Economic Policy: Development Economics, Green Jobs, and Employment of Last Resort

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Natalia BRACARENSE, North Central College, USA
Paulo BRACARENSE, Universidade Federal do Parana, Brazil
Development economics contains two main public policy guidelines. First, and currently, an “outward-oriented” program based on exports of primary commodities. Alternatively, for a few years following World War II, a domestic industrialization from within strategy was supported. This intermission is partly due to the UN’s 1945 goals to promote “higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development.” Post-Keynesian economists have lately supported the revival of the latter strategy, arguing that underdeveloped countries tend to have an abundance of labor resources, whose potential is untapped. The possibility of employing these resources to promote development from within, along with the tendency of a modern capitalist economy to sustain unemployment and instability, justifies the implementation of an employer-of-last-resort (ELR) program. While the current paper supports those efforts, it contributes to the debate by, first, arguing that discussions about employment cannot be divorced from the broader social and environmental systems. The current paper, first, proposes ways in which implementation of ELR may incorporate the UN’s proposal for green jobs. According to the ILO (2013) “jobs are green when they help reduce negative environmental impact ultimately leading to environmentally, economically and socially sustainable enterprises and economies. More precisely green jobs are decent work that”: Reduce consumption of energy and raw materials; Limit greenhouse gas emissions; Minimize waste and pollution; and Protect and restore ecosystems.” Secondly, the paper suggests that most jobs are not completely green, introducing then a metric that can measure how green is a job in a scale of 0 to 1, as proposed by “fuzzy logic.” Each job is attributed values that inform the "degree of membership." In fuzzy logic one element can belong to more than one set with different degrees of membership, representing a "paradigm shift" (Kuhn 1962) from Cartesian logic.