This is a chapter from Bills of Health.
This link takes you to a brief
account of how it would work.
Formal Proposal to Government
"Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no
Ecologically wised-up Keynesianism
Thomas Carlyle may have been going a bit over the top in this
regard, but he does serve to remind us that there was a time when
work was valued highly. Such statements are liable to be dismissed
as the "protestant work ethic" but such derogatory labelling
is no substitute for logical argument about the urgent need to
reduce the entropy in the economic/ecological situation in which
we find ourselves by carrying out a considerable amount of creative
and constructive work.
The great British economist John Maynard Keynes argued that it
was the duty of governments to lift the economy out of recession
by providing money to invest in new work on the infrastructure
of the country. Now that both communism and monetarism have demonstrably
failed to meet the needs of people and environment, Keynesianism
is coming back into its own, but in the latter part of the 20th
century, Keynesian investment must be qualified and guided by
ecological wisdom. Not all work creates real wealth. Arms production
is an example of work which is highly profitable for the producer,
but overall, depletes the wealth of those who buy arms, and especially
those who experience the end product in the flesh. The market
economy needs to be guided into benign paths, both negatively,
with taxes on products which are socially and environmentally
harmful, and positively, by directing the Wage Subsidy to work
which is beneficial to society and environment.
Enterprises to benefit from Wage Subsidy labour should be:
- Ecopositive (beneficial to the environment)
- Socially positive (beneficial to the community)
- Investment rather than simple expenditure
- Labour intensive in preference to capital intensive.
Throughout this section, the word "jobs" will be used
as shorthand, while acknowledging that there is a large philosophical
question over the value of paid employment as compared with non-alienated
Introducing the Wage Subsidy
There is no suggestion of compulsion or "Workfare" in
this proposal; people will take on work (or not, as the case may
be) of their own free will, just as they could under a full Citizen's
Income, and no-one will be penalised in any way if they refuse
work, apart from the fact that remain in statu quo.
It has been objected that this scheme, since it is not a universal
benefit, is not a bona fide Citizen's Income. This is true, but
only in the sense that getting on a train is not the same thing
as arriving at a destination. Transition is by definition a time
of confusion, when two states overlap. The turnover in unemployment
means that the number of jobs supported by WS will gradually increase.
It has been found on the doorstep that the approach to Citizen's
Income set out in this way gains ready acceptance by the average
One of the most important advantages of this scheme is that it
decreases labour costs, and it is precisely this factor that has
resulted in the loss of industrial jobs to the tiger economies
of the Pacific Rim: Japan, Korea, China and other countries with
low wage bills. WS means that British industry (and European,
since it is likely that EU standardisation rules mean the scheme
will have to be implemented on a Europe-wide basis) will be able
to compete on a more equal footing.
The increased economic activity generated by this scheme will
pave the way in due course to implementation of full Citizen's
Income. #1 in the pocket of the poor stimulates the economy seven
times more powerfully than the same amount given to the rich,
because the poor use the money in a way that feeds into the general
economy faster, for instance in buying food or necessities. Money
given to the rich tends to remain out of circulation as savings
or to be exchanged for luxury items with other rich people.
In due course, as the stimulation of the economy works through
to greater tax revenues, WS would be widened out to neutral service
enterprises such and telephone cleaning, although arms manufacture,
battery farming and road construction should never benefit from
the scheme. As WS-generated wealth works through into the general
economy, the scheme can be extended so that valuable enterprises
which need extra support will receive subsidies for more of their
workforce until all their employees are supported. m Eventually
the State will be able to make the final step (which at that stage
would be quite small) into the unconditional universal benefit
which is the Citizens Income proper.
Constructive dialogue should be held with the Unions to work out
protocols and regulations to prevent newly subsidised labour from
displacing those already in employment. This should not be difficult.
Before WS labour joins the workforce, an employer will notify
the existing number of employees to the Department of Employment,
and will not be allowed to reduce that number while taking on
new WS labour. This would need an inspectorate, but the work of
the inspectors would be made easier by the fact that in the event
of displacement by WS labour, disgruntled displacees would be
most likely to draw the inspectors' attention to their case, so
that the system is self-regulating.
It should be pointed out to the Unions that much of the proposed
work is new, and will therefore pose no threat to existing jobs.
Integration of the scheme with a minimum wage could be achieved
Activities in the green sector often create redundancies in the
ungreen sector - for instance, energy conservation will destroy
work in nuclear energy production. Broadly speaking however, green
work is more labour-intensive than capital-intensive, so that
there will be a net gain.
Stimulating the Green Sector
The main areas to benefit will be the following:
1 energy conservation
2 renewable energy technologies
3 energy efficient goods manufacture
4 pollution control technology
5 waste minimisation
8 water management
9 sustainable agriculture
10 forestry and timber use
11 countryside management
12 housing - new building and refurbishment
13 improvements to visual environment
14 public transport
15 education and training
16 counselling, caring and healing
17 community work
18 leisure and tourism
19 innovation, research and development
20 any business which passes a certain threshold in its
In his paper "Growth, Employment and Environmental Policy"
Professor David Pearce concluded that "the evidence available
does not support the received political wisdom that more environmental
regulation will be harmful to economic growth". He quotes
T. Barker and R. Lewney , who set the following scenario:
* Carbon tax to attain 1990 levels of CO2 output by 2005
* Industrial pollution abatement spending quadrupled by 2000
* Intensified water clean-up policy.
