(COLLEGE STUDENTS AT A CAFETERIA TABLE):
(STUDENT 1) “The Capitalists, the capitalists. She kept using this funny term. And at first we didn’t even know who she was talking about. Then little by little it became clear.”
(STUDENT 2) “But it was funny because she wasn’t a communist or anything like that.”
(STUDENT 3) “No—she just wanted to fix capitalism!”
(YOUNG MAN WITH A CUP OF COFFEE)
“I couldn’t find work in my town, so I came to the capital. I looked and looked. I took some shit job. And I couldn’t get ahead. Finally I went back.”
(WOMAN WITH RED HAIR)
“If you graduated with a degree in something and wanted to find a job in that, it would take years. You couldn’t find anything. It was so discouraging.”
“The effect? You want me to talk about the effect? Well, we had everything you don’t have now. Garbage on the streets, vandalism, begging, old people who couldn’t take care of themselves. Disorder, social disorder.”
9 of July, Year 2
Ladies and gentlemen
I would like to address my remarks today to the wonderful and awe inspiring topic of work. Yes, work. Common, everyday work. So many jobs need to be done. So many people are in need of social services and do not get them. The elderly could use a hand with cleaning their home, running errands, some even need help taking care of their bodily necessities such as food and hygiene.
Public facilities and roads must be cleaned, beautified and landscaped.
There are professional jobs for which one needs training and apprenticeship and there are unskilled jobs.
The point I am trying to make is simple: there is work to do. And this is aside from the normal paid jobs in manufacturing and institutions. Everywhere there is work. There is no scarcity of work.
Then why is there a scarcity of Jobs?
There are some that would have us believe there is a scarcity of jobs because it would be to their advantage if this were so. If people are desperate enough they will take a job at any wage. The key to capitalism is to drive down the value of labor (through the myth of scarcity) so as to maximize profits.
But I digress. Let me get back to the subject of work.
Society must have workers. It is the workers who pay our taxes. It is the workers who produce the commodities that are sold in our economy. It is the workers who provide all the services we need. At some point there is a balance between the supply of workers and the demand for workers that is optimum; ideal for a society to function well. There is a point of wellbeing.
What is this point? It is the point at which every individual who needs it has a job. There should be as many jobs as there are people who want jobs.
Now let us examine the relationship of the individual with work. Every individual must have some occupation, whether it is in the arts, crafts, sciences or services. Work gives dignity to the life of the individual. Whether this work is a generator of income is not the issue. The individual must have work for his own sense of self worth, for his own sanity, in order to express himself, in order to feel himself of use to his fellow human beings. Some may think they do not want work, that they wish to lead a life of ease, dedicated only to leisure, but in reality man must have an occupation. Otherwise he will flounder and become afflicted with maladies. It is true, we have seen the loss of motivation, the depression, the delinquency.
In our modern day then, these three things are a fact: there is work, society benefits from workers, and the individual benefits from work.
Through time man has worked for his survival, hunting, gathering, farming, caring for his family. As we became more communal we traded goods and services. Then, we came to establish a value for labor and the commodities produced by labor. Then, some found a way to capitalize it and eventually, to divest the worker of his work, so that it no longer belonged to the worker himself, but to the one who purchased it. Some work became valued more and other work was devalued because it bore no relationship to money. Because of this relationship of work to money (labor to capital) we have become very confused about things, our relationship to work has become distorted, twisted up into a thing to be stolen, enslaved or delegitimized. One example of the later is mother’s work, which is fundamental to society but is at the same time not valued as such.
Now I would like to return to a simple view:
1. That work done in a spirit of service to our family and to society at large is an expression of our highest selves.
2. That all individuals need an occupation for their own well being.
3. That society benefits from a fully employed population and avoids many problems arising from unemployment.
4. That the relationship between an individual’s work and its valuation (monetization) needs to undergo a fundamental re-conceptualization to reflect principles of fairness, equity, justice, and respect. Likewise, we must do away with all traces of exploitation, greed, devaluation, underemployment and ultimately, poverty.
If we can agree on these principles, how shall we implement them?
Here I propose 3 measures for your consultation so as to regulate work in Aussland:
1. That we find employment for every individual 16 and over who wishes to work. That is to say, the government shall become the guarantor of “the right to work” through an agency to be established. This agency will coordinate with the private sector to place individuals in jobs, to generate at all times a supply of jobs equal to the demand, by coordinating with all providers of employment. Whatever percentage of employment the private sector cannot provide, the government will provide. In other words, if the percent unemployment is 9%, then the government will place these individuals in government subsidized jobs.
2. The second point is that the baseline wage for unskilled labor be regulated to be equivalent to that needed for subsistence. That is to say, if one works, it cannot be for a value less than that of subsistence. We are not all equal. Some will work and due to their genius and superior effort or talent, they will accrue added value to their work and achieve different grades of prosperity. But, we are sufficiently equal to say, all men’s labor is equal to their subsistence. That if a man or woman’s labor is not equal to their subsistence then something is being stolen from him.
All other wages then will continue from there, as determined by market supply and demand, degree of skill and preparation, etc.
3. The third point is that industry be taxed, to create a fund for the education and preparation of workers. If the employer benefits from a trained workforce, then it is only just that they contribute to the preparation and training of the workers. We currently tax both the employer and worker to create an unemployment compensation. These taxes will become obsolete since now everyone can be guaranteed full employment. So this money (now to be called “employment taxes”) can be set aside to pay wages to the new 100% workforce and to set up the Labor Agency of the government.
Now, this set of three cardinal principles are a choice we can make in society, due to the advancement of the times, due to the complexity of the economic machinery today. We are now post industrial revolution, post communist experimentation, post Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Yes. We can decide, Ladies and Gentlemen of Parliament, this is where I come before you to propose we adopt this three part “Work Act.”
The fact of the matter is, that unemployment has a high cost to society, it causes more problems than we are willing to have. So why not end the charade of job scarcity and decide, yes, decide, to have full employment of our population? If the normal economic machinery of capitalism and the free market will only generate 90% of the jobs needed for our population then let society guarantee to provide the rest.
As reported by Rhea Harmsen