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245 Statement by Plimsoll

, NEW YORK, 27 October 1949

on 27th October, 1949 (Stenographic Transcript)
I should like, if I might intervene again in this debate, to say something about the amendments that have been presented by the representatives of Pakistan, of India, and of China, and about some of the comments that have been made in support of them by other representatives around this table. Those representatives, I think, have brought out very clearly the importance of one aspect of this question which I referred to in my opening statement - under-employment in countries whose standards of living are very low; that is to say, under-employment particularly in the under-developed countries.

In my original statement I referred to this, and discussed some of the implications of it. The Australian resolution was drawn up in such a way as to cover that particular point. Paragraph 3 in the declaratory part says that a high and stable level of international investment, particularly in the under-developed areas of the world, would contribute materially to the realization of the objectives of the resolution. Then the Australian resolution notes with satisfaction that the Economic and Social Council will study the question of encouraging international investment. In the recommendations, we ask governments to consider their responsibility to promote and maintain full and productive employment, that is to say, not merely that employment should exist for people, but that it should be productive employment. So that, if that paragraph were to be put into effect, it would, I think, take care of under-employment.

But the point which the representatives of Pakistan and India and others have made - and I think it is a valid point in the light of the discussion here - is that perhaps the resolution did not specifically draw attention to the question of under-employment and that there should be something in the resolution giving it greater emphasis and drawing people's attention to the fact that under-employment exists. I am, therefore, prepared to accept some of the amendments, not necessarily in the exact words proposed by those representatives, but some amendment which would indicate and draw attention to the existence of this problem.

[matter omitted]

But there is a further question which has been raised around this table which has been called under-employment, and which, Mr. Chairman, I don't think really is under-employment or unemployment in the sense in which we are speaking, and which I don't think it would be very useful to include in our resolution. I mean the inefficient use of labour. If, for example, the output of a man is not as high as it should be because he has not the requisite training, or because he doesn't have the requisite machinery or implements to assist him, that is something that we should try to overcome. But it is not a form of under-employment or unemployment. It is a different question. And it is a question which we are trying to handle and overcome in our discussion of economic development and of technical assistance. (An increase in international investment, incidentally, would assist that particular problem.) I think we should try and keep the two questions separate and not cover them in one resolution.

[matter omitted]

Now I put this out as a suggestion, and not as a formal amendment - it is something which perhaps the representatives who so properly emphasized the needs of under-developed countries might think of, to meet their position: that we should add to the declaratory part of the statement, something like this: 'Believing that the promotion and maintenance of full employment, and the prevention and remedying of unemployment and under-employment, are needed in all countries, including those which are under-developed, and in all branches of industry, including agriculture as well as manufacturing.'
What we want in this resolution is to make it clear that every country in the world, and every industry, and every occupation, is our concern where unemployment is concerned and under-employment is concerned. We don't want to concentrate exclusively on the highly developed countries or under-developed countries. We want to make sure that none of them is forgotten.

[AA : A1838, 852/11/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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