Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Galbraith's "Last Taboo": 84 - 0

by the Sandwichman

At the New America Foundation, James Galbraith, Randall Wray and Timothy Bartik offer their policy proposals for dealing with the jobs crisis. These three gentlemen apparently believe that the jobs crisis is merely a symptom of some mysterious financial or structural crisis that itself needs to be addressed by "better government regulation" or something like that there.

How to treat the symptom? Spend money! Bartik advocates a New Jobs Tax Credit and wage subsidies targeting 'disadvantaged' workers. Wray promotes his version of Hyman Minsky's Job Guarantee idea. Galbraith offers a laundry list of good things the government can spend money on: public sector jobs, higher education, early retirement, weatherizing houses, elder care, rehabilitating foreclosed houses, funding non-profits and last but not least a federal jobs pool such as Wray also advocates.

Galbraith calls the Job Guarantee idea "the last taboo". He is wrong. The last taboo is something none of the three mention: work time reduction. In French it is "la solution interdite." Ironically, Jamie's "last taboo" comment brings to mind his father's more salient insight about "the forbidden question" of resource conservation from some fifty years ago.

Government spending on all those nice things is all very well and good... as long as you don't have to worry about an exit strategy. The spending cure also ignores the real nature of the jobs crisis. Unemployment is not a symptom of the financial crisis. The financial crisis is a symptom of the employment crisis. To put it as simply as possible, industrial economies have failed to collectively adjust the hours of work to reflect the new realities of much higher levels of productivity.

Standard full-time hours of work have remained static over the last 30 years even as productivity has almost doubled in the last 30 years -- an increase of 84 percent -- while average weekly hours have fallen only 7 percent, notwithstanding sectoral and demographic changes in the workforce that have increased the incidence of part-time employment from 16.3 percent of the workforce in 1979 to 19.7 percent in 2009.

Most hours of work adjustment has taken place has been at an individual level rather than a collective one. That is to say more unemployment and underemployment. And this increasing precariousness of work has acted as a drag on wages. Adjusted for inflation, hourly wages have remained virtually flat. In today's dollars, the average hourly wage in September 1979 was three cents higher than the average wage today.

Let me repeat that: an 84 percent increase in hourly labor productivity and a 0 percent increase in hourly wages. WHAT PART OF 84 - 0 DO BARTIK, WRAY AND GALBRAITH NOT UNDERSTAND?

So, how did all the extra stuff get bought? Credit. Personal debt mushroomed over the last 30 years. Bartik, Wray and Galbraith's solution to the collapse of a debt-bubble is... wait for it... DEBT! Undoubtedly, some government deficit spending may be necessary to lubricate the transition. But deficits sufficient to prop up employment cannot go on forever. With Bartik's, Wray's and Galbraith's non-solutions, huge deficits would have to continue indefinitely.

Growth is not the answer. Thirty years of debt-fueled economic growth has eroded the job-creating capacity of growth. In hindsight, we would be a lot better off if workers had taken half of the productivity gains of the last 30 years in shorter working time. With a four-day workweek and a six-hour day, workers could have had roughly the same incomes they had in 1979. That's not a feasible policy solution right now. It takes time to make the adjustment. Any and all of the policy prescriptions offered by Bartik, Wray and Galbraith may be useful during the transition. But put forward as stand-alone cures, they are worthless. A spending policy without an exit strategy is like applying a band-aid where a tourniquet -- and then restorative surgery -- is needed.

34 comments:

Min said...

A couple of questions: First, is it an either/or? For instance, why not a right to a job and a shorter work week? Second, is the overall increase in wealth combined with stagnation of wages (or even a reduction of wages in real terms) an anomaly? The U. S. did not experience it for some time after WWII, but isn't keeping wages at the bottom close to subsistence the general situation in civilization? If so, mightn't a minimum wage indexed to mean GDP per person be part of the remedy?

Thanks. :)

Sandwichman said...

Min, In response to your first question, I address that in my penultimate paragraph. Various and sundry remedial programs offered by Bartik, Galbraith and Wray are probably needed during a transition. They could also continue to be useful as supplements to a core policy. Second question, as far as I know the extent and duration of the wage stagnation and hours plateau -- 30 years -- is unprecedented in the industrial age. Unprecedented.

