Guaranteed Income or Employment

Economic Rights for the 21st Century

Mar 8, 2013


This seminar focuses on the social, political and economic justifications for securing a legal right to meaningful work and basic material wellbeing, as well as historical examples of direct public employment programs from various nations including the United States, Argentina and India. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Should individuals have a legal right to work and/or basic material wellbeing?
  • Can we afford a job or income guarantee?
  • What would a job or income guarantee look like?
  • What can we learn from direct employment programs from the past and abroad?


  • ROHAN GREY: Seminar Introduction & Opening Moderator Remarks 0:00
  • GERTRUDE SCHAFFNER GOLDBERG: Introductory Remarks – Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg 0:50
  • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA: Speaker 1 – Pavlina Tcherneva 3:10
    • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA: JG – Outline and Stylized Facts 3:40
    • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA: Historical examples of direct job creation programs – Jefes Program 16:09
      • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA: JG – What it is, and what it is not 24:37
  • GERTRUDE SCHAFFNER GOLDBERG: Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg 26:52
  • PHILIP T. HARVEY: Speaker 2 – Philip T. Harvey 31:23
    • PHILIP T. HARVEY: Legal basis of Right to Work and Right to Income Claims 32:35
    • PHILIP T. HARVEY: Direct Job Creation Programs 48:11
      • PHILIP T. HARVEY: Should we worry about sources of funding? 1:06:04
    • PHILIP T. HARVEY: The Basic Income Alternative 1:12:09
  • GERTRUDE SCHAFFNER GOLDBERG: Question – From an enunciated to an enforcable human right to employment – where are we? 1:17:21
    • PHILIP T. HARVEY : Answer – Philip T. Harvey 1:20:59
    • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA : Answer – Pavlina Tcherneva 1:25:39
  • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA: Response to Philip Harvey – 1:27:10
  • GERTRUDE SCHAFFNER GOLDBERG: Question – Are progressives alone enough to win this fight? 1:31:17
    • PHILIP T. HARVEY : Answer – Philip T. Harvey 1:34:04
  • (AUDIENCE MEMBER): Question – Do unique cultural factors contribute to the diffuculty of establishing full employment? 1:36:31
    • GERTRUDE SCHAFFNER GOLDBERG: Answer – Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg 1:37:20
  • (AUDIENCE MEMBER): Question – Is there a lack of democratic responsiveness at the state and federal level? 1:39:20
  • ROHAN GREY: Question – Is the “language of rights” narrative obscured in technical debates over economics? 1:45:59
    • PHILIP T. HARVEY: Answer – Philip T. Harvey 1:47:25
  • (AUDIENCE MEMBER): Question – Why did the Jefes program end? Where there any interviews with womens’ husbands in the program? 1:49:20
    • PAVLINA TCHERNEVA: Answer – Pavlina Tcherneva 1:50:06


Pavlina Tcherneva
Associate Professor of Economics & Economics Department Director
Bard College
Philip T. Harvey
Professor of Law and Economics
Rutgers School of Law-Camden
Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg
Professor of Social Policy
Adelphi University of Social Work

Core Readings

Full Employment Is The Best Social Program

Konzcal, Mike Full Employment Is the Best Social Program. American Prospect, 2012.

Putting Full Employment At The Center Of A New Left-Wing Strategy

Maisano, Chris Putting full employment at the center of a new left-wing strategy. Jacobin, 2012.

Political Aspects Of Full Employment

Kalecki, Michael. “Political Aspects of Full Employment.” Political Quarterly. 14.4 (1943).

 Political Aspects of Full Employment.pdf

Employment As A Human Right

Harvey, Philip. Employment as a Human Right.” Ed. William Julius Wilson. Sage Publications, 1993.

Full Employment Through Social Entrepreneurship: The Nonprofit Model For Implementing A Job Guarantee

Tcherneva, Pavlina R. Full Employment Through Social Entrepreneurship: The Nonprofit Model for Implementing a Job Guarantee. Policy Note. Levy Economics Institute, 2012.

The Right To Work And Basic Income Guarantees: Competing Or Complementary Goals?

Harvey, Philip. “The Right to Work and Basic Income Guarantees: Competing or Complementary Goals?” Rutgers Journal of Law & Urban Policy. 2.1 (2005).

Institutional Adjustment Planning For Full Employment

Kaboub, Fadhel. “Institutional Adjustment Planning for Full Employment.” Journal of Economic Issues. 41.2 (2007).

