As Hamish McRae points out (Business & City, 22 June), Western Europe leads the world in the provision of social benefits and in unemployment. A recent study by Citibank has shown that the two are linked: the greater a government's share of national income, the higher the level of unemployment.
Sadly, the practical barriers to solving the problem are so great that it is likely to be many years before helpful measures are introduced. The main barrier is that the vast majority of the current generation of politicians have spent their working lives talking nonsense on this subject, and their vanity and lack of imagination will ensure that they are an obstinate obstruction to progress.
A problem that could be readily solved is that of inequity. All that is needed is some form of negative income tax, so that a growing inequality of wage costs does not transfer to a growing inequality of income, which has been the US route to job creation. Our present structure of politics in Europe makes a shift to negative income tax unlikely for many years, however. The right wing is uninterested in equity and the left wing uninterested in ideas. May I recommend it, therefore, as a suitable cause for the Independent.
23 JuneReuse content