The Cambridge Multisectoral Dynamic model showed a fall in unemployment
of 365,000 in 2005 compared to 1990 when this scenario was run.
Pearce also quotes an OECD study which finds that "employment
is stimulated by the growth of the pollution abatement sector
and a slight depressing effect on productivity."
(emphasis added). These studies take a very narrow view of what
is involved in greening the economy. A more comprehensive view
will turn up many more work opportunities. The next section investigates
these opportunities sector by sector.
Our energy use has often been likened to a rich but stupid person
trying to run a bath. Finding that it is filling slowly, he turns
the tap on faster but fails to notice that the plug is not in
the hole. Energy conservation is the equivalent of putting the
plug in the hole. It is called Demand Side Management, and not
unsurprisingly, has been found to be cheaper than Supply Side
The Association for the Conservation of Energy has calculated
that a national programme of domestic energy conservation (loft
and wall insulation, draught proofing, heating controls and lighting
efficiency) could create 500,000 job/years of work at a cost of
15.5 billion pounds sterling, with a payback time of 3-5 years.
Out of this research came the Energy Conservation Bill, which
was passed into law in early 1995 after humble beginnings as an
Early Day Motion by Plaid Cymru/Green MP Cynog Dafis, backed by
a hardfought campaign spearheaded by the Green Party but involving
many environmental and social concern NGO's, and gaining support
from a majority of MP's of all parties. The campaign was won without
any significant media coverage whatsoever. The Energy Conservation
Act will require local authorities to conduct an energy survey
of all properties in their area and report on ways in which `significant
energy savings' could be achieved, with the financial costs and
the resultant saving of CO2. There will be a statement of the
council's policy for taking into account the `personal circumstances'
(poverty, age, disability &c) of households surveyed. The
Secretary of State must set times for reports and reviews to come
back, and has indicated that he will seek a 30% reduction initially.
He must assist councils with resourcing the Act, and must report
back to Parliament on progress.
The Energy Conservation Bill offsets the increased cost due to
the introduction of VAT on fuel to the lower paid by reducing
the amount of fuel which we need to use. The cost effectiveness
of the measure is increased by lower housing maintenance costs
estimated at #100 - #500 per annum per dwelling due to less dampness
All new jobs have a `multiplier effect' as the new wages are spent
on goods and services. Jobs created in energy efficiency have
an additional `respender' effect, as money saved on energy is
respent on other goods and services.
The costs per job/year have been variously estimated at between
#9,000-23,000. At the lower end of that range, the job comes free
of cost to the state if the worker is taken off the dole. As with
all green energy measures, jobs created in the green sector will
displace jobs in finite fuel industries. Tables in "Working
Future" show that for every job lost, three are gained.
For the estimate here, we will take as the lower figure from `Working
Future" of 36,000, and as the upper, the ACE report of 500,000
job years, which if spread over 10 years give 50,000 jobs per
Renewable energy technologies
The manufacture, installation, and maintenance of renewable energy
technology - wind turbines, wave energy devices, biomass systems,
solar heat systems, fuel cells, photovoltaic systems, auxiliary
sails for commercial ships and others - will clearly become a
major industry in the future, and in order to secure the UK a
niche in the future market, it is vital to make a start now, reversing
the Government inaction and hostility that has lost us the initiative
in the development of wave and wind power.
The European Wind Energy Association have published a report,
`Wind Energy in Europe - A Plan of Action'. In a personal communication,
one of the authors of the report stated that they did not expect
large employment gains from any programme of renewable energy,
no matter how ambitions, because for each job created in renewables,
a job will be lost from the fossil energy sector. He also made
the point that lead times for wind energy installations are considerably
less than those for fossil and nuclear stations. In addition,
wind turbine systems, once in place, need remarkably little maintenance.
Labour needs are limited to an attendant to keep a general eye
on the site.
However, the FoE report gives a different picture, with wind
power of 30TWh/y giving 6,900-13,800 jobs, or 3,420-10,320 when
displacement of coal work is accounted for. A maximum effort to
harness all available onshore wind could create up to 55,000 jobs.
Germany is commencing an ambitious solar energy scheme using
roof tiles with built-in photovoltaic cells which generate electricity
for storage. This scheme could be developed here: no estimate
has been made for the work created.
Combined heat and power, where waste heat is piped around housing
estates, is estimated to provide 140,000 job-years for only five
cities, or 7-12,000 jobs over 15 years, displacement corrected.
