Full employment used to be an explicit goal of economic policy in most of the industrialized world. Some countries even achieved it. In Back to Full Employment, economist Robert Pollin argues that the United States--today faced with its highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression--should put full employment back on the agenda.
There are good reasons to seek full employment, Pollin writes. Full employment will help individuals, families, and the economy as a whole, while promoting equality and social stability. Equally important, creating a full-employment economy can be joined effectively with two other fundamental policy aims: ending our dependence on fossil fuels and creating an economy powered by clean energy.
In the end, achieving full employment will be a matter of political will: Can the United States make having a decent job a fundamental right?
Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics and Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.