Category Archives: Employment

End Unemployment Now – Despite Congress; Batra

End Unemployment Now_MECH_02.inddDr. Ravi Batra is out with a new book on the alternative to capitalism and communism in the US, this time focusing on how to end unemployment now — despite Congress, that is.

Video interview: Dr. Batra airs some of his current main ideas (30 min.)

Material by and with Dr. Batra on PROUT Globe (click and scroll)

Salient ideas of Dr. Batra's new book:

  1. The main cause of our myriad troubles is monopoly capitalism, which is a system dominated by giant companies that charge high prices, pay low wages and extract huge productivity from employees. Consequently, supply remains high, while demand stagnates, resulting in overproduction and hence layoffs; so the solution lies in breaking up the behemoths and returning to free markets, where small firms engage in price and quality competition.
  2. That requires new legislation and the cooperation of Congress, which itself is either divided or beholden to monopoly capitalists. So we can’t count on the legislature.
  3. The president can bring about a competitive-capitalism effect, though not actual free markets, without recourse to Congress.
  4. A competitive-capitalism effect occurs when, through certain official proclamations or policies, a market arrives at a similar outcome that would prevail in the presence of small firms operating as competitive enterprises.
  5. With the help of the agencies such as the FDIC and the CFTC that work for him, the president can bring about this effect in several industries including banking, oil and gasoline, pharmaceuticals as well as foreign trade.
  6. The FDIC has the legal authority to start its own bank, which could compete with banking giants and bring down interest rates on credit card balances from the current range of 15 – 30 percent to just 5 percent.
  7. The CFTC can legally raise margin requirements for oil futures to control speculation and bring petrol price down to $20 per barrel from the triple digit levels that prevailed until mid-2014, in spite of a relentless decline in American petroleum imports. In 1998 even a puny fall in these imports brought oil down to just $12 per barrel.
  8. The president and the Federal Reserve should and can eliminate our trade deficit by doing what China and Japan do; he can offer an export-oriented exchange rate to raise our exports to the level of our imports, so that we follow a policy of balanced free trade.
  9. The measures described above will raise consumer demand and create at least 5 million manufacturing jobs within a year. They will help retire federal debt, slowly but surely, and put an end to poverty.

PROUT and Employment (1): The Backdrop

By Trond Overland
A worsening of the crisis of capitalism will cause unemployment figures to rise sharply globally. There are numerous reasons for the establishment to be concerned.

Among other things, high unemployment causes social unrest. One in four young adults in the Middle East and North Africa are jobless, a factor that contributed significantly to the dynamics of the Arab Spring.

At present around one in four youth are unemployed in the EU. As per mid-February 2012, Spain’s jobless rate for people aged 16 to 24 was approaching 50 percent. Greece’s was 48 percent, and Portugal’s and Italy’s, 30 percent, the New York Times reported.

“It does not help the unemployed of California that Apple is the world’s most profitable company when its pods, pads and phones are being produced in China.”

In the UK, young people aged 16 to 24 account for about 40% of all unemployed, which means almost 1 million young adults were jobless. Half of the UK’s young black men are unemployed, a figure that has doubled in three years and is now double of that for white counterparts, The Guardian reported. Experts say that the majority of those who took to the streets in London last summer were young people who were unemployed, out of school and not participating in a job training program, the NYT wrote.

A Eurofound report [pdf] shows that youth without education, employment or training cost the EU €2 billion per week, 1% of its aggregate GDP, and that “youth unemployment and its accompanying risk of social exclusion and alienation is a real issue in many member states”.

Among Latin America youths a lost generation is emerging as unemployment soars; nearly 20 percent are neither studying nor looking for jobs, the Christian Science Monitor reports. In 2011, about 75 million youth were unemployed globally. Young people are nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) states in its 2011 annual report.

