By Dan Kervick
Part Two of a four-part essay
In Part One of this essay, I evoked the dismal state of the progressive movement in the developed world, and proposed that as part of the effort to turn this situation around progressives should embrace the political ideal of a full employment economy, with an activist government permanently standing ready to provide a productive job for every person who is both willing and able to work, but who is unable to find work in the private sector.
I would hope people of every political stripe would see value in a full employment economy. But my argument here is aimed at progressives specifically. I want to explain why, given the kinds of defining values they have traditionally embraced – democracy, equality, solidarity and progress – progressives should be drawn to the full employment ideal. I will first explain why, in my view, progressives should view the pursuit of a full employment economy as a political, economic and moral imperative, and embrace the full employment cause as a foundation for progressive political revival. I will then set out a few basic proposals about how a full employment economy might be structured.