Post Publication Independent Review of

"Guaranteeing Employment during the Pandemic and Beyond"

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Part XXXI. Post Publication Independent Review of "Guaranteeing Employment during the Pandemic and Beyond"

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Post Publication Independent Review of

"Guaranteeing Employment during the Pandemic and Beyond,"

Pavlina R. Tcherneva, 2020.

Economics Policy Note Archive 20-4, Levy Economics Institute.

Review Comments:

1. Quote “Everything about the coronavirus response in the United States today suggests one thing tomorrow: guaranteed and prolonged mass unemployment, the kind that most of us have never witnessed. When the CARES Act loan guarantees (with already extremely weak job protections) expire and firms face continued reduction in demand, the layoffs that did not take place during the pandemic will happen when the economy “reopens.” Whatever cash assistance we provide to families to keep them afloat now, millions of them will be scrambling for the pitifully scarce jobs of the postpandemic world. And we know what many of those jobs will be: poorly paid, with no benefits or basic employment protections, much like the ones “essential” workers currently have (the delivery drivers, grocery store clerks, and sanitation staff).” End of Quote

If this can happen in the USA, then it can happen anywhere. Consequently, we will have to give a detailed look at the authors perspectives on these.

2. Quote “instead of capitulating to a world of guaranteed unemployment, we can demand policies that guarantee employment. During the pandemic, the government can protect jobs by acting as a kind of employer of last resort, while in the post-pandemic world it can create jobs directly via mass mobilization and a job guarantee (JG)” End of Quote.

This seems to be a novel & unique suggestion.

3. Quote “Another method would be for the government to provide direct grants to firms, as several members of Congress have recently proposed,2 that would cover the wages of all workers earning up to a certain amount or of furloughed and laid-off workers only, with additional subsidies for operating costs. Each grant comes with explicit conditions to retain or bring back laid-off workers and use the funds as planned, without stock buybacks, dividend payouts, CEO compensation subsidies, or golden parachutes.” End of Quote.

This may be a good suggestion, but it is for the Govt. to decide whether it can be done. Further, this seems to be a good option, and might encourage better FDI too.

4. Quote “Now is the time to plan a program that tackles the second epidemic: the social catastrophe that comes with mass unemployment. If we wait for the private sector to create the needed jobs, we shall be waiting too long. Jobless recoveries have become the norm for half a century now, and even when we managed to reach the lows of 3.5 percent unemployment in the months before the pandemic, economists were begrudgingly admitting that there was more labor market slack left.” End of Quote.

Perhaps, the Govt. may need to examine this suggestion carefully.

5. Quote “To restore jobs, and good jobs too, the government must play a direct role in hiring the unemployed. To do this on short order it would need to launch large-scale public investment projects that create millions of good union and other well-paying jobs at all wage and skill levels. There are other existential threats before us and there is plenty of work to do. The Green New Deal is the obvious place to start.” End of Quote.

Maybe Governments can attempt to work together to identify common areas of immediate interest and roll off mega-projects in association with the UNDP or the EU or any other multinational forum.

6. Quote “It is important to make clear that large-scale mobilization and direct job creation programs are not the same thing as ensuring that decent jobs are always available to anyone who is looking (Tcherneva 2020b). The only way to do this is through a JG—the third, and indispensable, piece of any comprehensive job creation and job preservation strategy. It is a program that guarantees anyone who walks into the unemployment office can walk out with an employment option that offers a minimum living income with benefits. The JG is a public option for jobs in the public service sector that offers on-the-job training and assistance with transitioning to other employment opportunities.” End of Quote

This seems to be an awesome suggestion, if when implemented in such a populous nation like INDIA, which has a diverse cross-section of skilled, unskilled, educated, uneducated and professionally qualified candidates (inclusive of those returning to INDIA during COVID-19) may result, apart from Job Guarantee (JG), spearhead the next industrial revolution.

7. Quote “Many private sector workers will get a pay raise, which in turn will boost spending, growth, and firm profits.” End of Quote.

Weren’t we looking for such a magic solution?

8. Quote “The bottom line is this: mass unemployment is avoidable. But having accepted it as an inevitable (even if unfortunate) circumstance during recessions and pandemics—and worse, as a perennial feature of the economy—we have painted ourselves into a corner, unable to envision a world or policies that prevent it and the pain it inflicts on families and communities.” End of Quote

This means that solutions exist, if we want solutions to avoid mass unemployment. Perhaps, we will have to look for it, using new methods and new tools and maybe new/re-designated people identified for the purpose too.

9. Quote “The JG is the assurance that good jobs will be waiting when the economy turns the lights back on. The stronger the job protection policies now, the bigger and bolder the mobilization efforts tomorrow, the more nimble and effective the JG program can be. It remains the only policy that secures that essential, most basic economic right for all—the right to a decent, useful, and remunerative employment opportunity—at all times, good or bad.” End of Quote.

Perhaps, if the JG was done in a way that was able to be done, the success of the effort would earn much goodwill and reputation for the Govt. that International Collaborative Ventures at Govt. & Public Private or Private Partnerships might kick off easily and also bond together for a sustained longer period of time, yielding satisfactory and more than satisfactory results. This may be able to be done under the UNDP or EU or any other multinational cooperation umbrella. These could be the first few steps for a bold economic revival attempt for the Nation, and also to help other Nations of the world in their economic revival, creating new synergies in International Cooperation & Joint Economic Activities. It does need one Govt. to take the first bold step coz of the inherent risks involved accompanied with the expected high returns and positive outcomes. Perhaps, INDIA can take the first steps in this direction, for the good of the Nation, and the good of all cooperating Nations, through the UNDP or EU or any other multinational cooperation umbrella.

Reference is hereby sought to

Part 31

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