Unemployment is a product of capi­ta­lism: people who are no longer needed are simply made redun­dant. On the tradi­tional family farm, there was no unem­ploy­ment. Austerity exposes the modern economy’s lack of inter­per­sonal connected­ness and the morale costs that this implies.

Work-sharing might keep more people margi­nally atta­ched to their jobs in an economic slump, thereby preser­ving their self-esteem. Instead of laying off 25% of its work­force in a reces­sion, a company could tempora­rily reduce workers’ hours from, say, eight per day to six. Everyone would remain employed, and all would come a little closer to Keynes’s ideal. Some coun­tries, notably Germany, have encou­raged this approach.

via Austerity and Demoralization by Robert J. Shiller – Project Syndicate.


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