A modern economist may engage in highly sophisticated calculations on whether full employment ‘pays’ or whether it might be more ‘economic’ to run an economy at less than full employment so as to insure a greater mobility of labor, a better stability of wages, and so forth. His fundamental criterion of success is simply the total quantity of goods produced during a given period of time.
‘If the marginal urgency of goods is low,; says Professor Galbraith in The Affluent Society, ‘then so is the urgency of employing the last man or the last million men in the labour force.’
And again: ‘If . . . we can afford some unemployment in the interest of stability—a proposition, incidentally, of impeccably conservative antecedents—then we can afford to give those who are unemployed the goods that enable them to sustain their accustomed standard of living.’
From a Buddhist point of view, this is standing the truth on its head by considering goods as more important than people and consumption as more important than creative activity.
It means shifting the emphasis from the worker to the product of work, that is, from the human to the subhuman, a surrender to the forces of evil. The very start of Buddhist economic planning would be a planning for full employment, and the primary purpose of this would in fact be employment for everyone who needs an "outside" job: it would not be the maximization of employment nor the maximization of production.
Women, on the whole, do not need an ‘outside’ job, and the large-scale employment of women in offices or factories would be considered a sign of serious economic failure. In particular, to let mothers of young children work in factories while the children run wild would be as uneconomic in the eyes of a Buddhist economist as the employment of a skilled worker as a soldier in the eyes of a modern economist.
Surely an economic system should put People First, not Profits! Yet, in our current capitalist system, it is Profits First and People Last. In good times, workers are overworked whilst being told not to claim overtime. And during difficult times, they are also the first to be retrenched, through no fault of their own; whilst Top Management go laughing all the way to the bank.
Is an economic system that accepts unemployment acceptable? Before you say yes, put yourselves in the shoes of the unemployed and think about how you would feel; if the whole world told you that you are USELESS and therefore, UNEMPLOYABLE!