RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 07:59:19 MDT

Thanks to Damien for posting some URLs to look at about the
question of how a Guaranteed Income would work out. (I know
that many here reject the whole idea on principle; me too,
except that (1) who knows what will happen if maturn MNT
comes a while before the Singularity?, (2) if rolling back
the level of government confiscation isn't going to happen,
should a Negative Income Tax be suggested instead to replace
the massive government bureaucracies of HEW here in the U.S.?,
and (3) I find the econonomics of it interesting anyway.)

I suppose that I need to consult St. Google for some American
examples (Damien's appear to be mostly about proposals and
analyses concerning the Australian or European situations).
I was struck by the following passage, however, in one of
those URLS. Foreign readers probably will want to skip this,
but American's might be amused as to how some of the European's
view their own problems (highly different from ours, e.g., in
the light of having much better educated peoples).

03mar98: Wim van Velzen: Europe lacks jobs not skills

Unemployment in Europe: Can Things Only Get Better?

In the European Union 18 million people are officially registered unemployed, i.e., 12% of
the active population. Half of them have been out of work for more than a year. More than
one fifth of all young people are without a paid job. Between 25 and 30 million people in
Europe are looking for work. Critics of the European social model are not getting tired of
pointing out, how much better the United States are doing in creating net employment. What
they seem to forget is that millions of employed Americans live in poverty without a
decent social safety net and health insurance and that the inequality in American society
is growing. This is not the way Europe should polish up its unemployment statistics: we do
not have the political ambition of creating a social class of the "working poor".
Furthermore, the European Treaty obliges us to strive for social cohesion.

In the Thatcher era, the UK government had firmly set course for the American model. The
new Labour government seems to want to find a "third way" between the American and the
European, i.e., Continental, model. Coming from the good old continent, I want to come to
the defence of the solidarity-based European social model. I think it is worthwhile
defending: it has done well, it is doing well and there is no reason to dismiss it.
However, it has to undergo certain changes. That is normal. Systems have to be dynamic,
they have to be able to react to economic, social and societal changes.

It is true that our employment rate (60.4%) [not a misprint? 40 percent unemployment?]
is low compared to the USA and Japan where it exceeds 74%. So, what can we do to exploit
the huge labour reserve we have in Europe? According to the recent Commission document
"Growth and Employment in The Stability-Oriented Framework of EMU" two conditions must be
met: firstly, the existing workforce must be "employable" and, secondly, the economy must
create the necessary working posts.

For quite a while European institutions and national governments have presented training
as a miracle cure against unemployment. It is, therefore, nothing less than astonishing
that in this recent document the European Commission changes its tune. Where in earlier
documents the lack of skills of the European workforce was blamed for high unemployment,
it is now strongly pointed out that actually skill-wise our workforce is not doing so
badly after all, and that the economy must create the necessary working posts in the first

"...from the present 10.7 per cent of the labour force which is unemployed, about 6 per
cent could re-enter the job market fairly fast if and when jobs are offered to them. Thus,
despite some bottlenecks in a few specific sectors, there is no evidence that the skills
offered by a sizable share of the workforce are basically outdated or insufficient to
ensure employability the true immediate bottleneck is located at the level of net job
creation in the economy."

This only underlines what the European Parliament has been pointing out for years: that
training people without being able to offer them jobs is pointless. For years European
citizens have been trained and retrained several times in a row with money from the
Structural Funds without ever finding sustainable employment.

(taken from

Maybe some European countries with their "safety nets" already
have the equivalent of a GI? Or... they lack jobs and we lack
skills? Sounds like a deal in the making. I guess that they
should all just come over here, where there is a shortage of
people with skills. I'll have to go re-read some Julian Simon
and see what he thinks about the idea of the U.S. population
approaching six billion.


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