Something happened during the economic downturn/mini-depression/recession (whatever you want to call it).
I made the observation several years ago that even as the economy recovered, a lot of the lost jobs would not be coming back, and this was basically because businesses had adjusted and had learned to live without many of those jobs.
They did this by various means: automating tasks that formerly had been done by employees, by wringing more work out of the employees they kept, and by outsourcing labor to third world countries.
What to do with these people for whom there is no place in the economy. Should we just set them adrift without a thought or, in today's economy, has being unemployed become their role in the economy.
In other words, we need not to need them, so hasn't being unemployed become a kind of job? And rather than paying them for a limited period of time on the assumption they will use that time to find work, shouldn't we face reality and pay them to do what we need them to do?
Is it time to start thinking in terms of a more robust form of socialism?
According to Mr. Romney: "Corporations are people too."
What wuz I thinkin'.....
Well, in all fairness, there are ways of interpreting that statement: 1) corporations consist of their investors or 2) corporations are their employees.
I was able to avoid unemployment for 20 years by taking a job no one else wanted (low pay, no benefits, on call 24/7 365 days a year) It wasn't that I didn't have skills (lic. prof. counselor, computer programmer, statistician) it was that I was over 40, obese, and had health issues. Fortunately, my wife had a good job with great benefits. I stuck it out until the agency lost funding, fortunately on my 62nd birthday so I could take early retirement. I don't know how most unemployed people get by, but my heart goes out to them
"Is it time to start thinking in terms of a more robust form of socialism?"
Good one, Unseen. I didn't have you pegged for such a position.
"As a result of the recession, there are fewer jobs out there."
I sorta disagree. It's not the recession. I feel that the nature of employment, the nature of business has changed permanently. Outsourcing can be addressed as can the erosion of workers rights. That would fix a lot of the problems, but automation, I believe the largest cause of unemployment, is here to stay. I hear officials gleefully projecting that new jobs will just pop up, but I consider that to be head-in-the-sand. Civilization has reached a point where we need fewer jobs done by people. This, to me, sounds like a good thing, but government has to make some pretty drastic changes.
The Labour Government in NZ took steps in the right direction a decade ago by delivering huge subsidies to the arts. Just about anyone could call himself an artist and get paid for his contribution. Unfortunately the Right has now taken back the reins of government and, as a results Big Corp is thriving while the plight of workers deepens.
I just like to get a good discussion going, and keep it going. Don't count on understanding my personal views from my posts.
On Fareed Zakaria's Sunday morning show on CNN today, he had an author on who has written a book about the second machine revolution. The first revolution replaced human muscle power with machine power. The second revolution is replacing human mental power with machine power. He said that until about 20 years ago it was assumed that you needed a human to operate and control a machine. Now, more and more we have machines that monitor themselves or other machines.
Humans are getting jobs involving less responsibility in addition to less skill. Naturally, with the human being devalued, salaries are going down.
Consider tax preparation (the example used on the aforementioned show). More and more people are doing taxes either by buying software like TaxAct and doing it on their home computer/laptop or are simply doing it online. This software, it was asserted, actually makes fewer errors than an H&R Block tax consultant, and costs way less.
Another example: If I want to have a website to market my widgets, I can do it myself at WIX.com for free. And if I supply my own artwork and photography, users may never know it's an "off a cookie cutter" site.
The human is being devalued by having responsibilities taken away and by relying upon automation rather than skill.
Someday, most of the "real" jobs involving human skills may be in the creative fields: original writing, art, and musical composition. The rest may be mostly upper management jobs. This is how the middle class is devolving into the lower class except for a few lucky ones who move into upper level management positions. Even the classic service jobs are being automated. Wait staff in restaurants being replaced with iPads or terminals; checking in at a video kiosk at the airport is another example.
That's a pretty tall order.
I'd say most "visionary" thought in terms of new jobs takes place where there are no constraints - illegal and semi-legal activities. Starving people will take from their neighbours to feed their families. But once this mindset becomes predominant (the further we digress back into survival of the fittest), more people see these activities as legitimate pursuits.
I'd rather have the government steer the "project" of occupying people's time constructively - at least until the public mindset towards productivity change. Art is a good starting place.
True visionaries are, first of all, judged in retrospect. Later on, we see that they were visionary.
They are also rare. You know: Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, etc.