Robert E. Prasch


On the Political Economy of Youth Unemployment

My presentation opens with a brief survey of the size and scope of the current crisis of mass unemployment, followed by a review of some recent scholarship on the long-term consequences of being young and unemployed over a sustained period. Next, it describes and refutes the two most prominent “enabling myths” put forward by the major political parties of the United States and Western Europe that, collectively, exonerate them from perceiving a need to seriously address the problem. Here, the focus is on (1) the right’s favored solution of “tax cuts conjoined with austerity and wage cutting,” and (2) the center-left’s nostrums about “more education and better training.” I close with an argument in favor of the government serving as the Employer of Last Resort (ELR), with special attention devoted to demonstrating that such a policy is economically viable under current conditions. It is, however, admitted that ELRs face political obstacles in a plutocracy that would be less salient in a democracy.

Part of Dignity and Dollars: The Case of the U.S.



Robert E. Prasch (Middlebury College)

Robert E. Prasch is a professor of economics at Middlebury College where he teaches courses monetary theory and policy, macroeconomics, economic history, and the history of economic thought. He is the author of over 120 academic articles, book chapters, and reviews, along with numerous editorials and interviews in newspapers, radio, and online media, including The Huffington Post, New Economic Perspectives, Translation Exercises, Salon, and Common Dreams. The most recent of his three authored or co-edited books is How Markets Work: Supply, Demand and the ‘Real World’ (Edward Elgar, 2008).

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