Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jobs: Lies, damned lies and statistics.

Sean O'Torrain.

We who run this blog always explain that capitalism is much worse than you can ever imagine. We maintain this. Today I would like to look at this in relation to jobs in the US. There has been twelve straight months of job growth of more than 200,000 jobs per month. This is the highest since 1995. It is true that this job growth is mainly in the sector of low paid jobs but this is still a lot of new jobs.

But let us look further. How does US capitalism react to this. This job growth leaves unemployment at between 5.2% and 5.5%. This is not an accurate figure as there are up to two million people in prison who are not counted, hundreds of thousands more homeless and who have given up looking for work. But for the sake of trying to see what is going on and what goes on let us take the figure of 5.5% unemployed. Does US capitalism rejoice at this job creation?

Here is what the Wall Street Journal, reflecting the thinking of the capitalist class it represents, has to say. It reports that the Federal Reserve policy makers, that is the representatives of the private banks who run the Federal Reserve "consider 5.5% to be full employment, or the rate the economy can sustain without stoking too much inflation." Now here is a good one. As far as US capitalism is concerned full employment is not full employment. It is at least 5.5% of the population unemployed. To repeat for US capitalism "full employment" is not full employment it is 5.5% unemployed, that is many many millions unemployed.

So what is US capitalism moving to do about this situation of rising employment.  Rising employment is related to wages and the class balance of forces. If unemployment gets lower, gets down to say around 1% or less then the capitalists will be desperate for workers. In this situation, the class balance of forces will shift to the side of the working class. Workers will be able to demand and get higher wages. The bosses profits will be hit. So what do they do? They move to reduce the number of jobs being created. They do this by using the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates, that is make borrowing more difficult. This will make it harder for businesses to borrow and consumers to borrow and it will slow up the economy and slow up job creation. Incredible. Well not incredible. This is capitalism with one of its sick contradictions. It cannot afford full employment.

Think about it further. Capitalism cannot afford full employment. So it calls 5.5% unemployment plus full employment. Then when unemployment looks like it might get lower than this "full employment" it increases interest rates to push up unemployment again. The mass media and mouthpieces of capitalism continually blame the unemployed for not wanting to work. The truth is the opposite. Capitalism does not want the unemployed to work, does not want full employment in the real sense. If there were full employment the working class might get cocky and go for higher wages and this might hurt profits.

 And think about it more. No matter how hard the unemployed try to get work capitalism will never allow there to be jobs for everybody. By its manipulation of the Federal Reserve and in the interest of its profits it will make sure that there is always a reserve army of unemployed from which it can draw cheap labor and use against the employed workers. And if these workers get angry about this they will jail them and make a lot of profits from the private for profit jail system.  No matter how hard people try, no matter how hard they study, no matter how low a wage they will work for, there will never be full employment under capitalism. It is not in their interests. They can never afford it.

And what about the union leaders in this. Where are these toothless wonders.  These creatures who line up to support the war criminal in the White House and who organize to crush any movement in the unions and workplaces for better wages and conditions. There are two major features in US  capitalism at this time. One is this the falling unemployment rate. Two is the massive quantities of capital, of money in the hands of the capitalists, both in the US and in off shore accounts. As the Wall Street journal says the country is "awash with cash." Of course they mean the US capitalists are awash with cash. But back to the toothless wonders in the union leadership. Unemployment is getting lower and this means the working class are getting stronger. The bosses profits and the stock markets are in the stratosphere. The money is there for higher wages. Now is the time to strike. But what do we see instead? These union leaders with their huge salaries arm in arm in the so-called team concept with the bosses, that is working with the bosses against the workers. And in politics working with the Democrats, one of the two capitalist parties, against the workers.

This country will have to get a good shaking. And the force that will have to give it this is the working class. There has to be built fighting centers of struggle in the workplaces, the unions, the communities, the schools and colleges to take on the offensive of capitalism through mass direct action. These have to linked together to build a movement for change. Millions unemployed and this being called full employment is not acceptable. Profits in the stratosphere while wages languish is not acceptable. Millions of people from poor backgrounds in prison while the criminals in Wall Street and the war criminals strut about free and overloaded with cash. This is not acceptable. Society has to be changed.  

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