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May 11, 2018


Rich Clayton


Luis Enrique

"it’s hard to imagine any company, for instance, being able to make a profit off of building playgrounds"

well that's one of the stupidest things I've ever read!

Francesco Chini

"Minskyan" ! ! ! Well, Hyman Minsky (who originally devised the JG idea, although not in the "NAIBER" form proposed by MMTers) once said: "Keynes and Schumpeter were conservative marxist economists".

Lidl Janus

Is it assumable that all modern (i.e. any proposal not suggesting a neoreactionary reversion to feudalism, mercentalism etc.) non-capitalist (i.e. rejection of market mechanisms as an entirety or a component of an economy) proposals are Marxist by definition? I'm not certain that it is.


Great Minsky quote, Francesco Chini.

Of course the Job Guarantee concept is much older than Minsky, or Marx who asserted it would end capitalism, would be a Transition Demand, glad to see someone else point this out. The Job Guarantee may not be associated with "Keynesianism", but it most certainly was with Keynes's own ideas. For different reasons, "Marxists" & "Keynesians" (here including Keynes) exaggerate their differences, partly so they can indulge themselves in pointless sectarian bickering.

Simon Wren-Lewis's point is confused and wrong. Job Guarantees in theory and universal practical experience diminish, not increase inflation. That is a major point of Minsky & MMT.


"what is the economic value?" This is the same question we should posit for the 'economics of public policy'. I think the key issue is to try and theorise or understand an economy that is not based on market precepts. Do we have a cogent theory to explain an non-market environment within capitalism?

Ralph Musgrave

Francesco Chini’s claim that Minsky first thought of JG is wide of the mark: there was a very large scale JG scheme in the US in the 1930s when Minsky was still a teenager: the WPA. Plus Pericles implemented JG scheme in Ancient Greece 2,600 years ago.

Re Chris’s doubts about whether local governments have the ability to identify suitable JG work and manage JG schemes, those doubts are underline by some research Bill Mitchell (one of the main advocates of JG) did: has asked a selection of local authorities if they could think of suitable JG type jobs, and the clear answer (much to Bill’s annoyance) was “no”.


«In this sense, a JG could do in the 21st century what strong unions and full employment did in the 1950s and 60s.»

There is an un-marxist point: "JG" and "full employment" are policies, "strong unions" may be a policy (as it was in New Deal USA), but it is primarily a political situation.
Policies like "JG" and "full employment" don't happen just because they are nice (a a lot of rentier voters think they are not-nice because they make their maids, cleaners, gardeners, carers, ... less cheap and less docile), but because worker-friendly political forces push them through.

The main task is to persuade those people whose interests are primarily as workers and only secondarily as rentiers to vote accordingly for worker-friendly political forces, and how to reassure most rentiers that worker-friendly political forces won't squeeze them as hard as they are squeezing workers now.


The UK actually tested something very similar to a JG on a small scale immediately post-crisis - the Future Jobs Fund - and IIRC the impact evaluations were excellent. Inevitably the Coalition canned it as soon as they got in.

The FJF experience is worth remembering because of the way it addressed "how would you find things for them to do". Rather than trying to define projects for FJF candidates to work on, it invited nonprofit organisations to put projects forwards and bid for support from the FJF - i.e. allocation among projects was driven by demand. I don't remember there being any difficulty finding things to do.

The blogger who knows about this is Jonathan Portes, IIRC.

William Mitchell

The statement made by Ralph Musgrave - "some research Bill Mitchell (one of the main advocates of JG) did: has asked a selection of local authorities if they could think of suitable JG type jobs, and the clear answer (much to Bill’s annoyance) was “no”."

is completely false. He has just made that up.

My research team did do a comprehensive survey of local authorities and asked them how many and what sort of jobs could be managed by them (including extra capital requirements) to meet unmet community and environmental need.

Contrary to what Musgrave claims the research revealed there were hundreds of thousands of jobs of this sort that would be suitable for a JG scheme.

A full report is available here - http://e1.newcastle.edu.au/coffee/pubs/reports/2008/CofFEE_JA/CofFEE_JA_final_report_November_2008.pdf

Why lie Ralph?

best wishes

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