Global figures

According to ILO’s 2011 forecasting report, global rates of open unemployment, which had been falling from their peaks of early 2009, started rising again in December 2010 for developed countries and by the middle of 2011 for developing countries as a group. A September 2011 report from the G20 found that in the first quarter of 2011, only a handful of countries had employment levels above those of the first quarter of 2008, before the global crisis erupted, Gosh observes.

One in ten earthlings are currently unemployed, says the CIA World Factbook. A great many others are let down severely although they may have some employment: One in five workers in the world (630 million workers) lived with their families at the extreme US$ 1.25 a day level in 2009.

1.5 billion workers were in vulnerable employment in 2009, which corresponds to a vulnerable employment rate of more than half of the world’s work force, ILO reported. Official unemployment figures throughout China, India and the rest of Asia, Africa and Latin-America are accompanied by “substantial unemployment and underemployment in rural areas,” according to the CIA.

It is therefore not surprising that numerous proposals on how to tackle unemployment continue to come from governments, research institutions, unions, etc.

Reformist proposals

Proposed reforms range from sharing existing work hours among a larger labor force to replacing capitalism with something else. Simply distributing work hours among a larger labor force, as suggested by the New Economics Foundation, is not possible under capitalism. To do so would indeed require a different economic system.

Perhaps Indian economist Jayati Ghosh comes nearer to a realistic alternative with her vision of “moving away from the profit- and export-driven growth model to a wage- and employment-led growth model, in which improvements in quality of life of all are seen as the basic goals.”

Centralization

“Economists,” writes American conservative economist Paul Craig Roberts, “have no known way of explaining how an economy, in which millions of manufacturing and professional service jobs have been offshored, can compensate for the lost American incomes and purchasing power. The profits from offshoring flow to a narrow segment of the population consisting of corporate management, shareholders, and Wall Street.

“These income flows cannot replace the millions of lost incomes and careers of those whose jobs have disappeared. There is a limit on the ability of the mega-rich to buy and to consume. The consumption of a few people cannot drive an economy. This is why the concentration of income and wealth in a few hands kills an economy.”

Once jobs are gone they don’t come back

Unemployment in developed countries has thus remained high, and in some cases increased, even when economic figures indicate “recovery”. The reason for such incongruity may be called the “Apple syndrome”: People who have lost their jobs due to outsourcing are in no position to maintain their previous spending levels, irrespective of the colossal profits accumulated by transnational companies based in their area. It does not help the unemployed of California that Apple Inc. may be the world’s most profitable company when its pods, pads and phones are being produced in China.

Once jobs are outsourced, that’s it. Proutist thinker Dr. Susmit Kumar writes: “Capitalism is for maximizing the profit. Therefore Wall Street, which caused the manufacturing and service jobs to shift offshore, will never allow these jobs to return.” The immediate negative effect of outsourcing is that local purchasing power is hurt before a long line of social and other problems sets in.

PROUT and Employment (2): 100% Employment
PROUT and Employment (3): Pragmatic Approaches to Eradicating Unemployment
PROUT and Employment (4): Balanced economy, Self-reliance and Cooperatives

Copyright The author 2012

PROUT and Employment (4): Balanced Economy, Self-reliance and Cooperatives

A PROUT Globe presentation
In many undeveloped and developing countries of the world there is excessive population pressure on agriculture. It is improper if more than forty-five percent of the population is employed in agriculture.

In villages and small towns pre- and post harvest industries should be developed on the basis of the socio-economic potential of the region. Various other types of industries should be established according to the collective needs.

This approach will create enormous opportunities for new employment. Through such an employment policy, increasing the standard of living of the local people will be possible.

Sarkar determined that if the percentage of people engaged in non-agricultural industry is kept between twenty and thirty percent of the population, then it creates a state of balance, a balanced socio-economic system. If the percentage goes beyond thirty percent it becomes an industrially developed area. The more the percentage rises beyond thirty percent, the more the area goes from industrially developed to industrially over-developed.

