May as well rock the boat a bit.
Dedicated to frequent commenter Laura.
In an extremely important and prescient paper, published in 1943 titled "Political aspects of full employment" Kalecki displayed skepticism about the political possibility of maintaining full employment. He argued that full employment was incompatible with the institutions of capitalism, and that, unless there were some fundamental institutional changes, then, although the system could reach full employment through the appropriate economic policies, it could not maintain adequate levels of employment for long periods.
This paper evaluates the buffer stock employment model in the light of Kalecki's observations. According to this model, the government acts as an employer of the last resort absorbing cyclical variations in unemployment. This has been suggested as a long term solution to the problem of unemployment. However, we argue that the proposed solution does not lead to the sorts of institutional changes which will allow the maintenance of full employment. It does nothing to change the underlying class relations which are at the heart of the incompatibility of full employment with capitalism. Rather, it acts as a bandage, attempting to treat the symptoms, namely unemployment. However, because the proposal in no way effects the underlying antagonisms, it is unlikely to provide an acceptable solution to the problem of unemployment by itself.Political Aspects of Buffer Stock Employment
Peter Kriesler and Joseph Halevi