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The seminar focuses on the analytical and policy issues related to full employment, social welfare, and equity. These include crossnational perspectives, primarily in other industrialized economies. The purpose is to identify and clarify the more difficult and central intellectual questions which relate to and affect the national commitment and capability to assure full employment, social welfare, and equity over long periods.

Gertrude S. Goldberg

Raúl Carrillo

Vignesh Gaikwad

Meeting Schedule

10/02/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
7:15 PM
Strategies for Economic Justice Advocacy in the Near Term
Raúl Carrillo, Yale University

Mark Paul, Rutgers University

12/04/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
7:15 PM
Breaking the Two-to-One Black-to-White Unemployment Rate
Moderator: Chuck Bell, National Jobs for All Network


From at least as early as the 1960s to today, the Black unemployment rate has been about twice the white unemployment rate. A large, national, subsidized employment program could break this two-to-one, Black-to-white unemployment rate ratio. A subsidized employment program targeting job creation in communities suffering from persistently high rates of joblessness would improve employment prospects for every-one living in such communities. Algernon Austin will discuss the potential of a federal subsidized employment program to reduce the high joblessness among Black Americans and sketch some design features that would make that program more effective in addressing the travesty of Black joblessness.

Discussant: Algernon Austin, Center for Economic and Policy Research

02/05/2024 Canceled
7:15 PM
Philip Harvey, Rutgers Law School, Emeritus; National Jobs for All Coalition/Network


Professor Harvey’s seminar presentation will draw on three papers to make a three-point argument about how advocacy of a job guarantee should be framed. The first piece is a short article published in Dollars and Sense shortly after the Soviet Union began to disintegrate during the summer of 2001. The second is an essay published in the Buffalo Law Review in 2004. The third is an unpublished paper originally presented at a 2016 conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Shortened versions of each paper with links to the originals will be distributed on request before the Seminar. In the first paper Professor Harvey challenges conventional conceptions of the nature of socialism. In the second he challenges disparaging criticism of international human rights law based on the lack of effective legal mechanisms to enforce it. In the third, he challenges the assumption that the definition of full employment applicable to mandates to pursue its achievement, as set forth in international and domestic law, depends on how leading macroeconomists currently define the term. Based on his arguments on these points, Professor Harvey will suggest guidelines for the design and promotion of job guarantee proposals.

03/04/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
7:15 PM
The Economics of Building a Better Democracy
Erica Smalley, Jobs with Justice


In the wake of the pandemic, workers across the economy had the most bargaining power they’ve had in decades and demonstrated a demand for better quality jobs. But how have workers harnessed their power in the years since, and what can this and other recent worker struggles tell us about how we must evolve our ideas about collective bargaining and direct action?

In this presentation, Smiley and Gupta will explore case studies and theories around collective bargaining in the workforce, focusing heavily on dismantling white supremacy and gender discrimination culture in the labor force and in approaches to building worker power.

Sarita Gupta, US Programs, Ford Foundation

04/08/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
7:15 PM
Green Jobs and a Just Transition from Fossil Fuel
Vivian Price, California State University, Dominguez Hills


The transition to a green economy offers the prospect of massive job creation, with government incentivizing the shift to renewable energy and sustainability in major sectors such as construction and manufacturing. However, Western economies are largely built on a fossil fuel model and driven by market forces that ignore negative externalities to communities and workers. Vivian Price will discuss the push for a just transition to a green economy and offer a critical examination of several state-level transition efforts and the recent UAW strike. Professor Price will show her short doc, Talking Climate, Talking Union, a film that portrays an international conversation on just transition from the perspective of oil workers.