The Unemployment Crisis


254 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-1418-X
DDC 331.13'7971




Edited by Brian K. MacLean and Lars Osberg
Reviewed by Dave Bennett

David Bennett is the national director of the Department of Workplace Health, Safety and Environment at the Canadian Labour Congress in Ottawa.


Explanations of chronic unemployment fall somewhere between two
extremes. At one extreme is the theory that unemployment is the result
of structural and technological changes in capitalism involving the
ability to shift money, goods, and production centres (factories and
service industries) across national borders rapidly and at will; thus,
there is a long-term net loss of jobs in industrialized countries. At
the other extreme is the theory that unemployment is the result of the
macroeconomic policies of governments. The contributors to this
collection of articles use comparisons with countries such as France,
Germany, and Japan to argue that Canada’s high unemployment is largely
the result of the fiscal and financial policies of the federal
government— specifically the policies, initiated in 1988, of
eliminating inflation and reducing the federal deficit.

The book has two weaknesses. First, the proposed alternatives to the
“established consensus” of federal policymakers are far less well
articulated than the critical appraisal. Second, some of the articles
are bogged down in statistics that should have been relegated to
appendices. The failure to adapt content to the general reader mars an
otherwise convincing and useful book.


“The Unemployment Crisis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,