Creating jobs a better idea

Creating jobs a better idea
Posted on September 22, 2020 | Larry Kazdan | Written on September 19, 2020
Letter type:


National Post

Re: Liberals are considering a universal basic income, but economists have tough questions for its proponents, Stuart Thomson, Sep 16, 2020 


Providing a universal basic income to those old, sick or severely disabled certainly makes sense. But for those able and willing to work there is a better solution  -  the guarantee of a job. For example, after Argentina's fiscal crisis in 2001, their national government created 2 million public jobs specifically for impoverished heads of households.

For many participants, work was liberating and more highly valued than welfare. Working and serving others was the best example they could give to their children, allowed them to socialize, and increased self-esteem by enabling them to contribute to their communities.

In Canada, jobs could be delivered locally through non-profits, social enterprise groups and municipalities, and might include provisions for care of the elderly, educational activity for young people, arts and cultural performances, and initiatives for environmental protection. Such programs can be up and running within 4 to 6 months and many useful tasks can be performed even by the least skilled and educated citizens.

Aside from helping the individuals involved, the many visible community benefits would underpin public support for the entire guaranteed income/jobs proposal that would generously assist those unable to work because of their age, illness or incapacity.



1. The Job Guarantee (ELR) and Basic Income Synthesis

        "A job guarantee coupled with a basic income for the young and frail old (and disabled of all ages) is a promising policy alternative.


        Using the Argentinean experience with job creation, we demonstrate how ELR (Employer of Last Resort) can advance a sense of civic duty, citizenship, social cohesion, reciprocity, and community involvement while guaranteeing full employment—all without the harmful consequence of price instability. 


        Even a colossal BIG [Basic Income Guarantee) program may not resolve issues such as inadequate housing, education, healthcare—all key components of a decent standard of living.  A BIG must be part of a more comprehensive social policy that includes other programs, but very little discussion is devoted to how we can ensure these other necessities - including jobs for those who desire them - are provided."

2. What is a Job Guarantee?

         "..the Job Guarantee is actually a macroeconomic policy framework designed to ensure full employment and price stability is maintained over the private sector business cycle.


        Job Guarantee workers would enjoy stable incomes, and their increased spending would boost confidence throughout the economy and underpin a private-spending recovery."


3. The Job Guarantee: A Government Plan for Full Employment

        "The benefits of full employment include production of goods, services and income; on-the-job training and skill development; poverty alleviation; community building and social networking; social, political and economic stability; and social multipliers (positive feedbacks and reinforcing dynamics that create a virtuous cycle of socioeconomic benefits). An “employer of last resort” program would restore the government’s lost commitment to full employment.."


4. The JG / ELR and Real World Experience

>         In the aftermath of its economic crisis that came with the collapse of its currency board, Argentina created Plan Jefes y Jefas that guaranteed a job for poor heads of households. The program successfully created 2 million new jobs that not only provided employment and income for poor families, but also provided needed services and free goods to poor neighborhoods.


5.  John Maynard Keynes

        “The Conservative belief that there is some law of nature which prevents men from being employed, that it is “rash” to employ men, and that it is financially ‘sound’ to maintain a tenth of the population in idleness for an indefinite period, is crazily improbable – the sort of thing which no man could believe who had not had his head fuddled with nonsense for years and years…".

About The Author

Larry Kazdan's picture

Larry Kazdan has undergraduate degrees in history and sociology, is a retired Chartered Professional Accountant and runs the website
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