The Economic Dimension of Sustainable Labor Market Policy

The economic relevance of low unemployment is considerable. A high employment rate means lower payments for unemployment support, higher tax revenues, higher disposable income, thus more buying power, which leads - if marginal consumption is at least in part regional or national - to higher revenues for companies. It also leads to higher tax revenues for municipalities, thus increasing their budget for infrastructural projects, which may in turn improve their attractiveness for companies. Higher tax revenues also mean higher funds, e.g., for education, which could further intragenerational justice and lead to a long-term improvement of the employment situation, thus contributing to the aspect of intergenerational justice. It must be kept in mind though, that one possible strategy for sustainable development is a policy of non-growth. If this is the case, labor market policy becomes more important as this might lead to job- reduction (Costanza et al. 2012). Its main task would then be the allocation of possibly scarcer jobs, the creation or support of employment in fields that contribute to a sustainable development (e.g., green jobs, cf. subsection 4.4.2) or the support of technological progress and the promotion of possibly following shifts from gainful employment towards individual work, a subsistence economy, and community or educational work (Grunwald, Kopfmuller 2006). For companies it is necessary to understand that in a world that supports sustainable development, sustainability is part of corporate responsibility. A strategic vision, by its definition long-term, must include a consistent workforce (Pagnattaro 2014).

Sustainability in the sense of the social theory of the 19th century means that man should use his qualification and his creativity and his potentials for work, that he should do that self determinedly and that manpower should not be exploited beyond its capacities. Summarized, this is the imagination of a long-term development and use of human resources (Haipeter, Voss-Dahm 2002) which is as valid and relevant for a sustainable development as it has been two centuries ago.

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