The Growth Trap, Ecological Devastation, and the Promise of Guaranteed Employment
The legitimacy of governments in all wealthy countries critically depends upon generating employment. The most widely embraced strategy for doing so is to induce more robust economic growth. Pressure to stimulate growth at practically any cost has been greatly augmented by the current crisis. Tragically, this relentless pursuit of growth is occurring when significant coordinated international responses to the threat of ecological catastrophe are urgently needed. Humanity is institutionally and ideologically trapped in the view that not only is growth necessary for creating employment, it is the panacea for most of our problems. There is a way out of this trap: Guaranteeing employment and where necessary reskilling all capable of work. The immorality of consigning a portion of the workforce to the degradation of unemployment would be eliminated. So too would welfare and its debasement of those able to work. Guaranteed employment would also reduce inequality, the second major force behind the compulsion of growth at any cost. Freed from the social compulsion to pursue growth, humanity could more readily coordinate to address ecological devastation, perhaps the greatest challenge humanity has ever collectively faced.
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