneous activities and
relations whose essential characteristic is to serve no purpose'."
- Statistics Canada Analytical Studies Branch Research Papers Series.
- US Census Center for Economic Studies discussion papers.
International Federation of Workers' Education Associations
- Includes "The Struggle Against Unemployment" (follow Workers' Education link) and "Fighting Unemployment" (follow Red, White and Blue Pamphlet Series link).