Friday, June 27, 2014

Brink Lindsey — Why Living on the Dole Is Bad for You

Implicit argument for a job guarantee?

Bleeding Heart Libertarian
Why Living on the Dole Is Bad for You
Brink Lindsey
(h/t Brad DeLong)

1 comment:

Dan Lynch said...

Re: "Because I worry that a UBI would further encourage mass idleness, a serious and worsening social blight among the less educated and less skilled."

In fact, it is the rich who are more likely to be idle. And previous studies have shown only a small decline in workforce participation when a modest BIG was offers.

Re: "Let’s start with the well-established finding that unemployment has major negative effects on well-being."

The Canadian MinCome experiment showed positive health outcomes. A BIG recipient may or may not consider themselves unemployed.

Nor is there a negative effect for retired people on SS, which is a type of dole, or for stay-at-home housewives who mooch off their husbands, another type of dole. Because 1) both those activities are socially acceptable and 2) they are economically secure.

Hence I would argue that the unhealthy aspect of unemployment is due to a combination of social pressure to conform to puritan-capitalist values, and economic stress (since most unemployed do not receive unemployment insurance).

Re: "Employment’s psychic benefits come from engaging us in challenges to overcome, encouraging us to develop and realize our inborn talents, and involving us in projects and purposes larger than ourselves. But we can obtain these benefits just as well through hobbies, volunteer work, and family life."

I agree -- but the dead end jobs proposed by MMT do not fit the description of "challenges to overcome, developing our inborn talents, and involving us in meaningful projects."

Re: "Yes, there are plenty of happy students and stay-at-home parents, and retirement apparently improves well-being."

Right -- not having a job is perfectly healthy providing it is socially acceptable and economically secure.

Re: "For most people, joblessness means not only a lack of income, but also lack of status, lack of identity, and lack of direction."

Because we have been brainwashed to conform to puritan-capitalist social values, and for many people there is no other social institution to replace the puritan-capitalist indoctrination.

The general premise of the essay is a false dichotomy, that we must choose between a safety net and a job. Why can't we have both ? Why can't we offer New Deal style jobs for those who prefer to work, and at the same time offer a safety net for those who prefer to manage their own lives?

In general, as the title suggests, the author reeks of elitism -- that poor people are not capable of making their own decisions, that only the elites know what is best for poor people. Some MMT'er share the same elitist demeanor. I don't of a single MMT JG advocate who is actually a poor person.