There would be no need to index a minimum wage to GDP so long as hours of work progressively decline because that would remove the "lash of unemployment."

Anonymous said...

"Unemployment is not a symptom of the financial crisis. The financial crisis is a symptom of the employment crisis. To put it as simply as possible, industrial economies have failed to collectively adjust the hours of work to reflect the new realities of much higher levels of productivity."

Amen...

Anonymous said...

Why not reduce military spending and raise taxes(VAT,income tax,estate tax,Tobin tax)to pay for what Galbraith and the others have suggested?

Sandwichman said...

I'm going to delete comments when they descend into name calling. Not only is it "not polite" to throw around politically-charged and misleading epithets. It's a distraction and a real conversation stopper.

Anonymous said...

"Not only is it "not polite" to throw around politically-charged and misleading epithets."

That's your problem: you are too polite! LOL

How can you explain the propensity to rely on government debt and spending, and the general policy of permanent economic expansion without reference to the ideological roots of the viewpoint?

These people have never seen a problem government spending couldn't fix, nor a program that could not be expanded.

Would dirigiste be obscure enough?

Min said...

Many thanks, Sandwichman! :)

And yes, I had a lot of pre-industrial history in mind.

Anonymous said...

SMan,

You can either use my word for it, or this one:

"Then we have the internationalist tendency represented by the large banks, the Federal Reserve Board, Treasury and White House, who like the leaders of the EU advocate a socialist and proudly statist perspective where banks are "too big to fail" and under the table subsidies to well-connected institutions are encouraged. Whereas in the 1800s the New York banks advocated hard money and sound banks, and the inflationists where among the agrarian populist ranks, today it is Washington, Paris and Berlin, among the largest dealer banks and their political allies, that are found advocates of inflation and public sector debt."

Here: http://us1.institutionalriskanalytics.com/pub/IRAstory.asp?tag=389

Socialist? Internationalist? I prefer my term.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

S-man,

We have debated this before, and it was unresolved, but the hard bottom line is that you have not made the case previously and you do not make it here that a too long work week is what underlies the problem of financial crisis. However, it is pretty clear that the financial crisis certainly is responsible for our current bout of much higher unemployment.

Key to our previous round on this was your claim that a shorter work week would entail greater income inequality and less money going to the rich for speculation. While there are weak cross-sectional correlations between per capita income, income equality, and shorter working hours per worker, these relations are weak, and not sufficient to justify a claim that moving to, say, a 30 hour work week would stabilize financial markets. The propensity to bubble is very strong, as has been established very clearly in economic experiments.

Sandwichman said...

Barkley,

One thing I do know for sure is that the sentence "there is evidence" is not itself evidence. You say, "there are weak cross-sectional correlations." Show me the correlations. Explain why they are weak. Hopefully, that weakness is not just an artifact of some static, simplified assumptions that went in at the front end of the GIGO processor. Intuitively, it does seem unlikely and odd that cross-sectional correlations could prove anything about an essentially evolutionary historical (that is to say, not a mechanical) process. If they do show that there is not a mechanical relationship, then they've shown nothing because the argument was never that there is a mechanical relationship.

You say, "Key to our previous round on this was your claim that a shorter work week would entail greater income inequality." Well, if you re-read that sentence you'll see that you've said the opposite of what you intended to say. My claim is, of course, that shorter hours reduce income inequality. So if you say "greater" when you mean less, how do I know you don't think "weak" when you see strong???

But at any rate, Barkley, the nature of a debate is not that I will persuade you of something or you will persuade me. So statements from either you or I about whether or not one or the other of us has "made his case" are strictly rhetorical.

This week and next I am putting the finishing touches on the first draft of my "political economy of working less". If you care to have a look at that you would see that my disdain for the finality of "weak cross-sectional correlations" is much more than a debating ploy but proceeds from a fundamental methodological and historical critique.

