Economic experts put full employment back on agenda

04-Dec-2013

CofFEE Director and CDU Professor of Economics Bill Mitchell will be among the presenters at the Reconstructing a Full Employment Narrative conference in Newcastle

CofFEE Director and CDU Professor of Economics Bill Mitchell will be among the presenters at the Reconstructing a Full Employment Narrative conference in Newcastle


Top economists will gather in Newcastle this week to discuss the legacy of higher unemployment and the need for true full employment in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), a joint centre with Charles Darwin University and the University of Newcastle, will host the Reconstructing a Full Employment Narrative conference, which will discuss the current drive for fiscal austerity in many nations.

Gold Walkley award-winning Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy will give an address, entitled “Economics and the Media”, which will explore how the media frames, debates and influences the way the public considers complex issues.

CofFEE Director and CDU Professor of Economics Bill Mitchell said conservative framing could lead the public to think budget deficits were bad when, in fact, they supported economic activity and employment.

“Framing can lead us to accept economics’ myths as truths which subsequently can undermine our own welfare,” Professor Mitchell said. “The current fiscal austerity trend with rising mass unemployment is an example of this.

“When the private sector desires to save, deficits are essential to maintain strong economic growth.”

Professor Mitchell said the Australian Government could never run out of money and should run deficits large enough to allow the private sector to save and for unemployment to be low.

“It is a myth that the government deficit is a problem,” Professor Mitchell said. “The government issues the Australian dollar and has to ensure spending is sufficient to maintain growth and low unemployment.

“There is no basis in economics for the government trying to run a surplus when growth is declining.

“With the current slowdown in growth and rising unemployment, we can conclude the deficit is too low.”

Other topics will include long-term youth unemployment, Indigenous employment, homelessness and flexible labour markets.

The conference will be held from 4 – 5 December on Level 4, University House, University of Newcastle city campus.

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