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Colander's Post


edited by David Colander

Excerpt from "Foreword"

"In the current political and economic climate one cannot be optimistic about the prospects of reforms and innovations to diminish the inflatory risk of full employment. When the sun is shining no one cares to fix the leaky roof. Both inflation and unemployment are lower than they were early in the 1980s. Their relative improvement blinds the nation to the fact than on both counts we did much better in the 1950s and 1960s. Certainly we will never have effective incomes policies without presidential leadership of the highest order, and we cannot expect such a commitment in the present ideological mood of the country
What is most disheartening is that the labor movement, which has the most to gain from full employment, has still learned nothing from the macroeconomic disappointments of the last fifteen years. Like business managers, labor leaders and their economists continue to discuss incomes policies myoptically, in terms of burdens and sacrifices and their distribution. The larger picture is not one of sacrifice; from a national viewpoint there are immense gains to be achieved. Economy-wide restraints on nominal wages and prices will make nobody worse off. Labor will be better off because there will be more jobs.
This volume will be a helpful contribution to the public policy debate, especially if it attracts more economists to this important and challenging subject. The essays here collected cover the major proposals now on the table, specifically TIP and MAP. History tells us that intellectual, ideological, and political fashions change. The cruel unemployment/ inflation dilemma is not going to disappear. Those who regard its resolution as the basic economic problem of modern capitalism must be ready with concrete remedies when the need and opportunity arise."

? James Tobin
Yale University
July 19, 1985