From our perspective here in the early 21st century, the world is full of contradictory trends, projections and predictions. You can’t help but be confounded by the tidal wave of information. At least I can’t.
Here’s a counterintuitive situation: We have graying populations in major countries, and at the same time, widespread unemployment among young workers? How can that be? Continue reading
Economic and political difficulties — especially issues of justice — are on my mind, as always. Guess I’ve been reading too many scary books about economics and the jobs outlook.
What is the outlook? In developing countries, manufacturing that’s always on the move, stalking the cheapest labor. In Western countries, an abundance of jobs for machines, robots and computers; for human beings, not so much. Continue reading
Couldn’t resist posting one more video. A most energetic and inspiring older couple. I guess local food and organic food is possible. All you need is dirt and work.
A most interesting take on sustainable food and local food. I’m particularly fascinated by the part about training young people for meaningful work. A great alternative to college for many, perhaps.
Let’s expose a few lies that Americans hold dear.
“Small businesses create most of the jobs.”
TRUTH: Small businesses are what? SMALL. By definition, small businesses have few employees.
“Small businesses fuel economic growth.”
TRUTH: Most small businesses FAIL within the first five years. Often within the first year. When they close their doors, they create unemployment.
We used to have the upper class, middle class, lower class, working class. Most of us in America pretended that class wasn’t an issue.
Retired folks living on Social Security and pensions were in a separate category. As elders and retired, they were deemed “entitled” (gasp) to the Social Security and pensions they received. They had, after all, worked long and hard to earn those Social Security and pension checks. Continue reading
Mitt Romney is to be commended for finally bringing into focus the economic divide emerging in America.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the Winner’s Camp are people who own and control the wealth. It starts with the very richest, a tiny sliver at the top, less than one percent. This camp also includes the affluent classes, the bankers, accountants, lawyers, executives, innovators and politicians who preside over the modern economy. They provide the brainpower to monitor, preserve, and increase the wealth.
You also find in the Winner’s Camp a large number of people who are crucial for the operation of the economy.
Question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
Answer: YES, Mr. ROMNEY, AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE ARE BETTER OFF THAN WE WERE FOUR YEARS AGO!
Four years ago, we were looking into the abyss. Four years ago, Wall Street and the banks were trembling. Four years ago, the American automobile industry was on the eve of destruction. Every job associated with the auto industry was about to go away. Forever. Four years ago, we were fighting two wars. No end in sight. Or was it three wars? It’s hard to remember. Four years seems like a long time. Hard to remember what it was like. It’s like a nightmare that we woke up from. A catastrophic plane crash that we walked away from. YES, the truth is, we are better off.
Demonstration in Barcelona on January 22 against raising the retirement age (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
People are living longer, therefore the U.S. needs to raise the Social Security retirement age.
The above statement fills me with despair. It can be spoken with a straight face only by a young person or a rich person who doesn’t understand: a) What it feels like to be sixty-something in the 21st century, and b) The place of the American worker in the market for human labor, given the new-normal, flat-world economy.
Full disclosure: I come at this retirement age question from a Baby Boomer point of view. I celebrated (?) a 64th birthday in June. For which I’m grateful. It means I’m one of the survivors. I am now enjoying my 65th summer on the planet Earth, which is one of my favorite planets.
It’s not Armageddon. But it’s not economic recovery. We’re not going to all live happily every after.
We’ll not be returning to the status quo ante 2006. That’s gone forever. The assumption of endless growth and prosperity is over in America. The American Dream of the past half-century is cooked.
What about more jobs, jobs, jobs for American workers, like the politicians pretend they believe? They can’t deliver it. Not going to happen. Glimmers of recovery here and there, maybe; but it will be the exception, not the rule.
Reindustrialization of America? Maybe a little bit, but new industry won’t need factories filled with unskilled workers. Or any kind of workers. Automation, robotization, computerization. All signs point to fewer jobs, not more jobs.
The promise of more jobs and economic recovery is a lie, or at least a mirage. I have to believe that many knowledgeable people in high places are aware of the truth. But they dare not say it out loud. Too many Americans are still in denial.
In order for people to accept the loss of the endless growth and prosperity model, they have to be able to replace it with a substitute. Leaders of government and business have not been able to come up with a substitute. They don’t know what to do except dissemble, and hope for a miracle.
The signs of continuing collapse in the near term and medium term are all around. Here are five of the most important warning signs, Continue reading