Energy efficient goods manufacture
This is certainly a green enterprise, but cannot be counted on
as a means of job creation since it will simply displace jobs
in inefficient manufacture. However, it merits inclusion, since
if the UK persists in opting out of incoming EU energy standards,
(as occurred in the matter of energy efficient domestic gas boiler
manufacture) we will lose both export and domestic markets to
superior EC goods. The use of energy efficient goods benefits
the economy as it reduces fuel poverty as well as reducing global
Pollution control technologies
Pollution control forms the core of assessments of green technology
in most academic assessments carried out. A Labour Party study
showed 628,000 jobs coming from higher environmental standards.
Cambridge econometrics showed 200,000 jobs from a faithful application
of the polluter pays principle, and 696,000 from a major investment
in water quality.
Technologies for the recapture and re-use of solid, liquid, and
gaseous "waste" materials exist in many forms, but in
order to reach the market place they need tight forcing environmental
legislation. Despite the lack of such a legislative ethos in the
UK, there is has a healthy export market for British produced
water pollution control equipment.
Project Catalyst was an initiative in the Wirral looking at waste
in industry. The project covered 14 companies, cost #1 million,
and came up with savings worth #2 million/year which would continue
to accrue while the processes ran. Simply ordering the suppliers
to cut rubber a door seal to the right size saved one firm #20,000
per year, and many skiploads of 6 inch rubber offcuts. This project
indicates a classic case for Government investment in industrial
and environmental efficiency. It will not necessarily create jobs
but by increasing the prosperity of firms, could make existing
jobs more secure.
A review of the initiative by the Department of Trade and Industry
gave 12 examples where the numbers of employees in the firm, and
the annual financial value of the saving was given. From this
an index of money saved per annum per employee (PAPE) can be derived.
It varied from #46 to #6,842, with an arithmetical average of
#1,568. Extrapolation of this figure to the numbers employed in
all industry in September 1993 (5,359,000) gives a crude estimate
of annual savings of #8,402,912,000 (#8.4 billion) per year to
be obtained from waste minimisation, which is, as the Prime Minister
would say, a not inconsiderable sum.
If resource taxes are brought in, together with other disincentives
designed to discourage the "disposable" mentality, repair
of defective goods will once again become an important activity.
Although this will mean some job losses in manufacturing industries,
there should be a net gain since repair is more labour intensive
than assembly line manufacture, due to the extra time spent dismantling
the article - one estimate that 56% more labour is needed to recondition
a motor car than to build from scratch.
In order to give this factor some quantitative representation,
a figure of +1% to +5% of manufacturing jobs will be ascribed.
Taking the 1993 of 4 million as a base gives 40,000 to 20,000.
Recycling is commonly seen as an activity of marginal economic
significance. This is erroneous. In 1983 imports of paper to the
UK were worth more than the UK's entire motor car export market.
Recycling of paper to an extent that would reduce these imports
to zero should therefore be seen as of equal importance as the
objective of doubling our exports of cars.
Kerbside collections and manual sorting (as opposed to mechanical
sorting systems) are highly labour intensive operations. Cardiff,
Milton Keynes, Leeds, Bath and Bristol all have a variety of systems
of kerbside collection for waste.
In Bath there is a weekly pickup of recyclable goods. Workers
segregate the waste on the pickup vehicle. Eight people are directly
employed in collecting and sorting, and they cover 14,000 households
(Ratio of workers to households = 1:1750)
Cardiff, with a similar scheme, has 30 people serving 128,000
households (Ratio = 1:4264)
Although these schemes operate in cities there is no reason that
they should not also operate successfully in the countryside.
Recycling, segregating pickups can also be integrated into the
routine waste collection.
Scaling these ratios up to cover the whole of the UK would create
between 5,624 - 13,000 jobs in collection alone.
Since this is hard physical work, with an element of danger
attached to it, it would be better to choose the more labour intensive
option of 13,000 jobs.
More work is needed at the depots in processing the recycled
waste. Assuming 1 reprocessing job to 10 collecting jobs, this
gives another 1,300 places.
More work will be created at the plant where the recycled materials
are reintroduced into the manufacturing stream, but since these
will displace jobs in manufacturing from virgin resources, their
input will be assumed to be zero.
This crude estimate of between 6,924 and 14,300 jobs in recycling
compares reasonably with the estimates quoted in Working Future
of 7,200 and 8,500 jobs in recycling paper and returnable drinks
The quality of drinking water supply needs improving in many ways.
The first priority must be to replace lead domestic piping, especially
in soft water areas, since longterm ingestion of low levels of
lead is known to cause lowering of intelligence in children. 70%
of the piping that needs replacement lies in the curtilage of
the house, so that grants for replacement must be made available
for families on low income. WS support will reduce labour costs
substantially for this work on higher incomes, but further direct
subsidies should support the work in order to reduce the financial
disincentive for this preventive health measure.
The quantity of drinking water supplies is restricted in droughts,
which will become more frequent as global warming progresses.
About 30% of the UK water supply is lost through leaking mains.
Leaks also present the threat of contamination of the supply if
mains pressure falls below the pressure of water in the surrounding
soil, which may in turn be contaminated with leakage from adjoining
sewers. There is therefore a case for major investment in mains
renewals. It has not been possible to get an estimate for the
numbers of jobs wich would be created in this programme.
