Proposed: A Full Employment Jam, or Working Conference (3/25/14 Draft)

The following proposal for collaboration is presented for consideration by interested parties. At the moment, no one is working to organize this project. It is my hope that individuals and organizations will eventually emerge to convene a process of the sort envisioned here.

In response to the first draft (see Comments), Seb Paquet suggested that the  co-organizers/facilitators:

create three shared Google Docs: one to clarify intentions and desired outcomes, a second one to write the invitation, and a final one for the event flow proper. You will probably go back and forth between the docs as the vision becomes clear.

In the event flow doc, if you use headers appropriately, you can insert a table of contents at the top to facilitate navigation. You’re certainly able to set this up by yourself, but let me know if you run into issues.

In the flow, don’t forget to enable everyone to introduce themselves meaningfully, to facilitate collaboration.

Some people use ‘Jam’ as a hip substitute for ‘Working Conference’. see e.g. the Global Service Jam and Global Sustainability Jam,

Feel free to utilize any of these ideas that you find useful and/or encourage others to do so. If and when I learn of any such effort, I will spread the word on the “@LivingWageJobs Report” listserv and on Twitter (@LivingWageJobs). Feel free to subscribe and/or follow. Feedback is welcome. If you are interested in joining this collaboration if and when it is initiated, please let me know.


The need for a federal jobs program to achieve full employment is compelling. But no grassroots movement is focused on that goal. One reason may be that there is no consensus among experts, advocates, activists, and think tanks about how best to move in that direction.

The following proposal presents an open, collaborative method for surfacing, clarifying, evaluating, and uniting behind models for federal legislation to achieve full employment. Seb Paquet, an associate of Here Comes Everybody author Clay Shirky, helped to develop this proposal.

The primary intent is not to identify one proposal and then try to build one organization to back it (though that could be the result). Rather the aim is to enable concerned parties to better understand the major, basic options and to facilitate a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of those options. Then, following a national gathering at which these issues would be discussed face-to-face, each participant would choose which option, or options, to back.

If you or anyone you know are interested in this project, I’d like to know about it. If need be, I will put people who are interested in touch with one another. Other than perhaps modifying this proposal occasionally and posting the latest draft here, I do not plan to take further steps to initiate this project myself. However, if a strong, inclusive organizing committee forms to develop it, I might be able to donate several hours a week to assist.

To develop alternative models for a federal jobs program to achieve full employment in the United States as quickly as feasible.

Primary Method:
Invite individuals, informal teams, and organizations to submit one-page outlines of federal legislation to achieve full employment in the United States as quickly as feasible.

Post those proposals online. The organizers of the conference encourage authors of similar proposals (if there are any) to synthesize their proposals.

Convene a national conference to discuss and evaluate those proposals.

Conduct the conference with a variation on Open Space Technology. The proposals are posted on the wall. More options could be proposed by participants at the outset of the conference. The authors of the proposals have a set amount of time to present their proposals at the initial plenary session.

Then the conference breaks down into working groups to discuss and perhaps modify those proposals. Each participant goes to the working group of their choice, or moves between them.

Those groups present their work to the closing plenary, where they are discussed and then evaluated by all of the participants (either with a rating or a ranking).

A virtual conference could take place concurrently so that people could follow along and perhaps participate in that manner.

After the conference, different organizations work together to develop and/or promote the models of their choice.

The whole process and the proceedings of the conference could provide content for a book and a documentary.

This proposal may be amended from time to time. Earlier drafts will be posted as comments below.

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