10 Reasons Why The Latest Unemployment Numbers Are No Reason To Cheer addresses the numbers of people who have effectively dropped out from the officially recorded labor force, numbers for underemployment, and numbers of people who are employed but struggling with their bills on the wages they are making.
One finds people arriving at similar conclusions in Simplepolitik’s comment section and in the No Reason For Cheer article:
The unique conditions that resulted in a large American middle class have disappeared because American laborers are now in direct competition with people across the planet, many of whom can survive on much lesser wages because of their locally lower costs of living. Employers can be counted on to pay as little for labor as they possibly can.
The natural tendency will be towards an oligarchy of a few rich who control the money and the resources, the natural state of human history while 1945-1990s was a freakish exception to the norm.
I, however, see this as being at odds with all the new technologies that make abundant information and the means of production available to independent private citizens.
If jobs cease to be profitable or reliable for the average person, many will drop out of the game and turn to a gift economy of social favors with their immediate clan or turn to small scale grey market entrepeneurship.
As I discussed in a previous post, Southern Italy’s underworld was born as a reaction to incompetent rulers levying heavy taxation and today it also thrives as a reaction to a horrible economy and high taxes.
If the payoff becomes low enough or jobs are simply unattainable, grey and black markets can surge in importance.
Looking at present trends, I definitely do not see job numbers returning to any 90s status quo.
However, I also see a gradual reduction in the importance of the traditional “job” as people adapt by relying heavily on the internet, tribal support networks, and small businesses.
Jobs suck anyway, so I wonder if in the long term this might actually represent an improvement in overall quality of life for millions of people?