In order to procure agricultural produce the industrially over-developed countries try to convert agriculturally predominant regions into their satellites. They feel the need to keep these industrially undeveloped countries under their control in order to serve as a market for their finished goods. If they do not obtain markets for their industrially produced consumer goods, they will have to suffer from economic recessions and growing unemployment.

Socio-economic self-reliance

In 1958, Sarkar suggested that the promotion of industry in one part of the world cannot eradicate either poverty or unemployment in any other part. Instead it is desirable to form self-sufficient units one by one, to produce the essential commodities of life, at least in the fields of agriculture and industry. Otherwise people may have to face tremendous hardship and misery during war and other abnormal circumstances. With the development of transport facilities, we can increase the scope of these units.

In the interest of developing local industries and create employment for the local population, PROUT’s decentralized economy dictates that commodities that are not produced within the local area should be banished from the local market as far as possible.

PROUT supports the principle of reducing transport of raw materials to nil. Raw materials should be refined in the area of their source. In addition to supporting the environment, this principle will support local employment and a drop in the prices of semi- and fully refined products.

Local control

According to PROUT, wherever there is surplus labor, top priority must be given to creating employment for all local labor. This policy will raise the standard of living of the local people and the whole area.

If this policy is not implemented and surplus labor is allowed to move to other regions, then all plantations, mines and other natural resources will be controlled by outside labor. Local people will lose control over their natural resources. This is a major part of the reason for the very unstable situation we have today.

While creating employment for the local people, consideration must be given to local sentiments, writes Sarkar. For instance, many areas of India are regions of surplus intellectual labor. People in this category are ready to work as clerks for a very low wage but they are not prepared to work as porters and earn more money.

PROUT holds that the problem of surplus intellectual labor is unique and should be solved in a proper way. In these areas industries which require less manual labor should be established. Thus, different development schemes will have to be adopted in different socio-economic units depending upon time, place and person.

If people are guided by the needs and potentialities of their socio-economic unit, the law of productivity is benign. Maximum production in the economy will provide a congenial environment for more investment, more industrialization, more employment, increasing purchasing capacity and increasing collective wealth in an ever progressive manner, Sarkar concludes.

The development of local industries will provide immediate economic benefits. The unemployment problem will be rapidly solved, and in a short time it will be possible to create a congenial environment for permanent full employment.

In fact, the only way to solve unemployment and bring about full employment throughout the world is by developing block-level industries. The growth of local industries will provide social security to the local people and create greater opportunities for their all-round advancement, because all their basic needs will be met.

The population of every socio-economic unit should be organized on a scientific basis, Sarkar held. The problem of a floating population should be tackled on the block level itself. Where there is a floating population, it should be either permanently settled or returned to its original region.

Eradication of mass poverty

PROUT’s People’s economy includes employment for all; the eradication of mass poverty; the development of rural economy; the phase-wise socialization of land into the hands of those who work physically or intellectually for proper production; practical training programs to impart skills which enable people to find employment in their immediate urban or rural locality; work placement; and the transportation, trans-shipment, loading and unloading of any materials, even if they are not economically viable in the short-term.

People’s economy is also concerned with the generation of cheap power and the supply of water, which are essential if people are to control their local economies. Finally, it includes economic decentralization, cooperative dynamo and block-level planning.

Cooperatives – skilled and unskilled labor

The workforce in PROUT’s cooperative system will be composed of the shareholding farmers and non-shareholding laborers. Both groups will benefit: the shareholding farmers will get regular salaries for their work plus a return on their shares, while the laborers will enjoy stable employment and favorable wages.

PROUT’s cooperative system will solve the problem of unemployment, writes Sarkar. As production increases the need for more facilities and resources will also increase. Educated people can be employed as skilled workers. There will also be a need for tractor drivers, laborers and cultivators, and cooperative members will naturally do this work.

Village people will not need to move to the cities for employment. In the cooperative system there should be no compulsory age for superannuation. People should be free to work as long as they like, providing their health permits.

