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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:49 PM

 

Full Employment as the New Progressive Paradigm (part 2 of 4)


1. The Political Arguments

For over four decades, progressives have seen a gradual unwinding of the old social and political framework that defined much of the New Deal coalition and helped define the postwar era. An older ethos of team spirit, equality, government activism, sober regulation of the private sector and common advancement toward mutual economic goals has given way to trends in the direction of radical individualism, privatization, deregulation, and unchained avarice. The newer approach has been characterized by an enthusiastic embrace of markets and a fierce opposition to any form of public direction of the country’s economic destiny through government. The economic role of government is seen under this paradigm, at most, to consist in the provision of some occasional countercyclical stimulus and the maintenance of a so-called “safety net” for those who fail to thrive in the private sector...

Neoliberalism is a failure, although as is often the case the political elites who are stakeholders in the prevailing order, and who stand guard over it, will be the last to get the message... Four decades of neoliberal transformation of the economy have delivered us into a society that is more insecure, unequal, brutal, uncivil and degrading. That society is now mired in economic stagnation and paralyzed by systemic political failure.

The plutocrats who are the chief beneficiaries of the neoliberal revolution have successfully exploited divisions among ordinary Americas to pursue a divide and conquer strategy that routinely defuses threats to their power... among the most important of these divisions are the growing antagonisms between groups of people who are equally struggling, but who struggle in different ways and with different relationships to government. Working people...are constantly pitted against people who are not working and who receive various forms of more extensive public assistance...

People working longer hours under increasingly degrading and powerless conditions... easily come to resent those who are seen as dependent on some form social assistance. These resentments breed a toxic and disempowering political dynamic...As a consequence of that bitter resentment, he is unable to work with the other person on a common agenda of reducing the economic and political power of the lord... This, then, is the first political argument for a renewed progressive embrace of full employment. Moving to a full employment society would help to restore social solidarity and a sense of common interest among poor, working class and other middle class Americans...

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2012/12/full-employment-as-the-new-progressive-paradigm-2.html

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Full Employment as the New Progressive Paradigm (part 2 of 4) (Original post)
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
dkf Dec 2012 #1
tama Dec 2012 #2
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #3
tama Dec 2012 #4
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #5
tama Dec 2012 #6
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #7
tama Dec 2012 #8
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #9
frostfern Dec 2012 #10
PETRUS Dec 2012 #11

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:53 PM

1. How do you get to full employment if you have people constantly coming here to work?

 

I agree with you that the key is full employment. But our immigration policies or lack thereof can add unlimited people to the equation.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:02 PM

2. Disagree

 

If we mean by 'progressive' adaptation to evolutionary and environmental changes and challenges, full employment without liberation from the hierarchic destructive structures of capitalist class society and technocracy would and will only mean pacing up the path of destruction of the planet we depend from and collective suicide.

General strikes of global scale is much better - and also more realistic - goal than conservatively clinging to chains of wage slavery without ability to imagine anything else.



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Response to tama (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:07 PM

3. global general strikes -- for what plan? that's a nice theoretical position, but i don't see it as

 

politically viable one under current conditions.

spain & greece have 25% unemployment & even they can't get a general strike going that lasts more than a few days.

you be in charge of organizing the global general strike, ok? you can combine that with your program for ecological austerity.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:26 PM

4. To get rid of the parasite class bosses

 

and to share what we can and need to produce sustainably equally according to our needs - not according to debt funded consumer rampage to keep the wheels of capitalism screeching and sparking.

How viable is full employment? Not at all. Interest and willingness towards general strikes is swelling everywhere. But I guess if gonna happen on scale required, can take years or even decades.

Yes the truth hurts, at first, and when in hurt we tend to slash out.

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Response to tama (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:28 PM

5. you have the little problem that a majority aren't interested in getting rid of the 'parasite class

 

bosses', nor view them as such.

full employment is a goal that a lot of ordinary people would sign on to. that's why it's politically viable.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:38 PM

6. Hmm

 

I get the sense you are speaking from American perspective, which is more narrow. I think globally and (in)act locally.

But if you wan't global general strikes (how else?) for e.g. 6 hour work day with equal pay to achieve full employment, I don't see conflict but same direction.

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Response to tama (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:11 PM

7. actually, not so much as you might think. it's been my experience in every country i've lived in

 

that the average person didn't think in terms like 'parasite capitalist class'.

the point about 'full employment' is that a majority of most modern populations (i.e. populations where the market is the dominant economic reality, rather than populations still organized at the level of pre-capitalist production) -- supports the idea that there should be work for everyone who wants to/is able to work & that it should pay enough to survive.

if capitalism can't provide that much -- or won't provide support to those it has dispossessed -- what good is it?

my preference for work over e.g. 'charity' is that i personally believe charity is disempowering and degrading -- or can be demagogued as such, which amounts to the same thing.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:18 PM

8. I like the Occupy Sandy slogan

 

"Mutual aid, not charity".

And of course the naturally conservative aspect in us tends to think in terms of prevailing system. But we were supposed to discuss progressive politics, not conservative. And as the prevailing system cannot continue and radical changes are inevitable, we need to progressively adapt to change and change our ways of thinking.

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Response to tama (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:13 AM

9. full employment would be a radical change.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:45 AM

10. The current problem...

There is just enough social safety net that people aren't genuinely suffering. They are just under ever increasing psychological stress from being in over their heads in debt and terrified of what could happen next. Idiotically, fear makes people conservative. In the early 1930s when there was no social safety net to speak of and the economy had hit absolute rock bottom. People were no longer afraid. They were instead desperate. That's the only thing that changed people's opinions and turned the tide against the irrational urge that "belt tightening" and "austerity" was the only way out. The typical conservative "horse sense" is that an economic depression is akin to a typical household finance crisis occurring on a large scale. They believe the cause must be that some people somewhere must be either overindulging or slacking off. With a "safety net" in place that people are increasingly becoming reliant on, it's really easy to blame the underclass. I don't know what is needed to shake people of this obnoxious BS intuition.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 09:32 AM

11. K&R

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