Make Real News!

100K Challenge!

$34,888 raised so farEND DATE: October 3   
Every dollar you donate will be matched until we reach our 100K goal!
  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Full Employment and the Swedish Model


    Bob Pollin Pt3: In the quest for a short term solution to the crisis, there is a lot to learn from Swedish social-democracy -   August 17, 2012
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    Honest, truthful, never doublespeak, news. - Elin
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Robert Pollin is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). His research centers on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the US and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the US. His latest book is Back to Full Employment. Other books include A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States and Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.

    Transcript

    Full Employment and the Swedish ModelPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

    We're continuing our series of interviews with Bob Pollin about his new book, Back to Full Employment. And he joins us again from Amherst, Massachusetts, where he is codirector and founder of the PERI institute. Thanks for joining us again, Bob.

    ROBERT POLLIN, COFOUNDER, POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH INSTITUE: Thank you very much, Paul, for having me again.

    JAY: So in terms of modern history, one of the models that's often pointed to, at a country that kind of tried to marry Keynesianism and that form of capitalism that seemed to have been working to some extent, was in Sweden. And you talk about this in your book. So discuss that model a bit.

    POLLIN: Well, I think that's a very, very rich model with a lot of lessons for countries throughout the world. I myself, in work I did several years ago in Kenya, actually, on employment opportunities in Kenya, was thinking about the Swedish model in writing the book on Kenya—and still thinking about it in a book about the United States. So it isn't so much about Sweden, per se.

    The idea is that, okay, we have the Keynesian tools that can promote employment. We do know that at a certain point you will create inflationary pressures, and so that how do you maintain a full-employment economy that benefits workers. And the best way to do it is when you have strong unions that are committed to full employment. And they will maintain wage increases that are roughly consonant with productivity growth, so that you do not get upward price pressure, because every time you get a wage increase, that's roughly in step with the economy's capacity to produce more goods and services. That's a productivity increase. And it was really due to the unions themselves that attempted and implemented this policy.

    In fact, the innovators here were two outstanding union economists, Rudolf Meidner and [ˌgɑstəˈrɨɪn]. (I don't know how to pronounce the names correctly. I'm sure I'm mangling them.) But they were very important economists in thinking about how to achieve and sustain a full-employment economy, precisely by empowering workers. Empowering workers gives workers the sense of responsibility [inaud.] oh, well, we are going to take responsibility for dampening whatever inflationary pressures may result, and yes, we can sustain a little bit higher rate of inflation, but we will make sure that prices and wages do not go up excessively, precisely because we the workers, we the unions have the power to do it.

    So I think that is a very rich model. They were able to maintain unemployment for 20 years or more at around 2 percent, and the inflation rate was basically stable, even though you had oil price shocks in Sweden as well.

    JAY: But but over time, the neoliberal pressure took over Sweden as well and the power of finance asserted itself, and they started undoing that model.

    POLLIN: That's right. Well, the Swedish model is still a lot better than the U.S. model [crosstalk]

    JAY: Well, everything's better than the U.S. model.

    POLLIN: —yeah—and the rest of Europe. So Sweden still stands out as a very—as a country that's performing much better, has much lower levels of inequality. But, yes, a lot of the model has been cut back. But we have to have something to grab on to when we think about how to build out and come up with alternatives out of the Great Recession and the disaster that neoliberalism has inflicted both in the United States and the rest of the world, and I think there's a lot to learn from the Swedish model. I don't say it's perfect, but I think if we think about policies of moving from where we are today, not just thinking about a utopian alternative that we can envision, but policies starting with where the world is today, in the neoliberal swamp, I say that the Swedish model has a lot to offer for moving us forward.

    JAY: Okay. We're going to pick up this discussion about the Swedish model and such a little further in the series, 'cause we're going to come back to, keep revisiting many of these issues. But we're going to—in the next part of this series of interviews, we're going to pick up on the next chapter of Bob's book, which is "Globalization, Immigration, and Trade". And part of one of the ideas Bob raises is this idea of the reserve army of the unemployed actually becomes the whole world, and global workers and low-paid workers and global unemployed workers used as a lever against North American and European workers. So we'll pick that up in the next part of our series with Bob Pollin on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Interpret or Change the World?
    Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence
    What Drives U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Israel?
    The Federal Reserve Makes "Effort" to Rein in Big Banks
    An American Fascism - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (5/8)
    Breakthroughs Unlikely at Upcoming UN Climate Summit
    The Untold History of The Star Spangled Banner
    What Drives Obama's Foreign Policy?
    Israel Facing Major Economic Consequences for 50 Day War on Gaza
    FBI Targets Minority Communities in Mortgage Fraud Investigations
    Obama's 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found
    "The State Targeted the Panthers Because We Were Socialists, Not Because We Were Armed" - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (4/8)
    Democrats Have Options to Pursue Campaign Finance Reform
    The Bennis Plan: Here Is a Real Strategy for Dealing with ISIS
    Baltimore Cop Says Some Officers Are a Threat to the Communities They Serve
    The World Made A Much More Dangerous Place by the U.S. Since 9/11
    American Bombs Will Not Defeat ISIS
    Obama's Syria Plan Will Strengthen IS and Warlordism
    ISIS Wants the US Drawn into a Ground War
    New Iraqi Government Will Abide by U.S. Regional Goals
    COINTELPRO, Attack on the Panthers - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (3/8)
    Federal Reserve Data Shows Growing Wealth Gap Based on Race
    Is The Anti-ISIS Campaign Attempting to Renew War Against Assad?
    Putting Off Immigration Reform May Backfire on Democrats
    Moments of Radicalization - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (2/8)
    US-Israel Pressure Palestine Not to Join the ICC
    Ferguson Poet Asks Police to Think
    Ecuador to Adopt Digital Currency
    44 Years in Prison, Still a Revolutionary - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (1/8)
    The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine's Civil War

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting