Good ideas are rare these days. Most of what we hear as a new idea is usually one rebranded from long ago and dollied up to sound so refreshing, so original we forget it has been around for decades, even centuries.
The concept of full employment is not new. It has been around for as long as anyone alive can remember, but despite being one that is both economically fundamental and relatively easy to implement, it has not been on the list of policy preferences of any political party since the 1970s.
One might be forgiven for thinking that a catch-cry like, ‘Jobs and Growth’ would be the natural introduction to a policy of full employment, but it isn’t.
In fact, ‘Jobs and Growth’ could well be described as the headline act of a snake oil salesman. It sounds as if it holds the secret to a bold new initiative to get people back to work, all 700,000+.
It does nothing of the sort. There is not a single item within its obscure, deceptive slogan that in any way could be described as putting people back to work and growing the economy in a way that everyone would benefit.
Leigh Sales put the very vagueness of its nature to Malcolm Turnbull on ABC’s 7.30 last week and he was unable to give it any more than a sugar-coated covering of elusive, indefinable, broad strokes that detailed nothing and explained nothing.
But we know the concept of full employment can be explained, can be itemised and can be demonstrated. It is how a modern economy should operate. If our politicians would do what they are paid to do and work for the common good, it could all happen.
The mechanics of Full Employment or the Job Guarantee as it is often referred to, is outlined in the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) website which explains how it can be implemented. It answers any questions that might arise including how it would be paid for, its inflationary impact and how the jobs are created.
The founder of CofFEE is Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, and a notable proponent of Modern Monetary Theory. He is a noted author of several books on macroeconomics and his book, ‘Full Employment Abandoned: Shifting Sands and Policy Failures’ co-written with Joan Muysken of Maastricht University contends that unemployment is a reflection of systemic policy failures, rather than any individual problem.
One would have thought that a policy of full employment would be centre stage of any political party, but it is not. The reason being that it interferes with the utterly immoral, neo-liberal idea that a certain level of unemployment is necessary to control wages growth.
Therefore, the push for full employment will have to come from the people and there is no better time to create that push than a federal election.
The ‘My Big Idea’ program initiated by the Australian Futures Project provides the opportunity for a grass roots idea to be given maximum coverage if it receives enough votes.
I have submitted a proposal for full employment based on Professor Mitchell’s model. So, in effect, it is not my idea, it is his and is one that would benefit the entire nation. It should be supported.
If you agree, you can vote for this idea here. You could also share it among friends as far and as wide as our nation allows. Full employment means a job for everyone who wants one. That should not be seen as a privilege but as a basic human right.
If this submission is voted one of the top ten, it will receive nationwide exposure and will have been a worthwhile exercise. From there, politicians can choose to do something about it, or ignore it at their peril. It’s up to you.