Attend Spring Meetings on Development topics from Apr 17-21. Comment and engage with experts. Calendar of Events

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Submitted by Anonymous on
Agree - investment in infrastructure is a must. There are many different ways that investment in infrastructure can be spent - I am thinking particularly of investment in infrastructure that is labour intensive - ie, the spending seeks to maximise job creation. Maximising the labour intensiveness of infrastructure spending has not exactly been at the forefront of public debate, but if stimulus is spend in this way, the impact of infrastructure expenditure can be far broader reaching and sustainable (both in terms of employment duration and quality of asset). There is also a diverse range of infrastructure investment - both physical, social and environmental - that can be included in stimulus packages. But, it will be no good if the budget is not spent labour intensively. If infrastructure investment is to be spent labour intensively, 30 to 40 per cent should be spent on employment that is accessible to those poverty (i.e., unskilled). The cost per job that is created should be monitored closely. Many commentators have suggested that a greater portion of the stimulus funds should be directed towards cash transfers, in order to stimulate demand and alleviate poverty. I would stress that this creates a situation in which need for consumption can be fulfilled, but aspirations for employment and the intrinsic social and capacity building role of participating in paid work is undervalued. Further, consider what we get from employment - money, social contact, daily structure, activity, stimulation, identity… Public works on a massive scale can be mobilised relatively quickly; one can consider the Jefes de Hogar programme from Argentina. In the interim social transfers can and should address administrative or capacity constraints related to organising employment, but the priority should lay with inclusion through employment. Warmest thanks to the readers who’ve taken the time to read and comment on my piece.