Showing all posts tagged: rober schiller
Robert Schiller states that long-term unemployment decreases basic democratic impulses, and implies that in the long run we might be creating an underclass that would support anti-democratic government:
Robert Schiller via NYTimes.com
Bad as it is for those without jobs and their immediate families, unemployment tears the fabric of our society. Duha T. Altindag of Auburn University and Naci H. Mocan of Louisiana State University used data collected by the World Values Survey on more than 130,000 people from 69 countriesto learn how unemployment affects confidence in civil society and basic democratic institutions.
They looked at a survey question inquiring whether “having a strong leader who does not have to bother with Parliament or elections” is a good thing. In the United States, being jobless increases the propensity to agree by about 11 percentage points, to 38 percent from the sample mean of 27 percent, after controlling for other factors like income and education. They also found that, in countries where they had the appropriate data, people who have been unemployed for more than a year are even more likely to agree, if other factors are held constant.
Some of the social discord and mistrust of government in our country of late is surely connected to long-term unemployment. We need to accept that we are now in very unusual times, and that unusual steps are needed.
The stakes are very high here, and they are not just economic. As anger rises in today’s economy, I’m reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s words about the danger of “angry passions” arising between the North and South over the question of extending slavery to the Missouri territory. In an 1820 letter, he wrote that “this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror.” He went on to predict, from his observations of such rancor, the secession of the South that was to come 40 years later.
Our country is a much more stable and just society now than it was in 1820. Still, we should regard the current economic dispute as another fire bell in the night. It is important to recreate the sense of a just society, without anger — and an important step in that direction is to ensure that there are enough jobs.
Yes, joblessness should make us awaken with terror, like a fire bell in the night.