The world we are living in is now in middle of the pandemic COVID -19, initially known as coronavirus, since its detection in China in December 2019. It has already killed more than 5 lakhs and infected more than 10 million people across the globe.
The fear is how long it will continue to stay. People are already on the streets for food and jobs. corona vaccines are not in sight, people are openly ignoring corona safety advice to stay at home and keep social distance with fellow citizens to cope with the coronavirus.
Coronavirus is a social problem but the problems it has created are economic as well as others. Those non-economic problems must be unearthed and analyzed to offer solutions to the coronavirus pandemic problem.
People around the world are offering their views on the pandemic coronavirus problem from where it appears that full employment and sensible equality between people could make our society more livable and truly civilized.
It has been viewed that coronavirus pandemic would lead to some progressive changes in the economy and politics but it could also lead to more inequality in society.
Interplay of politics and economics creates and recreates society. This is how society advances – through molding of the rich and the poor –riches and poverty. So, the study must include social and natural sciences.
It has been viewed that no solution of the coronavirus pandemic is seen nearby, adding that the solution to the coronavirus pandemic problem could be imagined to make it a meaningful and an approachable one.
The inequality between people has been almost theorized when it is said that the society is in digital divide when both the poor and the rich get richer but with time, the gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening.
People around the world feel that the rising inequality between the rich and the poor has made our society a misaligned society. It could not move faster because of its misalignment.
The ups and downs in the economy could probably be analyzed only in the light of the upswings and downswings of the world economy in the twentieth century and earlier periods.
And if inequality is feared to be the main reason to make our society misaligned it may be mentioned that inequality has been on its heels since the beginning of society. If society is advancing so is inequality, and at greater rate for that matter.
However, our view is that there could not be absolute equality in any society. Widening inequality in society could be narrowed to acceptable limits.
It has been said that society is made through molding of politics and economics and there appears to be a big missing of natural sciences. And that makes society misaligned bringing time and again disasters in society and they go in the name of political and economic disasters.
Why should people in the working class suffer first and most when famine visits the land? One single provision in the constitution and execution of that provision would put an end to the inequality in society and that would bring social alignment. That would call for a recasting of society.
That provision may come as “Stay geared to full employment”, which would ensure full employment for all, particularly the working people, in all situations. The provision would realign the economy and establish symmetry in the economy.
Stay geared to full employment may require some scale-down in the economy but it would enable the economy to run in full swing. When you run the economy with a lower technology you do not compete with the advanced economy.
Low technology products would be cheaper than high tech products. Even in high tech markets there would be some customers who would look for products which are cheap, durable, functional and useful and which may come from low tech markets.
The low tech products have the chance to survive the competition with the high tech products by virtue of their usefulness and low price against high price quality products. In the international market the developing countries cannot compete with the advanced countries nor will developed countries be willing to invest always in less developed countries for this or that trade problems.
In the circumstances, the less developed countries have the options to plan, design and produce goods which are cheap, useful and irresistible choices for big buyers. For planners this will be a hard thing to do, to make a bottom up planning to achieve a full employment economy.
It would require high imagination of the planners to figure out how much to produce for local consumption and how much to produce to export all based on market study and report. And to make the plan oriented to full employment it would be a bottom up plan.
The full employment plan would be based on reports of the CEOs of the government and the reports of the CEOs in the private sector. And since it would be based on the full employment plan of the government it would avoid lopsided development, and that ensured it would take care of non-alignment in economic development, and disruptions on road to development.
In conclusions it may said that Stay Geared to Full Employment is a figment of imagination to realign the economy, at least to give vent to the public feelings that if solutions to coronavirus pandemic are not in sight people could do imaginings to remove asymmetry in economics and politics to stop the collapse of society.
Man achieves, and achieves everything, through his imaginations. But human imagination is not limitless. It comes one after another. So every society, every system will one day dwindle and die down after which man will imagine and rethink to make new society, new systems again.
To conclude we may define full employment:
“Full employment is an economic situation in which all available resources are being used in the most efficient way possible. Full employment embodies the highest amount of skilled and unskilled labor that can be employed within an economy at any given time.”
The author is a former director of Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center, Savar, Dhaka, and editor of The Traveller, Dhaka