Some ideas for a job guarantee program

Here a list of things which could be part of a job guarantee program, while avoiding the creation of more “bullshit jobs”.

  • Art
  • Volunteer work
  • Home care
  • Open Source projects
  • Translating foreign documents
  • Human power plants

The national monetary authority can buy works of art for a certain price per item. As artists need supplies (e.g. paint, tools), the purchase of art will increase the demand for these supplies and hence create jobs for non-artists as well. We previously discussed the role of art in a country’s monetary/fiscal policy.

Many non-profit organizations such as sport clubs and community centers are in a dire need of volunteers, nor can afford to hire paid-staff. Local governments could pay (unemployed) residents a fixed wage for each hour performed as voluntary work, possibly with a maximum of twenty hours a week.

As pointed out by Bernard Lietaer, home care is hard to automate and hence a suitable target for a job guarantee program. Since the need for home care varies from community to community, local governments should administer this one too.

We are strongly in favour of open source software. One way governments can stimulate FOSS is to pay people to develop programs. Also people could be paid to report and fix bugs in existing code.

There is a near infinite number of texts (varying from novels to academic treatises) in foreign languages that have not been translated yet. Unemployed persons with an interest in foreign languages might find it interested to translate texts, that have little to no commercial value (read: potential to make profit).

For those people who lack creativity or intellectual skills, the human power plant offers another opportunity to earn a little cash. If properly designed human power plants can be fun to work, while its employees remain physically fit. Also human power plants can be small scaled and be located across the country.

4 thoughts on “Some ideas for a job guarantee program”

  1. I’d submit another one, somewhat connected to translating. That is actual editorial proof-reading of websites, not transient stuff like news, but more permanent websites. In the project I’m doing it’s amazing how many mistakes I find (and if not fluent in Spanish I’m finding mistakes imagine what more fluent people could find).

    And tied to this could be some sort of meta-Wiki where the editors collect and cross-reference but aren’t quite as dictatorial as the Wikipedia editors who enforce their notions of standards, which may be fine, for consistency, in a single Wiki, but less relevant across multiple Wikis. For instance the Spanish WikePedia has some superior entries to the English one, would be nice if they were cross-referenced.

    Everyone talks about the huge growth in content but much of it is trash or ephemeral stuff that is irrelevant as a “reference” source, but simultaneously, somewhat in line with the original concept of the W3C there could be reference material (and OK to be tied to commercial activity) that just gets better and better.

    Crowdsourcing has been demonstrated to be fairly effective, especially if it avoids controversial stuff like politics and religion. So an army of people could do what I do, except most have to worry about putting food on the table with income generation consuming most of their time. With surplus time, as many retired have, there is the capacity for a lot of production but no distribution. How many retired have hobbies that involve physical products and every friend they have now has way more of that product than they want. I have been cleaning out decades of my mother’s hobby, china painting, and it’s hard to find people who want the stuff, even the best pieces. My “collecting” of information is easy to discard but my point is, at least in first world, a substantial portion of the population spends 10-20 years “producing” just for fun. With your concept of guaranteed basic income now essentially the entire adult population could be in this mode. Distribution of physical goods produced for “hobby” is a challenge (and frankly a waste of resources in the context of a space colony) but information resources, like open source, have efficient distribution. So the labor to create it, or in the suggest I make, to audit and improve it, could be available and find satisfaction achieving something useful to other people.

Comments are closed.