PAID NOT TO WORK
How absurd! The Capitalists will go crazy. Of course, but they seemed to love it when they were paid not to work – namely during the Great Depression of the 30s. During that depression, farmers had produced so much food that the market prices plunged, a classic supply and demand curve of the world of economics. Think about it. If suddenly you and your neighbors were each given 100 boxes of strawberries that have a shelf life of a few days, what would you do? Would you try to sell them? Try to give them away? Make strawberry preserves? Or plow them under.
In the 30s, the answer was to plow them under.
You wouldn’t try to sell them because the marketing cost was more than the price you could get from your neighbor who wouldn’t buy them, and the cost of sugar plus about 50 jars to make preserves didn’t make sense if you were short for funds and storage. So, that’s what added to the problems of the Great Depression. Farmers had to plow many crops under since it made little sense to pay the cost of picking them.
Then, the Administration had a great idea: suppose we pay the farmers to fallow a portion of their acreage? If the supply was less, then the price should increase to a point where farming would be profitable. It worked!
Today, the tables have turned, we have an abundance of workers chasing unprofitable work.
Thus, just like the farmer of the 30s, many of our workers today earn a wage that is not sustainable to maintain a survival status; it’s below a living wage. One solution is to learn from the past. Maybe we could pay a portion of our society to not work, then wages would have to increase. But how would we keep the people paid not to work to abide by the agreement to not market their services? Maybe we can review what they did in the 30s and afterward.
The answer is what they did in the 30s: Government!
So in the 30s, the government listed each farm and used aerial photos to make sure each farmer had fallowed the amount of land allotted to the cause. BTW, big government, today still uses what is called “marketing orders” to regulate some crops to maintain the desired price level. Could such a scheme work today to pay folks not to work?
If so, how could we monitor the natives? And, last but not least, who would administer the public relations for what might be built as insanity?
(BTW: portions of Europe are already using this technique.)
Rich Meyer, Blogger & Author.