There is a long history and tradition in political economy of resisting, ignoring and suppressing strong evidence for work-time reduction and promoting and repeating ad nauseum claims for which there is weak or no evidence whatsoever. So one must pay at least as much attention in the discourse to the weak/strong, greater/lesser Freudian slips as one does to the reported cross-sectional correlations. Statements of the logical type, "A is not equal to B; therefore A is equal to B" occur with amazing regularity at strategic moments in the polemic against work time reduction. Not once. Not twice. Endemically.

TheTrucker said...

Anonymous said:
"Why not reduce military spending and raise taxes(VAT,income tax,estate tax,Tobin tax)to pay for what Galbraith and the others have suggested?"

Blogger rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

"weak cross-sectional correlations"

"it is pretty clear that the financial crisis certainly is responsible for our current bout of much higher unemployment."

"The propensity to bubble is very strong, as has been established very clearly in economic experiments."

My reaction to all this is one of "good grief".

The progressive income tax has proved to be extremely effective as a direct and enabling tool for steering the economy in a manner conducive to middle class prosperity. It can also be ab-used to steer the economy into the ditch for ideological political advantage or to grant power to the privileged. All in all this should tell us that progressive taxation is a powerful tool.

Whether such a tax mechanism remains as effective in a more global economy may be questionable but the history and the data tell us that it certainly has been.

As to the cause of the current crises I have little doubt. (That may mean that I haver a religious attachment to my own version of the truth). When it is possible for the very rich to remain rich and get richer by placing money into government protected interest bearing havens as opposed to paying their taxes then you are going to get exactly what we have in the way of wage stagnation. And as to bubbles, they are caused by ridiculously low levels of taxation on gains from asset price appreciation.

How this ties to the hours of work is somewhat inverted I think, because I also believe that productivity gains are _NOT_ being properly distributed in the society and that the work week should have been getting shorter and the participation rate lower as moms (or dads) took care of the home and the kids while the other partner did/does the bacon thing. It might be that the participation rate could/would/should rise as the partners take turns within the week working outside the home.

Higher rates of taxation on extreme incomes (incomes over a million dollars a year with rates increasing to where we are talking about 80% on income over 80 million or so) with preferential treatment to _true_ "capital gains" (not FIRE) will have encouraged more actual investment and productivity. So tax proceeds increase and employment opportunities also. That isn't a guess or a theory. The history and the data say it is a fact.

Social insurance systems are best managed by government and not by the private sector and GM is a shining illustration of why that is so. Such anecdotal "evidence" proves nothing. But it does illustrate.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

S-man,

Miswrote on shorter work week and inequality. Meant opposite.

Provided some studies earlier, but out of town and not going to go dredging all that up again here and now. So, let me ask this. France is the most recent case of a country that shortened the work week. Did equality increase and did the unemployment rate go down? Near as I can tell the answer to both is basically "no."

Tim said...

Several points:

1. We need to distinguish between dealing with the current unemployment crisis and dealing with our long-term labor market problems. Some policy solutions may do both, but many may be more appropriate only as short-term solutions, or only as long-term solutions.
2. The current unemployment crisis is severe enough that we need to explore a variety of solutions. Work-sharing should be considered. Public service jobs should be considered. Some sort of employer tax credit for new job creation should be considered. Counter-cyclical revenue sharing should be considered. The issue for all of these is : what job creation impact are they likely to have, and at what cost.
3. Dean Baker recently has an interesting policy brief at CEPR that presents some numbers on work-sharing as a solution to the short-term unemployment crisis. My colleague Sue Houseman at the Upjohn Institute has an article with Katherine Abraham in our July newsletter that looks at short-time compensation via the UI system as a way of encouraging work sharing.
4. As for work-sharing and our long-term economic problems, I am less convinced than the Sandwichman seems to be that work-sharing is "the answer" to our long-term economic problems. I think this claim requires a high standard of proof, as most deeply rooted economic and social problems do not permit one "answer". I do think there is merit in trying to move towards shorter annual work hours as in much of Western Europe, not so much because it solves our long-term economic problems, but because it would increase the quality of life.

Tim Bartik
Senior Economist, Upjohn Institute

Sandwichman said...

