Monday, January 21, 2013

Fair distribution of work opportunities

I will now write about sustainable economic growth, i.e .growth that improves the quality of life for people.

The purpose of economic growth must be to provide sufficient opportunities for every person to have meaningful work and to contribute to the pool of products and services that are needed by other people.

Every one needs to have a meaningful life - to afford a comfortable home, food, education, health care, safety, leisure, raise a family. have friends.

We do not want excessive economic growth that requires people to work long hours at the expense of social and family life, or to over-produce products that consume resources that should be kept for future generations. We must be aware about the harm of over-production.

With science and technology, we are now able to produce the total needs with less hours of work, allowing more time for social and family life.

Instead, we are getting the opposite effect. Many people are working longer hours, not less, to produce things that are not really needed. These include bad economic activities, such as gambling, cheating and bubbles, that add to the GDP at the expense of the well-being of other people.

If the bad activities and over-production are eliminated, how do we spread the available work opportunities to the people who need to work?

We need a new system to distribute work opportunities fairly, based on supply and demand. If there is increased supply for a particular trade, every one should work less, so that the demand is fairly spread among the workers.

This requires a combination of market forces and regulation. Excessive and predatory competition and exploitation of workers should be prevented.

There is an argument that this approach will not work in a global environment. It is not possible to regulate employment practices and supply and demand throughout the world. Every country is competing against the other countries.

This argument is put forward by the multi-national companies that are now enjoying the benefit of globalization ,and are able to avoid paying any tax. This argument should be rejected. The harm from globalization, including the exploitation of workers and the erosion of wages, should be recognized and weighed against the benefits of globalization.

If we reject the notion that globalization is inherently good, and consider its negative aspects as well, we can come to a better balance. There are areas where globalization is beneficial, such as global production of certain products, and can be supported. There are areas where it is bad, such as depressing wages and create big disparity of income, and should be addressed.

One good solution is to return to some form of protectionism. Each country can decide on the type of economic activities that can be protected, and the extent of the protection, that produce a good balance for its people. The aim is to ensure that the people have jobs, are paid fairly and can earn enough to live a meaningful life and to raise a family.

For countries that subscribe to similar philosophies, it is possible to bring down the protectionist measures and to have a common market. We have seen that happen within the states of America and within the countries in Europe. They are the correct development.

SUMMARY. We need a system to ensure that the available work opportunity is distributed fairly among the workers, and that the workers are paid fairly to afford a good standard of life. This can be achieved through a balance between market forces and regulation, within a country that has some control over the negative effects of globalization.

1 comment:

cd-rom said...

Thank you for this article, Mr Tan.

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