Sewerage refurbishment is already in hand, forced by the advanced
state of decay of Victorian sewers.
The costs of the work will be repaid by avoiding the inconvenience
of the sudden appearance of large holes in the street. Sewer collapses
are commonly measured in units called DDBs, one DDB being a hole
large enough to swallow a double decker bus. A further health
and aesthetic benefit comes from a reduction in the increase of
the rat population. Rats use sewers as routes of expansionary
migration, escaping upwards to new territories through cracks
and gaps in the old brickwork.
New sewerage networks are required for industrial waste water
management in order to end the practice of mixing industrial wastes
and domestic sewage. Without this, treated sludges cannot safely
and sustainably be recycled to land because of the build-up of
industry-derived heavy metals and other toxins in the soil. This
might create an estimated 5,000 jobs per year for 10 years.
Biodigestion is the process where organic wastes such as sewage
and vegetation are acted upon by bacteria which break them down
into simpler, homogenised and non toxic end products which can
then be re-used. Various forms exist from the common or garden
compost heap through anaerobic digestion, to a new process where
a microorganism derived from horse dung effectively causes the
slow oxidisation of the waste, producing heat and carbon dioxide
Biodigestion is a jewel in the crown of green technologies. It
can turn sewage, a foul and hazardous waste product which emits
methane and ammonia, greenhouse gases both, into energy producing
gas (or low grade heat) and an enhanced organic fertiliser that
meshes with the needs of the organic farmer. Farm Gas plc have
claimed that the energy value alone can pay back the cost for
the installation in two years. Unfortunately however, due to the
lack of encouragement from either subsidies or regulation, the
commercial exploitation of biodigestion is languishing in the
UK, in contrast to Denmark, where the proportion of sewage treated
in this way is approaching 100%.
Employment opportunities in biodigestion would come in manufacturing
of digesters and also in maintenance. There is also the matter
of the export market, and this is a technology par excellence
that could be transferred to developing countries under the Rio
proposals for transfer of benign technologies. It is a pity that
most of the Export Credit Guarantees which support British exports
are applied to armaments rather than benign technologies like
Water management includes:
- Improvement of habitat of wildlife around waterways.
- Rehabilitation, commercial and leisure use of canals.
- Sea Defences
Coastal erosion is a serious problem in many sites around the
UK. The emerging thinking on the subject is that things should
be allowed to slide (literally), and this may be wise in many
sites, given the conspicuous failure of King Canute. In some sites
however, the use of wavepower barrages may be a useful and cost
effective solution to beach erosion. The Ministry for Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has been urged to consider that in some
sites wave energy barrages might be used to defend the coast and
to build up the beaches. The Lanchester barrage is known to be
able to do this. The counter argument has been that erosion damage
occurs during storms, and storm waves would simply sweep over
wave devices. This is true, but it begs the question that if the
beach were built up by the presence of the barrage, the storm
energy would expend itself on the beach as it always had done,
and as it does on beaches everywhere, rather on farm land, as
occurs when the beach has been eroded. MAFF has not ruled the
idea of using wave power in this way and agree that more research
is needed. For the scheme to be developed would need more coordination
between Government departments than is the case at present, and
also a less hostile attitude towards wave power than has been
shown hitherto by Government.
For a crude estimate of the increase in numbers available under
the WS, let us assume that the National Rivers Authority establishment,
which stands at present at 7,500, increases by 5-10%: i.e. 375-750.
Flood control is necessary to prevent intermittent flooding of
certain vulnerable valleys. Flooding certainly causes much financial
and emotional hardship to those who get flooded, and a case might
be made for investing in flood prevention. However, the environmental
impact of flood prevention work needs very careful and critical
assessment. Left to themselves, rivers naturally flood from time
to time. Confining a river between narrow banks may in some circumstances
simply displace the flood further downriver, and may also alter
the natural ecosystem.
Building river levees was one of the key works in the New Deal
in the USA, and many of the results were not good for the environment.
Nevertheless there may be a case for identifying sites where flood
prevention works might be ecologically acceptable.
The job count for water pollution control has been mentioned
earlier, at 696,000.
Historically, employment in rural areas has been falling inexorably
due to the mechanisation of agriculture. Farmers are depressed
both economically and emotionally.
Richard Young, an organic farmer, identifies a slight increase
in demand for labour in an organic farm in animal husbandry (reflecting
better care) and in weeding organic fields, but offsets that with
labour savings in spraying &c. He sees the labour requirements
in wheat growing per acre as being equal for organic and chemical
farmers. However he goes on to state, "It would not be that
difficult to build a case showing that organic farmers use substantially
more labour per unit of food".
Here is the case:-
- setaside removes 15% of land from production.
- it will cause the collapse of smaller farmers and "will
concentrate power in the larger farms and lead to another cranking
up of the intensification spiral...more tractors mean less [people]."
- 15% less land in production will therefore lead to more than
15% less employees.
