European Commission – Jobs for Europe Conference

I have been in Brussels this week as an invited speaker at the – Jobs for Europe: The Employment Policy Conference – being staged by the European Commission (September 6-7, 2012). One of the five main topics is “Pathways to full employment: job guarantee, social economy, welfare to work”. I gave a presentation yesterday on the Job Guarantee. The video of the presentation is available below.

The Conference site says:

The conference will build on the Employment Package put forward by the Commission on 18 April and on the outcomes of the 2012 European Semester, but also on a series of conferences which the Commission organised during 2011 in order to explore new dimensions of employment policy, notably regarding the functioning of European labour markets, wage developments, flexicurity in a crisis context, and inequalities.

My sesssion will on the Job Guarantee and the EC has prepared this document – Issues paper: Job guarantee – Concept and implementation – to inform the session I am presenting.

It is an excellent sign that the EC is now considering core Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) ideas to be of sufficient merit to include as one of the main topics of this major European conference.

I will post the Q&A part of my presentation next week once I have processed the video.

The following presentation is about 24 minutes long.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Brillliant Bill! Superbly presented too. We can use this.
    Come, live and work in the UK. I can sort the weather out.

  2. I enjoyed your talk and think this is the sort of discusion/explanation of the Jobs Guarantee which anyone of the 99% could appreciate.

  3. Bill, this was the best argument for the Job Guarantee that I have yet seen. Technicalities aren’t needed to see that this is a win-win situation, and that the situation we now find ourselves is a lose-lose one. No one really wins, not even the rich. Unless you think that a society like the one depicted in the film Soylent Green is viable, where the rich have everything but have to wall themselves off from everyone else, and in part even from each other. Individuals making a contribution to their societies, which is what your remark about children seeing parents going off every day to work really means, are the kinds of role models we need to be developing. Not ones where parasites gain at the expense of everyone else and narcissistically fueled desires are all that count, which is one of the role models that has been rather dominant over the past 30+ years. I know you have felt sometimes as though you were banging your head against an unyielding brick wall. But thanks to you and your colleagues, maybe that brick wall is beginning to crumble.

  4. Well done Bill, great to see you presenting in Europe.

    I found the sound level extremely low, maybe this could be fixed ?

  5. Bill has an interesting delivery. At first I thought of his presentation as a soft-sell because of both a pleasant demeanor and an Australian accent (which is always a win with Americans like myself). Watching it a second time gave the sense of a velvet glove around a steel fist. He didn’t hesitate to hammer the current neo-liberal orthodoxy for screwing the pooch when it comes to unemployment and the accompanying social and efficiency costs. The message was clear that the current order Is. Not. Working. I’ll be sharing this with anyone who will watch it.

  6. Don’t tell me Australia saves the world again !
    It invents penicillin,
    Cures cervical cancer,
    As Bill says “fix (unemployment) what is staring in you the face” as proven in Argentina.
    …whats next, unlimited greenhouse free power, hurry up will ya.

  7. I don’t see a need for or the justice of a jobs program. The proximate cause of our troubles is excessive private debt; not a suddenly unemployable population. And what caused that excessive private debt? Could it be what is essentially a government backed/enforced counterfeiting cartel, the banking system? Which presents the population with the choice “borrow or be left behind”?

    The solution is to abolish further counterfeiting, bailout the entire population equally until deposits are 100% backed by reserves and encourage the use of private monies such as common stock that “share” wealth and power rather than concentrate them. And if that’s not enough then tax the richest (especially bankers) and distribute that to the population too.

    As for justice, the population has been LOOTED! The solution is not to beg for make-work in exchange but to demand restitution.

  8. To FP Beard,
    A great deal of private debt is caused by un-employment. The unemployed person does not have a wage and thus can not pay his debts.
    Govt has reduced tax intake because an unemployed person does not contribute in taxes and the welfare bill increases, increasing Govt need to borrow.
    Solve the unemployment problem and the economy will take care of itself.
    The added bonus is a stronger social climate, without the ills created by poverty and idleness.

  9. “And if that’s not enough then tax the richest (especially bankers) and distribute that to the population too” much easier said than done in a world where capitals fly freely to Gibraltar o Caiman Island. It’s very hard to do so, unfortunately!

  10. Solve the unemployment problem and the economy will take care of itself. Daniel

    Solve the private debt problem and the economy will take care of itself.

  11. “Solve the private debt problem and the economy will take care of itself.”

    It won’t and it doesn’t. That’s the problem. A debt jubilee and bank lock down is insufficient on its own.

    You’re wasting your time trying to evangelise that point of view around here.

  12. Bill, are you still in Europe? I would love to meet you if there is any possibility and talk about the urgent need for your ideas to be properly relayed over here in France. Could come to Brussels. I am based in Paris.

  13. F. Beard: Solve the private debt problem and the economy will take care of itself. No, it won’t, if the solution to the private debt problem is not structural. The problems will just reappear after the “debt jubilee and bank lock down “. Been there, done that. It’s all happened already. (Many times.) In the USA, the war & the New Deal created a debt jubilee and bank lock down – but even more important was the universal understanding that employment was a responsibility of the state. MMT is just an improved version of the oh-so-close “New” Keynesian / Institutional economics of the 30s & 40s.

    Unemployment IS a private debt problem, a problem caused by the existence of a monetary economy. When you buy something for money, you incur a private debt, and settle it with money. The taxation that drives a monetary economy is the imposition of private debts by the government.. It is a structural, inevitable problem, intrinsic to money. So the structural private debt problem called unemployment has to have a structural solution, which is full employment, which boils down to the JG.

    I don’t see a need for or the justice of a jobs program. Well, then it just needs to be explained repeatedly, in as many ways as possible, until everyone gets it & sees how simple & obvious it is. A government running a monetary economy without a JG is behaving utterly without justice. Without a trace of sanity or common sense even. It is creating a private debt problem, and refusing to provide a solution, refusing to provide people with any way out. It is preventing them from helping themselves. It is behaving in a way which no sane, ordinary household or firm ever would or has. People who behave like a government that disemploys its people are generally sent to prisons or mental institutions.

    The JG work is no more “make-work” than any other work in the economy. Either it is all make-work, or none of it is. If the government stopped spending, but continued taxing, unemployment would go to 100%. The whole system runs on government expenditure, on “make-work”. Everybody, every “private employer” must ultimately get his money from government spending, or government-backed institutions that get their financial power, and often money, from the government. And the money one acquires represents how much one has contributed to public purpose. So one can see that the “public purpose” in the USA are basically: War (military-industrial complex), Financial Fraud (welfare to TBTF bankster banks & the financial sector), Non-financial Fraud (the medical-industrial, prison-industrial etc complexes, inefficient privatization of things the public sector does better) and direct welfare for the rich (bonds).

    Except for bonds (no-work) , direct government support of the economy is pretty much all “make-work”. The least make-worky thing by far is direct non-military government employment like the JG. The “make-work” myth would ensure that JG work would be exceedingly productive. It would be really hard to spend money worse than the USA does now.

  14. Remember folks he has proven this in Argentina.

    Not too many economic policy ideas come with proof attached.
    We should be debating details of what it did in Argentina, not whether it works or is effective.

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