What about this solution to youth unemployment?

What about this solution to youth unemployment?
Posted on January 6, 2021 | Larry Kazdan | Written on December 22, 2020
Letter type:


Toronto Star

    Re: The job market has a treacherous recovery ahead. ‘My biggest worry is for young people,’ says Canada’s employment minister, Heather Scoffield, Dec. 17, 2020


    The energy and talent of our young people can be mobilized quickly not by abandoning their future to the vagaries of the market but by direct job creation that also benefits local communities.

    Lower levels of government, non-profits, and social enterprise groups could administer jobs such as assistance to health care providers and seniors, educational and recreational activities for youth, public arts and culture, and environmental remediation and conservation.

    These federally-funded programs can be up and running within months, useful tasks can be performed by citizens at every skill level, and the additional wage base of more working people would help underpin a private sector recovery, spreading benefits to all.  




    1. The Social Enterprise Sector Model for a Job Guarantee


        "Imagine 25 million people with no income or precarious forms of income. Now imagine 25 million with a decent base wage. The effect on the private for-profit sector would surely be more stable demand, ringing cash registers, increasing profits, growth and, yes, a lot more better-paying private sector jobs.


        The experience of the New Deal and Argentina’s Plan Jefes shows that such programs can be up and running in 4 to 6 months and useful tasks can be performed even by the least skilled and least educated citizens."

    2. Some lessons from history for the design of a coronavirus fiscal intervention


        "There is no shortage of productive jobs that can be done which would be ‘safe’ in this social distancing era but would provide valuable outputs to society.

        The Victorian Government announced, for example, in their – Economic Survival Package To Support Businesses And Jobs (March 21, 2020) – that:

            The Government will establish a $500 million Working for Victoria Fund in consultation with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council. The fund will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food – providing vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic and affording those Victorians security when its needed most.


        There is so much depleted land, infrastructure and personal care services that are required arising not only from .. natural disasters but also from years of austerity and outsources of public services.


        There will probably be a shortage of medical support staff. Thousands of jobs could be created to ease the load in the short-term on the depleted health care ranks.


        And if we are to protect our aged members of the population, then we could ensure they are secure in their homes with adequate food and other supplies, are able to maintain their gardens (if they have them), and attend to other needs.


        And what about the claims that these shifts cannot be facilitated quickly enough to avoid mass unemployment?


        The women who entered the factories in 1939 had no prior background. But productivity rose quickly.


        There is no financial constraint preventing the Government from taking on this role."

    3. Why not a Green Jobs Corps?


        "For example, a Green Jobs Corps could sustain the ecology in a variety of ways: community and industrial recycling, improved

        insulation  for  residential  and  commercial  structures,  carpooling, rooftop gardening and urban landscaping, solar energy applied to the public infrastructure (e.g., streetlights, schools, construction warning signs, billboards), monitoring and enforcement, environmental education, and research support.

        Most  activities  do  not  require  highly  specialized  skills,  and  the “learning by doing” effects could be considerable, as skills acquired by participants could be applied in the private sector, and this succession would further promote sustainability. In addition, increased awareness of environmental and ecological issues on the part of both participants and the public could change consumption patterns, which is vital for long-term sustainability."

    4. John Maynard Keynes:


        “The Conservative belief that there is some law of nature which prevents men from being employed, that it is “rash” to employ men, and that it is financially ‘sound’ to maintain a tenth of the population in idleness for an indefinite period, is crazily improbable – the sort of thing which no man could believe who had not had his head fuddled with nonsense for years and years…

        Our main task, therefore, will be to confirm the reader’s instinct that what seems sensible is sensible, and what seems nonsense is nonsense. We shall try to show him that the conclusion, that if new forms of employment are offered more men will be employed, is as obvious as it sounds and contains no hidden snags; that to set unemployed men to work on useful tasks does what it appears to do, namely, increases the national wealth; and that the notion, that we shall, for intricate reasons, ruin ourselves financially if we use this means to increase our well-being, is what it looks like – a bogy.”                                                                                                               




    Modern Monetary Theory in Canada


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Larry Kazdan has undergraduate degrees in history and sociology, is a retired Chartered Professional Accountant and runs the website
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