- Organic yields are on average 26% less than intensive yields.
- The objective of setaside (reduced production in the EU to reduce
the food mountains) could therefore be achieved by an increase
in organic production without the loss of 15% of the workforce.
In Nick Lampkin's book `Organic Farming in Practice' there is
a table from Steinmann (1983) which (coincidentally) found that
in a comparison of organic farms compared with conventional partner
farms the labour requirement was 15% higher for organic farms.
However, he gives a number of reasons that these estimates cannot
be transferred directly to the British farming scene. He concludes,
"Organic farming is often associated with increased labour
Working Future gives a figure of 30,000 to 40,000 extra jobs
as a result of a 25% conversion to organic or sustainable agriculture.
Gardening and allotment cultivation is an important part of sustainable
agriculture. Gardening is one of the most efficient ways of producing
food. WS could increase the availability of workers willing to
cultivate the gardens of elderly people on a share cropping basis.
This could benefit the diet of people in deprived areas.
Let us assume that 0.1% of 4 million unemployed, i.e. 4,000, become
active full time in this form of cultivation.
Ecologically sound forestry and timber use
The Forestry Industry Yearbook 1992-1993 gives the number of
people directly employed in forestry as 41,050, with approximately
540,000 employed in industries that use timber - pulp and paper
manufacture, furniture, and distribution. The activity that contributes
the largest amount to the employment total is harvesting. Forestry
employment is predicted to rise from 41,050 to 60,000 by the year
2001, as the trees planted in the 1940's are harvested, and towards
66,000 towards 2006, although higher productivity through mechanisation
might cut this latter figure back to 48,000. Let us assume that
WS gives a 5-10% boost to this figure, i.e. 2,400 - 4,800.
In fact this estimate could be extremely conservative.
In Real World magazine, Autumn 1993, "Woodman Spare that
tree!" Sandy Irvine advocates the "forest farm"
concept of ecologically sound forestry. This involves a move away
from mechanisation and chemical forestry management, and therefore
away from high productivity assumptions towards high labour input
Fine craftsmanship in timber use. An interesting and pleasing
link exists between the solution to global warming and the demand
for fine craftsmanship. As the perception that wood has a special
value as a solidified form of carbon dioxide percolates into the
public consciousness, wood will be increasingly valued as a structural
material. The longer a wooden object is kept, the longer that
CO2 will remain locked up. One way of ensuring that an object
is kept is by subjecting it to fine craftsmanship. Therefore,
woodworkers of all kinds should be favoured by the programme,
with bonuses apportioned according to aesthetic quality. Let us
assume that 500 - 1,000 new workers in this field result from
Countryside management programmes
The DoE has published a brochure `Action for the Countryside'
which provides a useful overview of the problems and policies;
they point also to the Countryside Employment Programme, three
pilot projects to test a new programme, primarily training, reskilling,
and business advice and support.
At present, English Nature employ 846 people in an advisory capacity,
the Countryside Council in Wales employs 320, the Countryside
Commission 150, and the British Trust Conservation Volunteers
(BTCV) 300 - 1,616 in all. The BTCV uses in excess of 84,000 volunteers
on a part time basis.
Even the most casual walker can see to what extent the land created
work in the past, when dry stone walls stretch for miles out into
what is now empty hillside. The scope for work in clearing rubbish,
laying hedges, upgrading footpaths, improving amenity and habitats
is vast. Peoples' enjoyment of the countryside, and therefore
the national `feelgood factor', would be enhanced as a result
of these works.
In addition, Community Service labour could be to carry out heavy
and arduous work that might otherwise be of marginal economic
value, such as collection a proportion (some must be left to stimulate
fungal growth) of fallen trees for sale as firewood.
Community Service is in any case many times more cost effective
as a way of repaying the convicts debt to society than imprisonment.
Let us assume that the extra numbers of WS workers on the land
would be between 1,600 (equal to the numbers in the quangos above)
and 8,400 (10% of the volunteers used).
Shelter have published a paper, `Homes cost less than Homelessness'
which argues that the country could save #174m p.a. by building
enough houses for the homeless instead of paying for them to live
in bed and breakfast, hotels and leased property. These latter
options cost #11,000 to #13,000 pa per family, whereas the cost
of borrowing to build a council house is #7,000 p.a. according
to Shelter's accounting convention, which takes the annual cost
of repaying the home loan. However, the Government insists that
the full cost of paying for the home should be met in the year
in which the home is built, which makes the cost of building appear
prohibitively expensive. Government also ignores the fact that
a home can produce an income (rent).
As well as building new houses to meet housing needs, especially
in the social housing sector, there is a great deal of potential
work available in the refurbishment of the existing housing stock.
Since 1989, over 500,000 construction workers have lost their
jobs. Shelter's proposals for boosting the stock of by 100,000
units of social housing would generate employment for 120,000
people . They call for 1.3 billion pounds per year for 5 years
(6.5 billion) to be spent in refurbishment and new building. Already
#5.5 billion is held in local authority funds from the sale of
council houses, so only another billion will have to be found
- which would be repaid in 5.7 years from the savings in temporary
accomodation of 174 million per year mentioned above. Every #1
billion invested in new housing creates 50,000 jobs, so that at
least 250,000 job years will be created. This will be counted
as 50,000 per year from 1997-2002.
