Enterprise zones/MMM

cdavidson at igc.apc.org cdavidson at igc.apc.org
Sat Oct 21 13:59:58 MDT 1995


I'm curious.  Do the opponents of enterprise zones and Black
capitalism support a demand of the unemployed for jobs?  Maybe I'm
missing something, but apart from seizing state power and
establishing the d of the p, the only way I know to create more real
jobs is to expand business.  In every factory I've worked in, more
workers were hired when more orders came in or new products were
launched.  So a demand for jobs clearly implies a demand for
government to do things to encourage the expansion of business.

Now payrolls can be expanded in a number of ways.  Existing big
businesses can get the new orders and thus expand their payrolls. Or
small businesses can get the ability to get more orders and grow. Or
some combination of both.  Now if we think it's a good idea and a
progressive demand  for the unemployed workers to be employed, ie,
for businesses to be able to hire more people, then the question arises,
which businesses?  Do we care at all? Do we want all to grow evenly?
Or do we want some to grow more than others? Specifically, are we
most interested in seeing businesses grow in those areas were the
greatest number of unemployed workers can get access to them most
easily?  Do we want to see the expanding market and its new jobs only
go to white-owned business?  Or or new Black businesses as well?

Like it or not, once you get to this point, you're discussing enterprise
zones. The only questions remaining  are their features and character.

Now some people might say they don't care about creating new jobs;
instead they might just want to divide the existing work up among
more people.  The 30 hours work for forty hours pay demand is the classic
example of this.  But again, in every factory I've worked in, if the
employer had to pay 40 for 30, he would go broke quick unless he also
raised his prices.  Since 30 for 40 would apply across the board, I
assume it would lead to a general rise in prices, which means the
workers would have to work longer to get the same amount of goods as
before, and, sooner or later, we're back to square one again.

Here's my point:  the demand for jobs amounts to the same thing as
the demand to expand existing payrolls or start new businesses with
new payrolls. We shouldn't say one is progressive and the other is
reactionary.  It makes no sense at all to demand jobs for the inner
city poor and then turn around and attack Jesse Jackson or the NOI
for wanting to create Black businesses that hire Blacks. Everyone
knows that jobs create profits. If you're for more jobs, but against
more Black owners, then it sounds like you want all those profits to
go just to white owned businesses.  Some people may not care, but I
think its is both morally wrong and politically foolish to take such a stand.

In making these points, I should say that all these reforms have
their limitations.  While I support the fight for jobs and other
structural reforms, I think the more strategic solution lies in the
direction of a guaranteed annual minimum income or negative income tax.
With the information revolution, I think the net number of jobs is in decline.
 In any case, let's look a little beyond the immediacy of slogans and
demands,  and try to see what they mean in practice.

Carl Davidson, Chicago.


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