Skip to comments.When Work Disappears: What do we do with people whose livelihoods are destroyed? (Left waking-up?)
Posted on 06/16/2013 1:38:27 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Paul Krugman has a column today on a topic you don't normally get much of from economists: sympathy for the Luddites. Back in 2001, when I sat in on my last formal economics class, this was about as daring a proposition as "Sympathy for the Devil" was as an album title.
But I have started worrying about what's taking place at the bottom of the economy. In much of the industrial world, it seems to be increasingly difficult for people to earn a decent living without a fairly elite set of skills--or an elite set of credentials that mimic skills, like a BA in English Literature from an Ivy League institution. The ability to earn a decent living, either yourself or as part of a family, is one of the basic criteria for a decent life. (And yes, before you ask: I think trust funds can be just as toxic as lifetime welfare benefits.)
For starters, it is politically difficult to imagine a really large class of people who simply permanently live off the state. The safety net is rooted in human instincts about reciprocal exchange. Of course, it isn't all that reciprocal--the majority of people who are net taxpayers are extremely unlikely to collect much in the way of food stamps, TANF, or even unemployment insurance. Nonetheless, the moral arguments are founded in the premise that these benefits are for emergencies, and anyone can have an emergency. They will lose political support if you have one group of people paying taxes, and a different group of people who can expect to live their entire life on the dole.
Such an arrangement would also be socially toxic....
(Excerpt) Read more at thedailybeast.com ...
And we are about to import another 30 million + of them.
As of now, I personally know of 4 men in my small circle of friends, all aged between 55-60, who have lost their jobs, just a few years after loosing a sizable portion of their retirement savings a few years back. They are slowly beginning to realized they’re never going to find jobs again, even if the economy improves. Among the unemployed are huge numbers of people like these who have been forced into early unfunded retirements.
Gee off shoring perfectly productive and profitable manufacturing off shore was such a good idea. /sarc
The free traders will be here soon to yell at you.
Lobbying Congress to offshore jobs and get more low wage Indians in America sure added to Bill Gates’ pocketbook and now he has the balls to suggest that Americans should shut up about Socialism and cough up more taxes.
To me, he LIED to Congress in stating that there were insufficient people in America to do the work. Lock him up and let him rot awhile.
They will tell us all those laid off line workers have had plenty of time to train as neurosurgeons and software engineers.
Luddite: a member of any of various bands of workers in England (181116) organized to destroy manufacturing machinery, under the belief that its use diminished employment.
Our problem isn’t luddites. It’s a government that makes going into business for oneself almost impossible. Between the IRS, the EPA, OSHA & the rest of the alphabet soup of gov’t agencies, trying to start some kind of enterprise is just too formidable for most people. And since it’s so easy to get on the dole & stay there, why bother?
It isn’t free trade when billions of dollars of R&D are done abroad and the software is imported via the internet without paying import duty.
So far, the only solution anyone seems to have is: Tax the bejeezuz out of anyone who is productive, and give government charity to anyone who is unemployable.
That's a really rotten solution.
But if there is no work for a large percentage of the population, then I just don't know what you do. We can fiddle with tax policy, and we can stop off-shoring, etc. To some extent, that is re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. In a world in which average and below-average tasks are performed by machines, and above-average people have real work -- it starts to look like a free ride for all the average and below-average people is the way to go.
And, as I say, that's a rotten solution.
Yeah, I was going to also say our problem isn’t the Luddites.
It’s the socialists.
The reality is that if you're in your fifties and aren't on the fast track to upper management, you're living on borrowed time. I found this out the hard way.
A Civil War followed by a World War might whittle down the untermensch.
I’m in agreement with you. America also doesn’t have slave labor.
Yep, meanwhile we circle the drain.
I hate to say it, but the Black Death killed more than a third of Europe off in the 14th century, and it sparked enormous economic and cultural growth.
Free traders and Liberals should occupy the same lower levels of a fiery and sulphurous Hell. Expedited delivery, of course.
And. . . when we DO have need to get some of the help we’ve paid in for for decades. . . strangely, we’re not eligible. . .
“For starters, it is politically difficult to imagine a really large class of people who simply permanently live off the state”
She’s kidding, right?