Improvements to the visual environment
Depressed people see the world as lifeless, grey, and ugly. Conversely,
a lifeless, grey, and ugly environment can only be expected to
make people depressed and alienated. Both social and economic
paybacks are therefore to be expected from a programme of tidying,
cleaning, painting and planting in public spaces. This is already
happening to a certain extent (for instance with the Thames bridges
in London) but we would be seeking to bring the amenity usually
reserved for areas of tourist attraction into the environment
of the average citizen.
As well as the general increase in happiness and productivity,
there are material gains to be had from a painting programme:
wood and iron structures will benefit by a prolonging of their
useful lives due to the protective effects of paint.
Oscar Wilde was quite wrong when he said that all Art is quite
useless. At a rough estimate, assuming that each of 500 district
councils employed about 50 people in this scheme, the net gain
would be about 25,000 permanent jobs.
Expansion of public transport services
Public transport work will comfortably offset the layoffs that
green policies will cause in the motor car and road construction
industry. The cheaper labour brought about by WS will enable conductors
and porters to return, making public transport more user-friendly
and safe, since the reintroduction of conductors will reduce the
fear of violence from other passengers. Pollution and journey
times will also be reduced as the bus will not stand for so long
while the driver collects the fares.
Foe, working from statistics in a Transport 2000 report estimated
that the effects of transferring from road construction to rail,
rail freight, and light railways:
#500 million > rail and rail freight 3,000 8,150
#400 million > light rail 3,475 7,590
Total 6,475 15,740
Transferral Labour is needed to move freight from lorries to rail.
At the moment, it is the high costs of this labour which is responsible
for putting so much freight on the roads. WS labour could reduce
these costs, pending a longer term solution, which involves raising
the height of train tunnel roofs in order to allow the trailer
part of articulated lorries to be loaded onto directly onto rail
trucks for long journeys. [cost/jobs Roger Higman, FoE 11 June
1995] The Channe Tunnel has made the use of rail for international
freight journeys potentially far more economic, since it avoids
the need for it to be transferred from rail to ferry and back
Cycleways, together with traffic restraint and integrated transport
policies, are a necessary part of breaking the motor car habit.
The cost of creating cycleways varies with the topography of the
area, and to what extent the cycleway stands alone or is part
of another scheme.
Cost per kilometre of cycleway: #,000s
Painted lines on quiet backstreet 1
Pavement conversion for shared use 5 - 15
Virgin Cycleway 25 - 40
Cycleways are built to a high specification in order to last,
usually by contractors who make roads. Cycleways could therefore
compensate for lost opportunities in road construction, but whereas
a job in roadbuilding costs about #70,000, it is estimated that
two jobs could appear in cycleways for that sum.
Sustrans has a plan to build an 8,000 km cycleway in the UK over
10 years. Taking a mean figure of #30,000 per kilometre to allow
for the fact that some of the work is in cities and therefore
cheaper, this gives an overall cost of #240 million, and if each
35,000 creates one job, the total job count is 6,857 over the
10 years, or 690 per year.
Education and training programmes
Money put into education is an investment in the future of the
nation, and this alone is enough to justify an increase in the
numbers employed in education. There are 392,900 teachers in nursery,
primary and secondary education in the UK. They teach at class
sizes of up to and over 30:1, and the available evidence shows
that the quality of education improves with smaller class sizes.
For instance Tenessee research reported in June 1995 showed that
children in classes of under 15 fared better at reading and writing
than those in classes of 25. Half of the extra cost was recouped
from savings in remedial teaching, and the other half is expected
to be recouped in increased taxes from the better-educated children.
There are 53,256 teachers in Local Education Authority Further
Education Colleges, excluding those controlled by Polytechnics
and Colleges of Further Education. If a programme of retraining
led to a 5 - 10% increase in these positions, an additional 2,663
- 5,326 jobs in training would be created.
To reduce from class sizes of 30:1 to 20:1 would call for a 50%
increase in the establishment of education nationally, or say
an extra 150,000 permanent jobs.
Counselling, caring, and health work
There is evidence that these activities represent excellent investment
both from a humanitarian and financial standpoint.
Counselling A report commissioned by Relate concluded that the
service they provide saves the state more than #42.8 million per
year through savings in legal aid, family support and other indirect
costs of divorce. The cost to the state of funding Relate's services
is #2.2 million, mostly paid by local authorities. Relate consider
that their work in the UK could be expanded by a factor of 10.
This is clearly a very efficient use of public money.