Through the three phases of establishing the cooperative system it will be possible to reduce the excessive population pressure on land and to engage thirty to forty-five percent of the population in agriculture. In the second phase, the problem of unemployment will be tackled through the large-scale establishment of industry, and by the third phase there will be no unemployment problems for the agricultural laborers. By the end of the third phase, the rural sector will be freed from the vexing problems of agricultural and industrial production, unemployment and social security.

Abolition of income tax

PROUT advocates the abolition of income tax. If income tax is abolished in India and excise duty on excisable commodities is increased by only ten percent, there will be no loss of government revenue, Sarkar suggested in 1979.

When there is no income tax, nobody will try to accumulate black money. All money will be white money. As a result there will be economic solidarity, an increase in trade and commerce, more investment, more employment and an improvement in the position of foreign exchange.

Conclusion

PROUT is an all-comprising socio-economic model that aims at economic liberation to pave the way for further all-round growth. By liberating all from the curse of unemployment individuals and society will be free to explore truer meanings of existence and co-existence.

Source

Proutist Economics, Ananda Marga Publications

PROUT and Employment (1): The Backdrop
PROUT and Employment (2): 100% Employment
PROUT and Employment (3): Pragmatic Approaches to Eradicating Unemployment

Copyright PROUT Globe 2012

PROUT and Employment (3): Pragmatic Approaches to Eradicating Unemployment

A PROUT Globe presentation
To solve the unemployment problem in both the short and long term there must be an accurate understanding of the surplus and deficit manual and intellectual labor trends, PROUT holds. In India, for example, there is surplus manual labor in North Bihar, which is based upon an agricultural economy, and surplus intellectual labor in Calcutta. In both places there is high unemployment.

In most of the countries of the world where there is high unemployment, there is surplus manual labor. Hence manual labor intensive industries are required to create employment. In some instances where deficit labor exists for an expanding industry, retraining programs may equip workers with the necessary skills for employment.

Another way to help solve unemployment, especially in rural communities, is the utilization of plants for economic self-reliance. All socio-economic units have the potential to increase their plant and crop varieties by properly matching these with the soil, topography and climatic conditions etc. in their units.

Reforestation can reclaim arid and semi-arid regions. Pre- and post-harvest industries based upon the productive potential of different plants can also help solve rural unemployment by creating a range of new goods and services. There are many dimensions to this revolutionary plant rationalization program, which is also a practical expression of the ideals of Neohumanism, Sarkar emphasized.

New technology – blessing or curse?

The use of new technology has only supported capitalism’s drive for continuous reorganization and streamlining of production in order to increase profit margins. Such mechanization of labor under capitalism inevitably generates unemployment – increasing misery for those who are being left with no job.

Under PROUT, new technology and mechanization will lead to less labor and more prosperity for all. It is possible, Sarkar reflected, that as a result of mechanization no one will be required to work for more than five minutes a week.

Not always being preoccupied with the problems of acquiring food, clothing, etc., people’s psychic and spiritual potentialities will no longer be wasted. One will be able to devote ample time to such activities as sports, literary pursuits and spiritual practices. This is not possible under capitalism, due to the overarching dictate to maintain profit margins and a constant influence of degenerating media and pseudo-culture.

PROUT and Employment (4): Balanced economy, Self-reliance and Cooperatives
PROUT and Employment (2): 100% Employment
PROUT and Employment (1): The Backdrop

Copyright PROUT Globe 2012

PROUT and Employment (2): 100% Employment

A PROUT Globe presentation
PROUT aims at 100% employment for local people. The basic right of all people is to be guaranteed the minimum essentials for their existence, including at least proper food, clothing, housing, education and medical care, PROUT founder P.R. Sarkar maintained. This basic right should be arranged through cent per cent guaranteed employment, not through welfare or dole-outs.