Barkley,

I've answered the question on France several times in the past but since you're out of town and have already made up you mind on what you think the answer is, I "am not going to go dredging all that up again here and now". Google Anders Hayden. Or search "lunatic scheme" on EconoSpeak.

Tim,

First, thanks very much for responding here. Yes, I agree strongly that there is a difference between the short-term emergency needs of the labor force and long-term adjustment. That's an important point and is why I said at the end of my post that "any and all" of the policies suggested by you, Jamie and Randall needed to be considered during the transition to a long-term adjustment.

Second, I am very pleased to hear about Houseman and Abraham's article and look forward to reading it. I've been promoting Dean's proposal since he first mooted it last January. So far, I've been disappointed to see very little response to it from other economists but am encouraged that you find it interesting.

Finally, let me be clear about "panaceas". I don't view work time reduction as "the answer" except to the extent that it has, in recent decades, been systematically excluded from policy discourse and thus its absence has become a bottleneck obstructing other necessary reforms.

Thanks again for responding and I hope we can continue the dialogue.

TheTrucker said...

Blogger Tim said...

"I do think there is merit in trying to move towards shorter annual work hours as in much of Western Europe, not so much because it solves our long-term economic problems, but because it would increase the quality of life."

If economics is not about improving the quality of life then what good is it?

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

S-man,

I did not revisit the income distribution issue, which we duked it out over previously, but I did just do a quick google scan on France and the impact of the shorter work week, while it lasted. The consensus of all the reports I looked at was that it had no impact at all on any increased hiring, none, rien.

I am not necessarily against some reduction of the length of the work week, but like Tim Bartik it looks more defensible to me on grounds of quality of life, not on resolving unemployment, much less such larger scale issues as business cycles or financial market instability or distribution of income and wealth, none of which it seems to tied to in any serious way. The quality of life issue is important as there seems to have been some trend in the US to working hours lengthening with inceased stress resulting.

In any case, reducing working hours might help some with some problems, but it is nowhere near being "The Solution" that you tout it to be.

LaJeunesse said...

Dear Sandwichman:
Kudos on keeping us focused on the heart of matter! You seem to grasp the "Macroeconomic" issue better than many Post-Keynesians. They would do well to revisit the work of the Institutionalists (like Ayres) or the Marxians (like Gillman) on policies to absorb the "uninvestible surplus". This is where the "macroeconomics" of work time become important and your analysis of wages vis-à-vis productivity supports the fact that the surplus has grown so large that it is increasingly difficult to absorb it –hence the jobless recovery. Of course on some scale we could use tax and transfer policies to redistribute incomes, but that would result in massive growth in the size of the market economy, perpetuating the work and spend treadmill while doing little to address the labor market segmentation that is the source of the problem.

I do agree with the Post-keynesians/Chartalists that the government is not fiscally constrained, but that doesn't mean we should use public debt chasing rainbows. Japan offers a good case in point. They have erected all kinds of infrastructure of questionable social and ecological merit in an effort to kick-start the economy for more than a decade. Moreover, despite a six-fold increase in GDP since WWII, life satisfaction (happiness) is the unchanged. Which begs the “Trucker's” pregnant question, "What is an economy good for?"

As for the shibboleth of "look at France," when I do so I find that unemployment in the US NOW EXCEEDS THAT OF FRANCE! When job preservation is included in the metrics, the merit of work-sharing is patent. The emerging evidence from Short Time Compensation experiments in 17 US states also supports this and I hope the Upjohn research will document it. Of greater relevance to the debate - given that France’s 35-hour program never reduced average hours very much - is short hours Netherlands where unemployment is one-third of the US and quite stable. We should all be looking to the Dutch economy for macroeconomic solutions and the distinguishing feature is the shortest average workweek in the developed world.

Sandwichman said...

email from Jamie Galbraith, posted with permission:

Dear Mr. Walker,

My response is similar in spirit to Tim Bartik's. However, I'm quite happy to have your endorsement of the measures I suggest on a "during transition" -- or any other -- basis. Better a half-hearted endorsement than none at all.

