Challenging the two-party system

I am writing Beyond the Duopoly to challenge the two-party system in the United States. This blog exists to be my journal and to communicate with my readers.

Monday, June 14, 2004

good jobs chapter: abstract, critique of Ds/Rs & main points

Right now, I'm partial to a format that includes:

+ an abstract
+ a critique of the Ds & Rs on the issue
+ a list of chapters that have strong interrelationships
+ a list of main points (at the end of the chapter)


To facilitate macroeconomic management of the economy, the government measures the total number of people employed. This measurement does not tell if the employed consider their work worthwhile or their compensation adequate. New employment indicators could paint a much more complete picture of working in the United States. By measuring the quality of work the citizenry could hold elected officials accountable for not just the number of jobs, but the quality of the jobs. This will shift the priorities of the political leaders away from economic indicators that serve transnational capital to indicators that affect the lives of regular citizens.

D/R critique:

The Democrats and Republicans have been content to measure performance of the economy incompletely. The measurements used naturally cause the policy makers to evaluate their decisions in ways that are aligned with the interests of transnational capital. Democrats and Republicans have avoided measurements that tell how regular people are doing. Economic policy has been made in a way that has been deferential to the interests of transnational capital and the consequences to regular Americans are an afterthought. Democrats and Republicans occasionally play lip service to the middle class failing to gain ground, but they never seem to have a solution that reverses the trend. Democrats and Republicans treat the middle class losing ground as inevitable.

Related chapters: [I'm not sure there are any other chapters that have significant interrelationship with the "Good jobs" chapter.]

Main points:
· the government job indicators measure unemployment, net jobs created and unemployment benefits.
· these indicators exist to serve macroeconomic management of the economy.
· these indicators tell almost nothing about the quality of jobs.
· these indicators largely ignore people that have taken themselves out of the workforce.
· the federal government could measure other things, including job quality.
· by measuring and reporting job quality government policy would emphasize the creation and retentionof quality jobs.
· the government should have a strategy for bringing people into the workforce from the pool of people that have removed themselves from the workforce.


At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exactly do you measure job "quality" in any meaningful way?

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

People posting anonymously, please include a name or knickname in your post so you won't be confused with the other anonymous posters. Thanks.

How does one measure the quality of a job? Of course it involves some qualitative research. Here's some Qs that come to mind.

* Does your job use your talents?
* Are you treated respectfully by your boss? The larger organization?
* Does your family respect your job? Does your job increase the respect you receive from your community?
* How would you evaluate your potential for upward mobility within your organization? Within your profession?
* Do you consider your work worthwhile?
* Is your compensation adequate for you to live as independently as you'd like? (Are your living expenses subsidized by family or somebody else? Do you live with someone you would leave if you made more money?)
* Does your job provide health care coverage? For your family?
* How many hours per week do you work? Do you have time to pursue your interests and passions?
* Does your work provide you a sense of security?
* Is your compensation fair?
* Does your work make you feel like you belong to a team?

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...


* Do you suspect your work harms your health?
* Is your work currently harming your health?

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

* Is your compensation adequate for you to live as independently as you'd like?
* Does your job provide health care coverage? For your family?
* Is your work currently harming your health?

Of all the things you listed I think these are the only ones that you could acquire meaningful data about. In fact, I would say that most people's disposition to their work has more to do with their disposition to life than any sort of real quality of their job. Certainly you could envision two people with the same jobs having completely different opinions about the "quality" of their work based on the relationships with their coworkers (something not really job related). Another point: people consistently overestimate their talent. Instead of asking people if they think their "talents" are being used and if the job is providing upward mobility, you should ask people if they think their coworkers talents are being used and if they are receiving timely promotions.



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