According to PROUT, 100% employment of the local people is the only way to solve the problems of unemployment. Local people are defined as those who have merged individual socio-economic interests with the socio-economic interests of the socio-economic unit they live in. The primary consideration is whether or not people have merged their individual interests with their socio-economic unit, regardless of their colour, creed, race, mother tongue, birthplace, etc.

Those who earn their livelihood in a particular socio-economic unit but spend their earnings in another socio-economic unit should be considered as outsiders or non-local people, as this practice is not in accordance with the interests of the socioeconomic unit in which they are employed. It results in the drainage of the capital necessary for the continued growth of that unit and undermines its economic development.

Stock exchanges and other speculative platforms should be closed down immediately in order to pave the way for full employment. In nearly all cases the profits capitalists accrue are spent outside the local area and remitted to outside stockholders and parent companies, wrote Sarkar. An essential measure to control this economic exploitation is to close down those speculative markets in all countries of the world.

Short term solutions

To create 100% employment among local people, PROUT supports both a short term and a long term economic plan. In the short term plan, labor intensive industries based on the collective minimum requirements of life should be started immediately or made more productive where they already exist.

These short term industries should be based on the consumption motive. They should also provide a rational profit in order to guarantee adequate purchasing capacity to those employed in them and to ensure their continued existence and growth. For example, in places where there is virtually no industry due to over-emphasis on inefficient agriculture, all kinds of pre- and post-harvest industries can be developed to alleviate the unemployment problem.

Long term solutions

In the long term plan, capital intensive industries should also be developed to increase the productive capacity of the socioeconomic unit, PROUT holds. It advocates a three-tiered economic structure, that is, small scale privately owned businesses, medium scale cooperatives and large scale key industries managed by the immediate government.

Such an economic structure should be based on the principles of self-reliance, maximum utilization, rational distribution, decentralization, rationalization and progressive increases in the standard of living of all people. Through the never ending creation of new industries, new products and new production techniques incorporating the latest scientific discoveries, the vitality of the economy can be increased. As part of the long term economic plan, working hours may also be progressively reduced to maintain full employment.

Key points

PROUT’s solutions to the galloping unemployment problem include:

  • Investing local people with full control over their economy – no foreign influence or intervention permitted in the local area.
  • Evolving decentralized and not centralized economies.
  • Developing the cooperative sector as the major industrial and economic area of activity.
  • Placing economic liberation in a universal perspective that takes into account the legacy, environment and resources of people everywhere (while capitalism promotes a western urban elitist lifestyle through its commercial world media and pseudo-culture).

PROUT and Employment (3): Pragmatic Approaches to Eradicating Unemployment
PROUT and Employment (4): Balanced economy, Self-reliance and Cooperatives
PROUT and Employment (1): The backdrop 

Copyright PROUT Globe 2012

The US Cannot and Does Not Want to Fix its Unemployment Problem

(PROUT Globe, June 4, 2011) – The White House has said unemployment in the US is “uncomfortably high”. The pathetic admission came as the latest catastrophic American labour market figures were released yesterday.

The news set off dumping of shares on Wall Street amid speculation that the authorities would be forced into a third round of electronic money creation (quantitative easing) to bring down unemployment.

The real bad news for the US jobless is that unemployment is here to stay and will only increase. “Capitalism is for maximizing profits. Wall Street, which caused the U.S. manufacturing and service jobs to shift offshore, will never allow those jobs to come home,” says author Susmit Kumar.

Economist Ravi Batra has noted: “A Weapon of Mass Exploitation (WME) that our government has systematically used to reduce our living standard is outsourcing; we can impose a stiff tax on this practice and raise even more revenue. This would also enable us to trim the tax burden of low-income groups.” (Truth Out, May 2011)

At this time President Obama must find himself to be at war with American private finance as far as creating jobs at home is concerned. As US politicians are wholly paid for by private capital, vote buying, etc. this is an impossible conflict of interests where only short term profit motivation can win. Long term socio-economic planning is nowhere in sight in America.

The only solution for the ills of global capitalism is a system shift towards economic democracy and people’s economy.