13 December 2011

Questions to which the answer is no

‘if the reallocation of jobs across sectors, and increasingly countries is happening quicker and quicker, due to the exponential growth of technological innovation – then at some point are the productivity gains outweighed by the social damage they do?’
Moussa Haddad, quoted by Duncan Green in an interesting discussion of the new World Development Report on jobs. I'm inclined to think that Duncan is mostly wrong, but in an interesting way. I think he underestimates the insider-outsider problem with labour unions in many developing countries, possibly because of the same rose-tinted view of the history of labour in Britain, which I also succumb to. To be a British leftwinger means to be on the side of unions. But its pretty hard to reconcile the rosy view with the destructive role that teachers unions play in education in India.

He continues...
the team is 100% economists. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are economists (really) and they obviously have to be central to any discussion about jobs. But where are the anthropologists to discuss the deeper cultural and social meaning of work
At which point my eyes glaze over. But don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are anthropologists....

The title of this post borrowed from John Rentoul's meme at the Indepenent


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