McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

August 28, 2013

Why the economy won't work for all

Economist Michal Kalecki knew 70 years ago why big business and its political apologists conspire to prevent full employment. Obviously few people listened, but with the still shrill deficit alarmists and the rabid push for austerity, some are trotting Kalecki back onto the stage to show why.

I'd never heard of Kalecki until I read a column by Paul Krugman. Kalecki was a Polish, Marxist economist (and, really, who knew capitalism better than Marx?). In a short 1943 paper called "Political Aspects of Full Employment," Kalecki wrote that government intervention is needed to get all people to work. This was shortly after John Maynard Keynes wrote "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money," (1936) with many ideas shared by Kalecki.

President Roosevelt had already used the government to alleviate the appalling unemployment during the Depression, with programs such as the Works Progress Administration. But even with this so-called government interference in the market, there was never full employment. Big business likes it that way. In fact, even mainstream economists view an unemployment rate of 3 to 4 percent as "full employment."

Kalecki writes that there are three reasons why business doesn't want everyone to have a job: (1) dislike of government interference; (2) dislike of direction of government spending (public investment such as roads and subsidizing consumption, such as welfare and food stamps); and (3) dislike of the social and political changes resulting from the maintenance of full employment.

This is where it gets interesting. Commenting on the third point, Kalecki says businesses fear full employment because it will give workers confidence to form unions, fight for higher wages and create better working conditions. Those are capitalism taboos.

Of course, Kalecki maintains that full employment would mean a boost to production and hence a rise in profits. Then the economist goes on to argue that businesses will gladly give up some profits in order to maintain rigid control over workers and (my words) be able to threaten their livelihoods with firings and layoffs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.