Follow by Email

StatCounter

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The job and a half problem



To get by these days too many people are working crazy long hours. Some have a full time job and work an additional 20 – 30 hours a week. Others have to string together a lot of part time jobs together to make one living wage. I talked to one lady recently who was working 8 part time jobs.

The inability to make a living with a normal 40 hour job is taking its toll on society. Life used to be more than just work. People had hobbies, spent time with family, participated in social activities, engaged in the political arena, and did charitable work. On a personal level I saw it in the fire service. Our department had both full and on-call firefighters. When the good local jobs went away, so did the volunteers. They couldn't afford the time to contribute to the safety of their community.

Once there was time for people to think -big blocks of uninterrupted time with no e-mail and cell phones to break one's concentration. That level of peace and quiet is so rare today that it's considered strange and weird behavior. Forget about saying you are taking time to nurture your spiritual life. That's too radical.

When two people are working 60 hour weeks, they are basically doing the full time work of a third person. That's great for business, not much good for anyone else.

It's going to get worse. Business likes getting a worker and half for every worker, but there is something they like even better -no workers. More and more jobs are being automated. That way all the profit from the robot's labor goes back to the owner. That's a huge incentive. People's wages can only be reduced so far. When they can't make enough money to live on it's not worth going to work.

There are good arguments for everyone to have a basic guaranteed income. If all manufacturing is being done by machines and without paid workers, who's going to buy those products? A guaranteed income would allow people to live. Of course, most would want to do some sort of work. Imagine the creativity that could be unleashed if people had the time to explore their ideas and not worry about starving to death.

Maybe a fair number of people would do absolutely nothing but drink beer all day. So what? There are plenty of people who do that now.

We have some anecdotal information about places that pay a living minimum wage. Some people keep working all those crazy hours but now they can save to buy a house. Others cut back on their hours to spend more time with their families. A few people return to doing art. Some find they have the time to go to college. Those are all good outcomes. Life is richer and more interesting.

Unbridled Capitalism is very good at concentrating wealth at the top. That never ends well in the long run. Problems arise when the good of the citizens are no longer considered.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. I tend to agree with the saying that capitalism isn't the ideal system, it's only the best we have so far. The problem, I fear, is that no other system allows for the flaws of man. I think one problem with the current economy is that we haven't yet learned the difference between needs and wants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A system that first took care of everyone's needs would be way ahead of what we have now.

      To me it might be some form of modified capitalism -we know communism does not work.

      Delete
  2. I see part of this in a different light here in my state , Nebraska, We currently have the lowest unemployment rate in the country at under 2.6 %. Our problem is not that things are automated a good chunk of that can't happen here. What our problem is here is the complete lack of qualified people in almost any skill or aptitude or even basic job sense. So much is not being taught anymore that we are killing ourselves, liberal arts is for idiots it gets you nothing, learn welding, electrical or plumbing or anything else that is a real honest hard days work and you would be set but far too many people just want to slide into something easy or non thinking and therefore they get a crap wage and try to live off it. Fast food, grocery bagging or your local 7/11 is not a career, its a part time job for a kid in school not an adult career choice, get educated in a proper field and you will never have a problem finding a job. Out here again its not that jobs are not available its that too many people would rather take the easy way out and live off of big sugar daddy .Gov than work an honest job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liberal arts can be part of a well rounded education, but not to the exclusion of more practical skills. It's nice to have both and plumbing knowledge may pay the bills while you are enjoying art history.

      Delete
  3. Six, you are so right about this topic. And Scott, you also are spot on. We need the old fashion Industrial Arts Program back in school so kids have at least an understanding of the many needed skills used in our society today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was able to take both college prep classes and shop class and was better for it.

      Right now the country could really use more solar electric installers.

      Delete
  4. nothing intelligent will happen unless you invest the time at the local grassroot to make it happen

    such as promoting a "robot free" work zone might be a start

    meanwhile it still slides to hell the nation at large

    Wildflower

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm throwing some ideas out there there for consideration when the next big economic shake out happens. Might have to rebuilt this economy from scratch one day.

      Delete
  5. Well, I'd just be concerned about where the money would come from to pay these folks. I already get soaked out of more than 35% of my income each year in gas tax, federal income tax, vehicle tax, sales tax, property tax, school tax, etc. Honest to God, I can't afford to pay any more taxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are paying way too much now. Too much of what you pay goes to big business instead of the little guy. After all, they have the best politicians money can buy.

      Delete
  6. My hubs worked grocery retail for most of his life the powers that be decided no one deserved time off for anything and that people were there to serve their greed. He retired and has never regretted one dadblasted day, he doesn't even go into grocery stores I get up early ride to the store I like do my shopping he comes to get me they let me use their phones I don't own a cell phone whatsoever, they don't seem to mind
    at all, I ride home, he puts the stuff in the fridge and freezer and leaves the rest in our spare bedroom for me to sort out, I take him to the movies and we call it a day..I worked like hell at a federal job the day they said no weekends and no this and that I retired from that you know what..Most places don't care if you work to death and we will either live with the $ we get from our pensions and social security and some savings or we will be living in a tent on land owned by a long distant relative and that will be it..Kids today are expected to put in 100 of hours of work for little pay, how can they ever marry and have anykind of family I mean really, we only had one child she is single and works but takes it easy and comes out to be with us and vacation and she is happy, no stress and no baloney, she treats us well and we love her dearly, human beings are more important than money,fame or anything..But most companies don't think so at all! Happy fathers day we are going to the coast to escape the heat a teeny tiny cabin with friends a big ole fire and food from the sea..we are happy, we even take our 3 kitty cats they love to ride in their sweet carriers and are inside kitteh cats, the cabin is perfect for them and everyone loves on them a lot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you finally escaped the system. Hope you have many long and happy years to enjoy it.

      Delete