The years of the great depression, the symbols of economic failure were the long line of people queuing up at Soup kitchens, and growing shanty towns for the homeless. This was the result of a great economic change.
Today, we are also living in the crossroads of great economic change, a change that is transforming existing economies that should eventually lead to a more sustainable New Economy.
The ultimate cost of this change could be the impoverishment of millions, who are adjusting to the end of the old economy, into the first months of our economic transformation. Creating employment could be the key to reducing poverty, whilst creating hope.
Communities hit hard by the current economic crisis, may need to resort to self-help tactics. This could mean, setting up community food banks, encouraging volunteers to seek out the worst effected by this crisis, and encouraging clothes and medicine collections. That can be distributed to those suffering the most.
Governments may find themselves short of funds in the long term, and may have to cut or even stop certain pre-crisis benefits to balance budgets. One way our governments may choose to help the worst affected, is to offer tax holidays for low paid workers, New deal business start up schemes, and create temporary community housing schemes in empty government owned reprocessed properties at reduced rents.
Governments could encourage self-employment by sponsoring community action groups, and slashing taxes and cutting down on restrictive bureaucratic practices to anyone waiting for help.
Some jobs in the old pre-crisis economy are now obsolete, pin-pointing the unemployed who did these jobs, and now need re-training for jobs that exist in the current economy, could cut poverty levels by their millions. Some current Governments acknowledge that unemployment levels still exceed job vacancies in many Countries. Re-training and re-location schemes could reduce the level of unemployed, whilst filling these current vacancies.
How cash-strapped Governments pay for repairing existing infrastructure projects is a major question. However in the 1930s, the New Deal did offer employment to millions who were otherwise facing destitution and long term unemployment.
Infrastructural projects cooperating with localized industry, is a double win-win situation in the short term. Local industries employ people for these projects, whilst governments fund these projects, in return taxes from these Industries, and employees pay for the projects. This may stimulate local economies, and re-build communities worse effected by this current crisis.
If General Motors or Ford were offered a Green Grant, to change their policy of manufacturing inefficient gasoline driven cars, towards Green cars. Then both companies could reinvent themselves, offer employment during the current economic transformation, and emerge as a rising star in the new economy.
Green Grants may not be cash incentives, they could be in the form of reduced taxes, promises of future business, and even untaxed community led programs.
To offset the loss of taxes, in the case of petrol driven cars, high taxes could be imposed on less fuel efficient cars, whilst lowering taxation levels on more ‘greener” cars.
In the old pre-crisis Economy, we were encouraged to look at labor savings, rather then encourage employment. Now in a temporary era of unemployment, we need to focus on labor creating ideas, rather then the old idea of labor saving.Reducing the dependency on our Governments to supply unemployment benefits whilst creating new short-term unemployment could make economic sense, especially as developed economies could face financial restraints.
Encouraging self-learning rather then forced learning, through community centers, and public libraries could train individuals to meet the future. People could be encouraged to visit these centers, by opening them up, supplying voluntary counselors and even paying part-time trainers.
Labor creation is better than labor saving, community self-help groups can take the pressure off governments to provide, lowering unemployment benefits, whilst re-training and offering employment alternatives creates opportunity. Offering incentives in terms of business, through taxation policies leads to building new industries, but also reinventing the old. Thus reducing the chances of meeting the New Economy in a weakened state, but rather in a healthier more viable state, ready for the future.