Relate active working counsellors at present number 2,669, so
28,000 extra jobs could be added through a tenfold expansion of
Parenthood counselling is likewise an excellent investment in
the future. If each counsellor can sustain a caseload of 50, and
1% of Britain's households with children need counselling:
UK population 57 million
UK households @ 2.4 each 23.75 million
48% households have children, 11.4 million
1% need counselling 114,000
50 per counsellor 2,280 counsellors
Similar numbers might be required for other special groups: for
adolescents, drug and alcohol problems and so on. The demand for
counsellors is likely to be limited only by the ability of existing
counsellors to train up new workers.
Caring for sick and ill family or neighbours is work which either
goes unpaid or must go through a stringent bureaucratic procedure
to qualify. WS would make this procedure much easier.
Formal caring, for instance community care of people with learning
difficulties, mental illness, or for children in care, is labour
intensive work. Social service group workers should have a staffing
ratio of at least 1 worker to 5 service users; however, increased
ratios would lead to higher quality work, and in children's homes
the ration should be 1:1. The inspectorate for Nursing homes and
residential homes of all kinds should also be increased, with
irregular unscheduled visits to ensure that standards are maintained
and that no abuses occur.
The National Health Service is the biggest single employer in
the UK, standing at 211,000 in 1991. This is down from 214,000
in 1988, but roughly equivalent to the staffing levels in 1981.
Overwork and personnel shortages are constant complaints from
health workers in every sector. A 1% increase in care workers
from WS would yield 21,400 new jobs, and a 0.1% increase would
yield 2,140 jobs.
Community workers whose aim is to catalyse the coming together
of people to discover the strength that exists in working together
are known to be able to benefit society. (see para 6.3.1) If it
is assumed that 10% of households (2.375 million) could benefit
from this kind of input, and that each worker could serve 100
households, we have a need for 23,750 community workers.
Leisure and tourism
New patterns of work and the ability of machines to take over
much repetitive work means that we will all have more leisure
time. Already there is growth in quantity and quality of the leisure
industry. Any constructive and healthy use of leisure time should
be encouraged with Wage Subsidy.
Innovation, Research and Development. Although not directly
a source of mass employment, indirectly a successful programme
of innovation, R & D will benefit the economy. Any shift of
the economy towards truly sustainable development predicates innovation.
Prior to 1994, the Department of Trade and Industry's Design Council
had a Noticeboard project which assessed innovations, advised
innovators on presentation of their projects and put details of
successful ideas before the related sections of industry. This
should be reinstated, and consideration should be given to the
question of making loans to facilitate the early stages of innovation.
Many innovations are lost through the lack of sums (beginning
at #1,000 to 2000) required in the difficult inception period.
Environmentally and socially friendly businesses
Any company or business who passes an environmental audit to a
certain standard should be able to qualify for WS support. Environmental
audit should involve a survey of the business consumption of resources,
its output product, its wastes and their effect and working conditions
within the plant. The prospect of being able to benefit from wage
subsidy would stimulate interest in minimising waste, producing
useful and durable products and optimising working conditions.
JOBS GAINED THROUGH GREENING THE ECONOMY
Estimate high low
(sorry, lost formatting here, you will have to buy or borrow
the book if you want to get this clear)
Taxing resources, not jobs 150 278
Cambridge Multisectoral Dynamic model 365 365
Energy efficiency 50 36*
Wind onshore 50 18
Active solar 1 1
CHP 12.5 7.9
Pollution control 696 200
Repair 200 40
Recycling 14.3 6.9
Sewerage 5 5
Waterways 0.75 0.375
Sustainable 40 30
Gardening/allotments 4 4
Forestry, expected 48 48
Forestry, WS added 4.8 2.4
Fine wood craftsmanship 1 0.1
Countryside management 8.4 1.6
Housebuilding - 5 years @ 50 50
Painting and decorating 25 25
Transfer from road to rail 15.74 6.48
Cycle paths 0.69 0.69
Teachers 150 150
Trainers 5.33 2.66
Relate counsellors 28 28
Parental counsellors 2 2
Community workers 23.8 23.8
NHS 21.4 2.14
Ban on tobacco advertising (see Ch. 13) 1.87 1.87
HOW IS IT ALL TO BE PAID FOR?
There is no alternative
It is beyond the scope of this book to carry out the detailed
quantitative projections for the wage subsidy scheme.
Between 1.1 and 1.8 million full time jobs have been identified
by the method outlined above. The work is not work for its own
sake, but serious and vitally necessary from the
point of view of sustainable development. In many cases, for example
in housebuilding, energy conservation and
marriage guidance counselling, there is a clearly identifiable
financial payback. In other cases, for instance sustainable agriculture,
improvements to the visual environment and in forestry, there
is an ecological payback but the financial paybacks will not be
clear until an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare supplants
the old, crude measure of GNP.
The effect of Wage Subsidy is that Social Security Benefit expenditure,
instead of being money thrown away on a process which condemns
people to exist in a state of surly and impecunious idleness,
is converted into a surge of financial and human energy into the
economy which, if wisely directed towards improving the ecological
infrastructure of the economy, can resolve the two of the major
challenges of our time: the pain of unemployment and poverty,
and the threat of ecological collapse.
A simple example of what is needed exists in Beira, Mozambique.
