In December 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor classified 12.2 million persons as officially unemployed. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Almost 8 million folks were working part time involuntarily and another 6.8 million had simply stopped looking for work. Neither of these latter two groups--almost 27 million people--is included in the official count of the unemployed released on the first Friday of every month. Statistics like these almost make you want to throw your hands up and scream, There's no way out!
But in A Way Out of No Way: The Economic Prerequisites of the Beloved Community, Michael Greene argues that's the last thing we ought to do. Rather than sink into a deep hole of hopelessness, the author contends that we should return to the economic thought of Martin Luther King Jr. and to the conception of full employment that constitutes the economic bedrock of his Beloved Community. Greene contends that the full employment/right-to-work agenda that King fought and died for is exactly what's needed to put an end to the twin problems of involuntary joblessness and poverty. What's more, and contrary to popular opinion, Greene argues that realizing King's full employment/right-to-work agenda is fiscally feasible and can even be done without appreciably adding to the nation's debt. More generally, the author contends that a King-like response to joblessness and poverty is a route that leads to a way out of no way.