“Jobs Have To Be Created”

Quiz question: who said the following words, spoken in an interview in December 2005?

Jobs have to be created in all sectors of our economy. Agriculture still accounts for 60 percent of our labor force, and I believe that we will need a second green revolution to increase production and productivity, and in the process, I hope, we will create more jobs. But essentially over a period of time, our salvation lies in getting people to move out of agriculture. Services today account for 50 percent of our GDP. There are lots of people who tell me that services cannot move far ahead of what’s happening in manufacturing, and that worries me—this imbalance. I feel we have to do a lot more on manufacturing because, ultimately, services respond to what’s happening in the production sector.

So outside agriculture, in manufacturing and services, we must create a lot more jobs. But that also means that we must ensure that our systems of general education and technical education are in line with the job requirements that a more modern manufacturing and a more modern services sector would require. We have to walk on two legs. We have to create conditions in which manufacturing and services—the economy outside agriculture—move and move fast enough. And at the same time the working force that is available must have skills which will fit the kind of jobs which will be in demand. [My emphasis.]

I’ll give you a clue: there is much irony in the answer.

I agree with all of what has been said in the above excerpt, of course. I would add, in fact, that there is only one way in which the government can “create a lot more jobs”: By getting out of the way of private enterprise. Ditto for education.

(My thanks to Sanjeev Naik for emailing me this interview 23 months ago. But don’t expect me to catch up with the rest of my email backlog!)