Your claim about wages and productivity is clearly overstated. This is because, as you recognize, your measure of the wage share excludes the rising value and share (in total wages) of medical and other benefits. These represent transfers (in part) from the healthy to the sick, though also (in part) from medical consumers to medical producers. But since any one of us can get sick, and since medical care has clearly improved, it is clearly incorrect to argue that *none* of the rising share of health care should be counted toward the average wage.

I could further make further comments on your 84-0 claim if I knew what you comparing with what. Average hourly productivity to average hourly wages? Or average productivity and *median* wages? You don't say. If the latter, the changing structure of jobs, and of the labor force, are both relevant. *Median* wages can remain stagnant as the labor force grows younger and tilts toward service jobs held by women, minorities and new immigrants. All of which has, of course, happened. Claims made without regard to these composition effects are also overstated and unreliable.

James K. Galbraith

Sandwichman said...

Dear Professor Galbraith,

Thanks very much for your reply. Indeed, as you say, "better a half-hearted endorsement than none at all," which is why I took exception to the absence of any discussion whatsoever of short-time compensation or work time reduction in the policy round table piece for NAF. See, however, Tim's comment on my blog article in which he refers to Dean Baker's proposal as "interesting" and mentions the article in the July Upjohn newsletter by Abraham and Houseman titled, "Short-Time Compensation Is a Missing Safety Net for U.S. Economy in Recessions".

Admittedly my blog reference to the average wage and hourly productivity is "simplistic." My numbers by the way, come from the St. Louis Fed (I can look up the time series and you can double check them, if you want) and the wage figure is mean wage. As I mentioned in my earlier reply to you, the question of actual benefit to the employee from employer-paid benefits is clouded by the health consequences of overwork. Health Canada has done research on the costs to the health care system of stress from overwork. Assessing the net benefit of "benefits" would no doubt be a wonderful topic for a PhD. dissertation.

Another issue I didn't address is the extent of health care coverage 30 years ago and today. Has the average cost gone up even as the percentage of people covered has gone down? If so, if we're talking about increasing inequality in benefit coverage, is the escalation in average costs as good a thing as you imply? We also have the matter of people paying into pension funds and then... whooops... bankruptcy! no pension. So there could even be a portion of that average wage that the employee never receives. It's complicated.

For the purpose of a blog post, the fact that average wages haven't gone up in 30 years is itself significant. So, even if my claim is "overstated" (and I'm not sure we could prove that one way or the other) it is nevertheless correct and I'll just have to trust my readers to make their own judgments about the importance of the compensation v. wage question. Of course, from the standpoint of employers, total compensation costs are what matters. But I wasn't looking at it from the employers' perspective.

In terms of composition and demographics, off the top of my head the employment ratio in the US of over-55 (and thus presumably more experienced and better paid) people has gone up significantly in the last 30 years. Meanwhile, the US now has an unprecedentedly low employment ratio for 16-24 year olds. On the negative side, the workforce participation of women is much higher and women have traditionally earned lower wages than men. But the gender gap is the explanation for the absence of wage growth then persistence of that gap is not exactly grounds for celebration. And so it goes.

And productivity? Where to begin, huh? In my heart of hearts, I just can't put a lot of faith in a number that includes as "output" all kinds of questionable financial "services" and military-industrial "goods". But maybe if we weren't producing so much toxic crap, the same industrial capacity could be turned to producing worthwhile stuff. I think some guy wrote a book about that fifty years ago or so.

For the sake of comparison regarding the degree of "overstatement and reliability" of my average wage and productivity comparisons, who would you say is closer to what matters here, me or Brian Griffiths, who is quoted in a Bloomberg article yesterday, "We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all."? Notwithstanding the above points in rebuttal, I would welcome your posting your criticisms of my methodology as a comment to the Econoblog article.

Best regards,

Tom Walker

Sandwichman said...

commenter LaJeunesse above is Robert LaJeunesse, author of Work Time Regulation as Sustainable Full Employment Strategy, published by Routledge in March of this year. His book contains a comparative assessment of job guarantees, such as advocated by Wray and Galbraith, and work time regulation (pp. 125-156) as well as a chapter on the employment effects of work time reduction (pp. 192-232).

