- Capitalism and Alternatives -
Posted by: septimus ( Aus. ) on November 07, 1999 at 22:24:08:
In Reply to: Democratic or Participatory Welfare? posted by Lark on November 05, 1999 at 16:24:24:
I don't know if this is going to be of any help, but anyway...
There is another interesting aspect of modern labour markets, that is the type of employment created. Labour market policies in Australia at least, and I'm pretty darn sure that the same would apply in the UK and the US, have created a boom in the services sector. This type of work available in this sector tends to be low wage, insecure, short term work. This creates what some have termed the working poor.
At the same time, those with high skill work are getting better pay and conditions than ever before. For the most part, high technology and other pressures have meant that these skills have become more and more difficult to obtain while production levels from those with the skills continues to reach record levels - thus improving economic conditions (quality of life is a different story)
You probably know all this but it raises some very interesting questions which might relate to what you're looking at.
*How do we share the available work around without infringing on the 'rights' of those already employed?
*Is work an absolute good? ie, is it better to work and live in poverty than to be unemployed and live a relatively (relative to those who can't afford to adequately feed, clothe and educate themselves or their children) comfortable life subsidised by those at the top end of the socio-economic tree?
*Might it not be possible to broaden our understanding of what constitutes valuable work? What if the government were to pay for some of the work such as caring for your own children which in modern society is of no value because it is not marketable?
I'm sure we could find an economist who would be very enthusiastic about building a model describing the detrimental impact children brought up in poverty have on the economy...;)