The Job Guarantee

NEP’s Pavlina Tcherneva appears in the following video by Rebecca Rojer. The video condenses a lecture by Pavlina explaining what a job guarantee is, its economic impact, and what we can learn from her research on the Jefes (“Heads of Households”) Program in Argentina.

2 Responses to The Job Guarantee

  1. It’s on now!: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/01/13/job_guarantee_bad_news_bears.html

    Keep it clean, ladies and gents, and come out fightin’. :)

  2. I remember the first time I was introduced to the concept of a Job Guarantee.

    As a long time gamer, it wasn’t really a hard concept for me to understand. See, most my my gaming, at least in my mid-late 20’s, has been playing online rpgs; games like world of warcraft and whatnot (stay with me, this will make sense and be applicaple in a moment.)

    Now in these games you make a character and run around do quests and kill things to level up to do more quest and kill more things that become progressively harder. Rewards for quests become progressively more, but costs associated with upkeeping your player rise as well (things like repairing gear and such). Anyway, that’s sort of tangant to the topic, back to point.

    So a primary means of making money, and in turn being productive in the online economy, comes from doing little quests here and there. But later in the game, as you gain both experience and in game capital, you can continue to do quests and kill monsters OR you can opt to create a small business of sorts in the form of tradeskills (things like making armor and weapons).

    Well if you opt to making goods, there is a chance you could basically go completely broke making things that don’t sell. In the real world, you would end up homeless, carless, and likely be unemployable. But this is not the case here. In these games, where a Job guarantee exists, if you go broke you can just go back to doing quests and killing things to make some capital and try something else to what have you.

    See the quest givers, from the beginning to the end, never worry about how many players are on, or doing said quest, they only worry about if you have or have not completed their desired task. And reverting back to the beginning, as it were, is always an option. This allows players the freedom to take a chance with no lasting downside.

    Now, granted, this is a game, so certain aspects of it don’t pertain to reality, but the underlying concept of giving people a safety net in case their world drops out from under them is still relevant. Part of being an American is trying to be more than you were. Taking a chance and doing something creative and inspiring. But in the current age, this simply doesn’t exist. You have to have the capital already to even consider forging a new path, and if you go belly up, there is a great chance that you are screwed indefinately. Many don’t even take the chance inspite of having an innovative idea simply due to the fear of losing it all.

    What’s more is that there is already a law on the books to provide such a thing as a Job Guarantee. A little known law by the name of the Humphery’s-Hawking’s Full employment act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humphrey%E2%80%93Hawkins_Full_Employment_Act) was established to do this very thing. In the event of the private sector to begin not hiring, either by choice or design, this act was to ensure people could have jobs and maintain a level of aggregate demand to be productive in the economy.