Barkley, may I suggest that the research done by Robert and by Anders Hayden trumps "a quick google scan on France" but I guess that's just my prejudice for 'qualitative' v. 'quantitative' research.

Sandwichman said...

I wrote, "as a comment to the Econoblog article."

Whoops... that should have been EconoSpeak, of course.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

S-man,

Have not read these last folks you mention. Netherlands has many differences with US in policy. My understanding of France is that the shorter work week was seriously undone in 2005, so it is the period before then that matters, and there appears to have been little reduction of unemployment then.

Many observers would say that the recent better performance of France vis a vis the US looks like Canada's: both more seriously regulated their banks and thus did not get into as much trouble with the financial crisis, the issue Galbraith has top and center, although you have suggested it is subsidiary to your focus.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

S-man,

Have not read these last folks you mention. Netherlands has many differences with US in policy. My understanding of France is that the shorter work week was seriously undone in 2005, so it is the period before then that matters, and there appears to have been little reduction of unemployment then.

Many observers would say that the recent better performance of France vis a vis the US looks like Canada's: both more seriously regulated their banks and thus did not get into as much trouble with the financial crisis, the issue Galbraith has top and center, although you have suggested it is subsidiary to your focus.

Sandwichman said...

Barkley,

The macroeconomic estimates cited by Anders Hayden fall between 300,000 and 500,000 jobs attributed to the work time reduction. I believe I've mentioned this before.

The problem for these kinds of estimates, as you should realize, is how to isolate the effects of the policy from other factors that might be affecting employment.

According to Hayden,

"France’s unemployment rate fell from 12.2 percent in 1997, when the 35-hour week was announced, to an eighteen-year low of 8.6 percent in the spring of 2001, before rising back up above 9 percent by the time the laws were first amended."

These were "the biggest job gains of any four-year period in twentieth century France."

But... how much can be attributed to the 35-hour workweek? How much to generic "growth"? Well, between 1986 and 1990, the last period of sustained growth, GDP grew an average of 3.6% annually and employment growth averaged 1.5%. From mid-1997 to mid-2001, the economy grew at a 3.3% rate but jobs grew at 2.7% annually. That's about twice as much job-growth bang for the buck.

Now, there were all sorts of problems with the Aubry Laws and the work-time reduction was watered down in response to business resistance, so the estimated job gains didn't meet the government's original goal of 750,000 jobs.

As is the habit of the American and British press, they repeated incessantly the claim (usually not even bothering to cite any studies because, "it's a known fact") that no jobs were created or that the 35-hour work week was a miserable failure. Which makes one wonder why the French took to the streets to protest efforts at dismantling the legislation. One of the favorite put downs was to compare the pitiful French record with the marvelous American job-creating engine. What is there to show today for the American bubble-jobs?

Anyway, I sent you a copy of the Hayden article by email and, as the saying goes, "if you want any more you can bake it yourself."

Anyone else wants the article, you'll have to download it yourself:

http://hussonet.free.fr/ahayden.pdf

Anonymous said...

SMan,

Galbraith is pissing in your milk and calling it breakfast. His response is no response at all.

As to Mr. Bartik's response:

Who the hell is talking about work sharing? What about we are tired of being slaves, and tired of you thinking up new ways for us to spend our time slaving away.

Do you not understand that forums on unemployment are a perversity? Who in their right mind tries to create work when there is no economic demand for more work. Do you have a fetish for renting yourself out to Citi Bank?

Get a clue, dude. It is not our life goal to shift from one meaningless task to another to the benefit of Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

Bartik: "Public service jobs should be considered."

SMan,

Can you honestly say that this statement isn't fascist? That rather than reducing hours of work, we should be impressed our youth into some national work gang? Dress it up all pretty and call it national service.

The Messiah's volunteers???

(Idle hands are the Devil's workshop, don't you know)

My God these people need to be slapped!!!!!

You delete this if you want, but you know I am right.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

S-man,

I looked at the paper you sent. Policy being "annnounced" and put in place are quite different. According to the chart, most of that UR decline preceded actual implementation, and when it came in, the UR was lower than for most of the period the law was in place. I think you are seriously misrepresenting things here, which also makes your personal attacks on Jamie Galbraith although the more indefensible. Clean up your act, please,

Sandwichman said...