There the water table is high, so that puddles form easily. Mosquitoes
breed in the water, and cause malaria which imposes a huge strain
on the health services. Standing by the puddles are crowds of
unemployed people, and behind them is sand. What is required is
to use the unemployed to fill the puddles with sand. The authorities
know this, but because their country has been bled dry by twenty
years of war, they have no money to pay for the work to be done.
Monetarists would say that this is as it should be: they must
wait for the money to come along. Keynesians would say that the
Government should borrow money to carry out the necessary work,
and pay it back when times are less hard.
Some economists go further than Keynes: they point out that the
money is borrowed from banks, and that the banks neither borrow
to fund the loan, nor do they draw on their reserves: they lend
virtual money, created from nothing.
If a person requests a loan from a bank, the bank manager assesses
the financial credibility of the person. If they are of good standing,
and the purpose of their loan is reasonable, the manager grants
it. The only limits on the bank's ability to lend is the surety
the capital sums in his banks vaults: total loans must not exceed
a certain multiple of what the bank holds. When a loan has been
made, it is repaid many times over by the borrower earning the
money in the real world by making real (or perhaps relatively
real) objects. By drawing in these real earnings, the bank's assets
are increased, so that even more virtual money can be lent out
in years to come.
Some economists question why this alchemical power should be
delegated solely to the banks, and why it should not be exercised,
with due caution and safeguards, by governments and even communities.
Chief among the safeguards are that there should be a reasonable
expectation of a payback, which is the case in the nineteen areas
In short, lack of money should not stop the Beirans from filling
their puddles, nor should it stop us from filling our own social
and environmental puddles. Money exists to serve the real economy;
the economy does not exist to serve money. If real ecopositive
work needs to be done, money should be created against the surety
of the physical and human resources available, and against the
soundness of the plan. This money creation is not inflationary
since the end result is an increase in the total value within
the system. At the end of the day, it must be better to get the
unemployed working on good constructive projects than paying them
a semi-adequate subsistence pittance on condition that they do
A balance sheet
The only accurate way to show that the Wage Subsidy will work
is by running it on a computer model of the economy, which could
account for the dynamic effect of the influx of work into the
economy, as well as the effects of improved general morale. In
the absence of the use of such a a programme, the alternative
is to present a simple arithmetical to show that it is possible
to balance the books.
The Balance sheet
Cost of Wage subsidy
The gross cost of 2 million jobs created:
1.0 million will be @ #8,000 per year 8
0.5 million will be @ #12,000 per year 6
0.5 million will be @ #16,000 per year 8
Total #20 billion
from this figure, subtract the cost of removing 2 million from
the dole at #9,000 each (#18 billion) leaves an extra 2 billion
to be found. While it is true that a substantial part of the #18
billion will yet have to be paid (some administrative savings
may be available), this money would have been paid out anyway,
in dead end dole money, and so can be discounted in this excercise
which is to meet the extra costs.
State Savings per year # million
Wages bill for 2 million new jobs (2,000)
GNP increases by 2% 12,000
Building houses 174
Waste minimisation 8,403
Axe allowance on company cars 2,000
Collect unclaimed tax 5,000
Axe Trident 2,000
Even if the #18 billion wage subsidy is included in this equation,
the country is still #9,937,000,000 (nearly 10 billion pounds)
per year better off.
To this equation can be added the fact that there is plenty of
scope for increased borrowing in the UK. In order to restore the
general level of investment in the UK to 1979 levels would require
an annual increase of #22.5 billion .
Furtheremore, if it is argued that in spite of the savings outlined
above, an increase in borrowing or taxation is needed, the predictable
shock-horror reaction would not be supported by international
comparisons. OECD projections for 1996 indicate that Britain's
annual Government takings will amount to 37.9% of GDP, as opposed
to the European average of 45.2%. Of EU countries, only Greece
has a lower tax requirement than Britain. Similarly, Britain's
borrowing projections in the year 2000 are only 47.4% of GDP,
compared to an European average of 70%.
The conclusion is that with a few minor adjustments to the spending
programme, the country could comfortably afford to get back to
work. If in spite of all, the Wage Subsidy (or outright Citizen's
Income) scheme is dismissed as too much out of line with accepted
thinking, then society still has a decision. The poor, al Jesus
said, are always with us. In addition the unemployed are also
with us. Full employemnt in its classic sense is a thing of the
past. It is not sustainable to carry on as we are, grudgingly
carrying those for whom we have no economic role in the present
system, giving them a pittance to keep them from starving on condition
that they do no work, and snatching it back if they do find work.
Either Government creates a rational welfare system that works
along the lines outlined above, or Government creates workfare,
work camps and finally extermination camps for those who are superfluous
to current economic requirements, in the manner pioneered by Hitler.
And in case any right wing reader thinks that this is a serious
proposition, let it be said now that such a solution would lead
to exactly the same mayhem and destruction that Hitler caused.
We cannot go down that path; we cannot remain where we are: therefore
we have no option but to go for Citizen's Income by way of Wage