I’ve been thinking. If we intend to introduce a job guarantee, we first need to address the grave issue of boondoggling. It’s time we got serious about eliminating this terrible social ill. I haven’t bothered to check, but I would imagine that boondoggles are occurring at an incredible rate all round the world, every second of the day, and this is before we’ve even introduced the job guarantee. It’s as if the very thought of such a program has set off an epidemic of boondoggling. It’s time to compile a list of worthless activities that add zero value – sometimes negative value – to my real living standard. This list is neither definitive nor exhaustive. Market signals and the threat of starvation were too weak to induce that kind of effort. But at least it will enable us all to point the finger at those who are contributing absolutely nothing to the aggregate of my personal well being.
Recent posts have considered one or other of Kalecki, the job guarantee and the possibility of transitioning over time to socialism. There is a connection between these topics that has only been touched on in passing in earlier posts. The connection is visible in an old paper by Peter Kriesler and Joseph Halevi which draws on Kalecki’s 1943 essay, “Political Aspects of Full Employment”, to critique the job guarantee proposal. An outline of Kalecki’s argument in this well known essay is provided in an earlier post.