Opportunity Cost of MMT’s Job Guarantee

I recently wrote the post below for Real Australian Progressives.  The only addition I have made here is the graphic below.

Opportunity Cost of the Job Guarantee

Over the years most of us have become familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

At the most basic level to survive we need food, water, rest (physiological), shelter, warmth and security/safety (Safety). These are the most basic needs. We also need to have friends, the feeling of belonging and social engagement and the feeling of accomplishment and achievement (Esteem). These are the love/belonging and self-esteem parts of the pyramid. Without any of these one cannot achieve one’s full potential of self-actualisation.

This is why many of the things mentioned in other articles here are specifically about social inclusion and engagement. These are the things in society that when individuals go without causes mental and physical health problems and from there lead into bad behaviour.

Unemployment, especially long term unemployment can lead to social exclusion and thus alienation that can cause social problems. These all affect economic and social outcomes for society at large.

  • loss of current output;

  • social exclusion and the loss of freedom;

  • skill loss;

  • psychological harm (mental health);

  • ill health and reduced life expectancy (anxiety and drug use);

  • loss of motivation (a sense of rejection, lack of self esteem);

  • the undermining of human relations and family life;

  • racial and gender inequality; and

  • loss of social values and responsibility.

All of these can lead to crime whether it be break-ins, malicious damage, immediate need for a natural high (e.g. taking a car for a joyride) or a drug induced high just so the person ‘feels normal’. All the stresses of life don’t matter when you do these things. Unfortunately they can have negative effects on society at large. It leads to family breakdowns, suicide, assaults and much more. It is not just unemployment that causes these. For whatever reason, whatever traumas that have been suffered, these people do not feel safe or like they belong so they end up causing harm to others. All these people want to do is feel valued.

Food, shelter and belonging can begin the healing of bad behaviour. Integration with social norms will encourage the belonging and decrease the bad behaviour. Allow them the courage to tell their story, to form a connection with you and have compassion and understanding for their situation and they will feel valued.

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