Today’s Obsession: Making a Living

Posted inObsessions
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An abandonded Infiniti dealership

An abandonded Infiniti dealership from Flickr member Emilio Labrador

Interesting article looking at the nature of this recession and the resulting work over at Mother Jones, which naturally has a bit of a left-lean to it. Essentially, the recession in other countries has allowed rehiring, but not in the United States. There’s a matching article at the Atlantic as of yesterday which posits that the recession is structural (meaning it’s an artifact of a flaw in the way our economy is constructed) versus cyclical (meaning it’s a result of ebbs and flows in money circulation). I’m inclined to agree with the idea that the recession is a structural problem. Having been working since two recessions ago, I’ve seen more and more people laid off, never to find a job again.

Basically, what I think is happening is that we’re in a lull between two very different types of economies: manufacturing-based and information-based. For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the U.S. Economy was based on an ever-increasing manufacturing basis as our society grew.

But now, a perfect storm of events and ideas is changing that. Now, we have the internet systematically destroying concrete objects. We have increasingly complex pieces of technology (like your smartphone) taking the place of other pieces of tech (like your watch, your alarm clock, your camera, your Sony Walkman, your home phone, and your video camera). We have web-based services like Uber actually attacking established labor unions. And we have a glut of college-educated citizens actively awaiting the next new job with MBAs in hand.