21 November 2019

The Nation has published a long excerpt from A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal: “[F]rankly, there are some jobs that ought to be crowded out. … A job guarantee would give workers options to leave socially and environmentally harmful jobs, and would strengthen the position of workers organizing in the private sector. … Shitty work also takes a toll on your soul. The great modernist writer Virginia Woolf once made a living from odd jobs of the kind then available to women… It was dull work, and usually poorly paid. ‘What still remains with me,’ she recalled afterward, ‘was the poison of fear and bitterness which those days bred in me.’ Then she inherited £500 a year from an aunt who fell off a horse in Bombay. It wasn’t a fortune—about $40,000 today, a little more than the median individual income. But it set her free. ‘Watch in the spring sunshine,’ she wrote, ‘the stockbroker and the great barrister going indoors to make money and more money and more money when it is a fact that five hundred pounds a year will keep one alive in the sunshine.’ A colonial inheritance isn’t something to aspire to. But the freedom Woolf experienced should be available to all — and that’s what a job guarantee can offer.'”