 Institutional Adjustment Planning for Full Employment.pdf

Pavlina Tcherneva

Beyond Full Employment: The Employer Of Last Resort As An Institution For Change

Tcherneva, Pavlina R. Beyond Full Employment: The Employer of Last Resort as an Institution for Change. Working Paper 732. Levy Economics Institute, 2012.

Evaluating The Economic And Environmental Viability Of Basic Income And Job Guarantees

Tcherneva, Pavlina R.. Evaluating the Economic and Environmental Viability of Basic Income and Job Guarantees.” Environment and Employment: A Reconciliation. Ed. Philip Lawn. New York: Routledge, 2009.

The Art Of Job Creation: Promises And Problems Of The Argentinian Experience

Tcherneva, Pavlina R. The Art of Job Creation: Promises and Problems of the Argentinian Experience. Center for Full Employment and Price Stability, 2005.

Philip L. Harvey

Learning From The New Deal

Harvey, Philip. “Learning from the New Deal.” Review of Black Political Economy. 39 (2012).

Combating Joblessness: An Analysis Of The Principal Strategies That Have Influenced The Development Of American Employment And Social Welfare Law During The 20th Century

Harvey, Philip. “Combating Joblessness: An Analysis of the Principal Strategies That Have Influenced the Development of American Employment and Social Welfare Law During the 20th Century.” Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law. 21 (2003).

Human Rights And Economic Policy Discourse: Taking Economic Rights Seriously

Harvey, Philip. “Human Rights and Economic Policy Discourse: Taking Economic Rights Seriously.” Columbia Human Rights Law Review. 33 (2002).

Related Materials

Special Issue: The Right To Work And Basic Income

Haagh, Anne-Louise, and Michael Howard. “Special Issue: The Right to Work and Basic Income.” Basic Income Studies. 7.2 (2012).

Historical Amnesia: The Humphrey-Hawkins Act, Full Employment And Employment As A Right

Ginsburg, Helen Lachs. “Historical Amnesia: The Humphrey-Hawkins Act, Full Employment and Employment as a Right.” Review of Black Political Economy. 39.1 (2012).

Strategic And Political Challenges To Large-Scale Federal Job Creation

Goldberg, Gertrude Schaffner. “Strategic and Political Challenges to Large-Scale Federal Job Creation.” Review of Black Political Economy. 39.1 (2012).

Professor Bill Mitchell – The Need For Full Employment

Mitchell, William Professor Bill Mitchell – The need for full employment. William Mitchell, 2012.

Employment Guarantees Are Better Than Income Guarantees

Mitchell, William Employment Guarantees are Better than Income Guarantees., 2011.

The Freedom Budget At 45: Functional Finance And Full Employment

Forstater, Mathew The Freedom Budget at 45: Functional Finance and Full Employment. Working Paper No. 668. Levy Economics Institute, 2011.

Transparency And Accountability In Employment Programmes: The Case Of NREGA In Andhra Pradesh

Burra, Neera Transparency and accountability in employment programmes: the case of NREGA in Andhra Pradesh. Levy Economics Institute, 2010.

Why President Obama Should Care About “Care”: An Effective And Equitable Investment Strategy For Job Creation

Antonopoulos, Rania, et al. Why President Obama Should Care About “Care”: An Effective and Equitable Investment Strategy for Job Creation. Public Policy Brief. Levy Economics Institute, 2010.

Promoting Equality Through An Employment Of Last Resort Policy

Papadimitriou, Dimitri B. Promoting Equality Through an Employment of Last Resort Policy. Working Paper No. 545. Levy Economics Institute, 2008.

Enhancing Livelihood Security Through The National Employment Guarantee Act Toward Effective Implementation Of The Act

Hirway, Indira Enhancing Livelihood Security through the National Employment Guarantee Act Toward Effective Implementation of the Act. Working Paper No. 437. Center For Development Alternatives and Levy Economics Institute, 2006.

Historicizing Government Work Programs: A Spectrum From Workfare To Fair Work

Rose, Nancy E.. Historicizing Government Work Programs: A Spectrum from Workfare to Fair Work.” Center for Full Employment and Price Stability, 2000.

Competing Justifications Of Basic Income

Van Parijs, Phillipe. Competing Justifications of Basic Income.” Arguing for Basic Income: Ethical Foundations for a Radical Reform. New York: Verso, 1992.