Rio, June 03, 2008
On May 9th and 10th of 2008, the Zero Unemployment Institute, in cooperation with the global network of Economists for Full Employment (EFE), held the first Citizen City International Symposium on Employer of Last Resort, sponsored by the National Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and by the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy. During the meeting the expertise of policy advisors, researchers, government officials, and members of civil society organizations were brought together so as to promote a much needed dialogue in this policy area.
The purpose of the Symposium was to document the significance of Employer of Last Resort and employment guarantee policies for economic and social policy making. In the meeting experiences with job guarantee programs from around the world, with an emphasis on India, South Africa, and Argentina, were discussed and evaluated. The exchange of ideas and knowledge about existing job guarantee programs around the world will hopefully contribute to current efforts of Brazilian academics and policy makers to develop a job guarantee program to be implemented in Brazil.
At the Symposium, the Citizen City Job Guarantee proposal for Brazil was officially presented. Having benefited from the expositions of job guarantee programs successfully implemented in Argentina, South Africa, and India, the job of generating political support for a job guarantee scheme to be implemented in Brazil has been made significantly easier for proponents of the program. At the Symposium, important members of the Brazilian federal government (including the Vice President José Alencar and the president of BNDES Luciano Coutinho) gave enthusiastic statements supporting the initiative of implementing a job guarantee program in Brazil.
Also very important was the opportunity for leaderships from the “favelas” of the city of Rio de Janeiro to ask questions and exchange ideas about job guarantee schemes with international academics and policy makers. Since the proposed Citizen City Job Guarantee Program is aimed directly at reducing the social hardships faced by the Brazilian slums, it will have a much greater chance of being implemented by the Brazilian government if there is very strong popular support for it coming from these communities. The participation of some of the leaders of the poorer communities of Rio de Janeiro in the Symposium has given the growing popular mobilization supporting policies specifically targeted at reducing the chronic Brazilian unemployment much needed momentum.
The increased sympathy for job guarantee schemes demonstrated by Brazilian policy makers and the strengthened popular support generated by the Symposium may prove fundamental to the successful implementation of a Brazilian job guarantee program in the near future.
In the name of all organizers of the first Citizen City International Symposium on Employer of Last Resort, we thank all participants for having helped us produce what we believe to have been a very successful meeting and for having helped us initiate a sequence of events that we believe will lead to the implementation of the Citizen City program in Brazil, the first Brazilian experience with a true job guarantee program.
Daniel Negreiros Conceição
Coordinator of the Citizen City International Symposium on Employer of Last Resort
Jose Carlos de Assis
Coordinator of the Citizen City International Symposium on Employer of Last Resort and
President of the Brazilian Institute for Full Employment
Exmo Sr. José Alencar, Vice President of Brazil
Luciano Coutinho, president of BNDES
Senator Marcelo Crivella, president of the Congressional Front for Full Employment
Exmo Sr. José Alencar, Vice President of Brazil (15 min)
Luciano Coutinho, president of BNDES (10 min)
International Experiences with Job Guarantee Programs
Rania Antonopoulos, Levy Institute, EFE coordinator: “ELR: Recent Results in Job Generation and Poverty Reduction” (25 min)
Daniel Kostzer, UNDP–Argentina: “The Jefes del Jogar Program: The Argentinean Experience with Job Guarantee” (25 min)
Maikel R. Lieuw-Kie-Song, South African Department of Public Works: “The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP): The South African Experience”
Santosh Mehrotra, Planning Commission for Rural Development: “The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA): The Indian Experience” (25 min)
Helena Maria Martins Lastres, BNDES: “Lessons from the International Experiences with ELR (II)” (15 min)
The Citizen City Program: a proposed ELR program for Brazil
Elvio Lima Gaspar, Director of Social Affairs - BNDES (Session Coordinator)
Ezequiel Souza do Nascimento, Secretary of Public Policies for the Ministry of Labor: “The Citizen City Program for Brazil” (30 min)
Clemente Ganz Lúcio, DIEESE (15 min)
Maria José do Nascimento Lopes/Tatá, ADE (15 min)
Third Panel (18:00 to 21:20)
Internal and External conditions for implementing ELR
Luiz Fernando de Paula, UERJ: “The Revival of Keynesianism in Emergent Countries—The Case of Brazil” (25 min)
Fernando Cardim, UFRJ: “Full Employment Policies and Capital Control”
Kate Philips, Second Economy Strategy Project of South Africa: “Let’s Get to Work: Background and Rationale” (25 min)
Irwin Friedman, Health Systems Trust: “Using Demand Based Policies for Community Development: The Political and Institutional Challenges Faced by ELR Proponents” (25 min)
First Panel (10:00 to 13:30)
The Theory of Full Employment Policies
Prof. João Moderno, President of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy (Session Coordinator)
Prof. José Carlos de Assis, President of the Zero Unemployment Institute
Jan Kregel, Levy Institute and University of Missouri-Kansas City: “Employer of Last Resort Programs as a Development Strategy in a Globalized World” (30 min)
L. Randall Wray, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Levy Institute: “Macroeconomic Stabilization through ELR: Feasible and Desirable” (30 min)
José Carlos de Assis (UEPB, BNDES, Zero Unemployment Institute): “Full Employment as a Requirement for True Citizenship and the Basis for Expanded Democracy” (30 min)
João Moderno, President of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy