Ne boste verjeli, koliko butastih teorij je v akademski ekonomiji. In še bolj butasto je, da velika večina mainstream ekonomistov te teorije jemlje ne samo resno, temveč brez sence dvoma. Sploh, kar se tiče trga dela. Osnova neoklasične paradigme od Miltona Friedmana naprej je tukaj, da brezposelnost kot takšna ne obstaja, pač pa da gre zgolj za prostovoljno brezposelnost, ker pač nekateri bolj vrednotijo prosti čas kot plačano delo. (Neumnost, seveda, vendar ne za mainstream neoklasike). Iz tega pa sledi druga teorija, in sicer, da za neprostovoljno brezposelnost v času krize ni krivo pomanjkanje povpraševanja po delovni sili zaradi padca agregatnega povpraševanja, pač pa zato, ker delodajalci ne morejo najti delavcev s primernimi kvalifikacijami (neustrezen matching). (Traparija, seveda, le zakaj imajo delodajalci težave s tem v času, ko je na voljo na pretek delovne sile in ne v času, ko je povpraševanje večje od ponudbe?!).
No, spodaj je izsek iz luštnega članka v Jacobinu, ki zgornji neoklasični bedasti teoretski mit razbije. Pokaže, da ko je konjunktura zelo visoka in ko močno primanjkuje delovne sile, delodajalci spustijo zaposlovalne standarde: začnejo zaposlovati manj kvalificirane delavce in jih dodatno usposabljajo, posežejo celo po nekdanjih kaznjencih. To je seveda v nasprotju s teorijo slabega matchinga delodajalcev in zaposlenih v času recesije.
Bistvo cele zgodbe je namreč povsem in izključno ideološko. Če bi namreč neoklasični teoretiki priznali, da obstaja neprostovoljna brezposlenost in da do nje pride zaradi premajhnega povpraševanja v času krize, bi s tem priznali dvoje. Prvič, da se trgi ne zmorejo samouravnavati in da ponudba občasno ne more najti dovolj povpraševanja (nasprotno Sayevemu zakonu trga), zaradi česar pride do recesije. In drugič, da ko pride do recesije, mora vmes poseči vlada in z miksom ekonomskih politik spodbuditi agregatno povpraševanje, s čimer se poveča tudi povpraševanje po (odpuščeni) delovni sili in zmanjša brezposelnost. Oboje pa je podobno temu, kot da bi vampirju pokazali križ.
Facing a tight labor market, employers are starting to hire workers they previously considered unqualified. Once-picky companies are realizing they can’t sleep on imperfect applicants, lest their job vacancies go unfilled and profits sag. The trend is great news for those typically excluded from the job market, such as formerly incarcerated people. It’s also a victory for left-wing economists, dealing a blow to the supply-side argument that inadequate worker skills are to blame for high unemployment.
A new article in the New York Times profiles people on either side of the hiring desk, and they all confirm that corporations are diving uncharacteristically deep into the labor pool to fill vacancies. “We see employers really knocking on the door of our organization in a way that we haven’t seen in probably twenty years,” said a Minneapolis nonprofit director whose organization helps formerly incarcerated people reenter the workforce.
“Our company is looking for new ways to find pools of people just because of our hiring needs being so high,” said one recruiter, whose company in Wisconsin has just begun employing currently incarcerated people at market wages.
This relaxation of hiring standards is a stinging rebuke to right-wing economists, who for years assured us that the main reason for the stagnant post-recession employment rate was that workers themselves didn’t have the right stuff. Throughout the slow recovery, journalists from major papers made a cottage industry of finding CEOs complaining that their hiring searches were coming up empty. Conservative commentators chalked up high unemployment to a so-called “skills gap”: companies needed more qualified workers, they insisted, than were currently on offer.
But something wasn’t right. If companies really needed qualified workers, why weren’t they raising wages to attract them? Or why weren’t they lowering their qualification standards or offering training to less experienced new hires? If companies really did have jobs that desperately required filling, they would have been working harder to fill them. Some flagged this inconsistency early on. “The reason markets adjust,” wrote management professor Peter Cappelli in 2013, “is because the participants, in this case the employers, eventually learn that they either have to raise their pay or lower their expectations in order to get the workers they need.”
The right wing’s explanation for lagging unemployment rate was a classic supply-side argument. The trouble, the argument went, was that firms weren’t getting what they needed to flourish — in this case, an adequate supply of skilled labor. The Left countered with a demand-side perspective: The reason for high unemployment was that ordinary people, not companies, weren’t getting their needs met. If they had more money in their pockets, ordinary people would increase their spending, demand for goods and services would rise, and that would create more jobs. More jobs means lower unemployment, which means greater bargaining power for the already employed, who won’t have to worry about their position being undermined by vast reserves of cheap labor.
At the time, left economists pointed out that even as employers were supposedly yearning for acceptable candidates but unable to find them, wages weren’t rising. “If employers cannot get the workers they need,” wrote Dean Baker in 2013, “then they raise the wages they offer to pull workers away from other employers. This is how markets work.” The fact that this wasn’t happening, Baker and others argued, was evidence that there wasn’t a real labor shortage, and that the “skills gap” was just another name for corporate whining. Employers were putting up job ads, sure, but they were also being hyper-selective about who they hired — for instance, refusing people with criminal convictions — a good sign they weren’t really in need.
Vir: Meagan Day, Jacobin