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A national disgrace – the abandonment of full employment

Yesterday, I indicated that I would comment on an article that was published in the Melbourne Age (December 3, 2012) – Dimming of the light on the hill – which documented the Federal government’s abandonment of any commitment to achieving full employment. The by-line of the article read that “(o)nce it was a political mantra for the Labor Party, but the goal of full employment has dwindled to a distant memory”. This article is one of the first I have seen in years that tackles this question. It is a topic that most regular readers will realise is one that I have spent most of my career promoting for discussion. My Phd is about it. Many of my published articles and books is about it in one way or another. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is about it. But the mainstream media avoids discussing it and, instead, accepts the line peddled by the government and its crony economists that a lie is the truth. That 12.5 per cent labour underutilisation rates are in some way consistent with full employment. Our grasp of history is poor in this nation and this article serves to remind us of what was once a truth. It also reminds us that the abandonment of full employment as a policy objective by our Federal government ranks up there with the other (many) national disgraces, including, for example, our treatment of indigenous Australians and our treatment of refugees. Why do we gain succour from (unnecessarily) treating the most disadvantaged among us so poorly?

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