Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell
Chapter 14: The job guarantee, full employment and human rights
As a result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), global unemployment reached a new high. While a tepid recovery in the US and elsewhere has brought unemployment rates down in some regions, many argue that chronically high unemployment will be the new normal. In fact, at least in the US we have observed a ratchet effect over the last several cycles. Unemployment remains high for longer periods after recovery begins, and it does not drop to previous lows reached in earlier expansions. In addition, contingent work has replaced secure employment, and involuntary part-time work has replaced many full-time jobs. Finally, labor force participation has been falling for some parts of the population in wealthy nations, in particular for middle-aged males. A number of explanations are offered for these trends. A common claim is that the social safety net provides alternative means of support, reducing attachment to the labor force. While this cannot be entirely dismissed, recent decades actually saw erosion of social programs, rather than expansion. A variety of arguments could be grouped within the categories of structural unemployment and skills mismatch. The wealthy developed nations have seen the loss of blue-collar jobs to rapidly developing Asia. Skills-biased technical change reduced the demand for blue-collar workers and increased opportunities for highly educated college graduates and specialists.
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