Well, that's the last time I bother to send Barkley a paper so he can cherry pick some random qualification out of it and use it to make bogus charges about misrepresentation.

I have repeatedly pointed out the difficulty of making unambiguous claims about the results of the 35-hour work week while Barkley has repeatedly made "absolute" claims about failure based on vague impressions gained from quick google searches.

I have made no "personal attacks on Jamie Galbraith." I've criticized his narrow policy focus.

It would be interesting clinically to know why Barkley feels so threatened by an idea that he often has said holds no particular interest for him. Let's assume (aside from the fact that I've researched this topic extensively) that I'm mistaken. Would that be grounds for Barkley to question my good faith for holding the views I do? I don't think so. But Professor Rosser charges that I am "seriously misrepresenting things", that I am making "personal attacks on Jamie Galbraith" and that my postings on EconoSpeak are "indefensible".

And he has the nerve to tell me to "clean up my act"? I'm afraid someone needs to talk to a therapist.

I had it with your bullshit, Rosser. Stick a fork it.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I am having bad email connections here so difficulty getting on. Looked at paper more closely. Graph seems to show that Aubry I came in 1998 when UR at around 11.5%. This fell to 8.6% in 2001, then up to around 10.2% in 2005 when law mostly reversed, which was followed by about a 1% decline the following year.

During period of decline by 3% in France, Germany declined by 2%. So, maybe the cut in working hours reduced the UR by about 1%, maybe a bit more. Hayden does say the policy was mostly a "success," mostly on quality of life grounds. He also notes some pressure on low wage workers to work harder, so indeed, mixed results.

Otherwise, Tom, I think you are overreacting. You like to dish it out, but you do not seem willing to take it when someone says that you are dishing it out too hard.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I am having bad email connections here so difficulty getting on. Looked at paper more closely. Graph seems to show that Aubry I came in 1998 when UR at around 11.5%. This fell to 8.6% in 2001, then up to around 10.2% in 2005 when law mostly reversed, which was followed by about a 1% decline the following year.

During period of decline by 3% in France, Germany declined by 2%. So, maybe the cut in working hours reduced the UR by about 1%, maybe a bit more. Hayden does say the policy was mostly a "success," mostly on quality of life grounds. He also notes some pressure on low wage workers to work harder, so indeed, mixed results.

Otherwise, Tom, I think you are overreacting. You like to dish it out, but you do not seem willing to take it when someone says that you are dishing it out too hard.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I am having bad email connections here so difficulty getting on. Looked at paper more closely. Graph seems to show that Aubry I came in 1998 when UR at around 11.5%. This fell to 8.6% in 2001, then up to around 10.2% in 2005 when law mostly reversed, which was followed by about a 1% decline the following year.

During period of decline by 3% in France, Germany declined by 2%. So, maybe the cut in working hours reduced the UR by about 1%, maybe a bit more. Hayden does say the policy was mostly a "success," mostly on quality of life grounds. He also notes some pressure on low wage workers to work harder, so indeed, mixed results.

Otherwise, Tom, I think you are overreacting. You like to dish it out, but you do not seem willing to take it when someone says that you are dishing it out too hard.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I apologize for this last multiple posting. Due to internet problems, not intentional.

I also apologize to anyone who has found my recent tone overdone or inappropriate.

Peggy said...

I have no idea who Tom Walker is other than someone who eats or sells sandwiches whom I discovered, praise be to Tim Berner-Lee, on the w w w. I am relieved to see that some economists whose names I have read are debating with him about the logic that if we do not find a way to ensure leisure, technological increases in the productivity of commodities that must be consumed will just have to be imprisoned. I beg them to get him 30 minutes with Obama. I hope I'm still alive when his colleagues good naturedly grudgingly nominate him for a Nobel. If so, I hope he's not too pure to take the money before it will buy less labor time than the year before.

Trinket said...

Tom Walker, aka the Sandwichman, has been a long-time advocate for shorter work hours. This article was first published in EconoSpeak on 20 October 2009; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/walker201209.html