If over the past three decades the United States had deliberately set out to create unemployment, it could hardly have done a more thorough job. The sources of the problem lie in our immigration policy, foreign trade policy, the failure to deal with rising productivity, and our reliance on public and private debt. I will suggest specific solutions. They require a fundamental change in our national thinking to recognize that go-go economic growth is no longer possible at this stage in history.
Our present unemployment problem is not transitory, and it is not confined to the United States. It is much more intense in many countries, particularly the poorest ones, and that in turn will lead to more intense migratory pressures. The more prosperous countries – not just the United States – will need the discipline to match their populations and their policies to their job opportunities, their resources and their food supply. They will need to develop and enforce effective controls over migration, trade and debt to survive amidst unprecedented challenges.