The Post-Work Economy
A permanent dependency class means a citizenry deprived of dignity.
By Mark Steyn
...My colleague Jonah Goldberg notes that the day before the president’s speech on “inequality,” Applebee’s announced that it was introducing computer “menu tablets” to its restaurants. Automated supermarket checkout, 3D printing, driverless vehicles . . . what has the “minimum wage” to do with any of that? To get your minimum wage increased, you first have to have a minimum-wage job.
In my book (which I shall forbear to plug, but is available at Amazon, and with which Jeff Bezos will be happy to drone your aunt this holiday season), I write:
Once upon a time, millions of Americans worked on farms. Then, as agriculture declined, they moved into the factories. When manufacturing was outsourced, they settled into low-paying service jobs or better-paying cubicle jobs — so-called “professional services” often deriving from the ever swelling accounting and legal administration that now attends almost any activity in America. What comes next?
Or, more to the point, what if there is no “next”?
What do millions of people do in a world in which, in Marxian terms, “capital” no longer needs “labor”? America’s liberal elite seem to enjoy having a domestic-servant class on hand, but, unlike the Downton Abbey crowd, are vaguely uncomfortable with having them drawn from the sturdy yokel stock of the village, and thus favor, to a degree only the Saudis can match, importing their maids and pool-boys from a permanent subordinate class of cheap foreign labor. Hence the fetishization of the “undocumented,” soon to be reflected in the multi-million bipartisan amnesty for those willing to do “the jobs Americans won’t do.”
...Consider Vermont. Unlike my own state of New Hampshire, it has a bucolic image: Holsteins, dirt roads, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Ben & Jerry’s, Howard Dean . . . And yet the Green Mountain State has appalling levels of heroin and meth addiction, and the social chaos that follows. Geoffrey Norman began a recent essay in The Weekly Standard with a vignette from a town I know very well — St. Johnsbury, population 7,600, motto “Very Vermont,” the capital of the remote North-East Kingdom hard by the Quebec border and as far from urban pathologies as you can get. Or so you’d think. But on a recent Saturday morning, Norman reports, there were more cars parked at the needle-exchange clinic than at the farmers’ market. In Vermont, there’s no inner-city underclass, because there are no cities, inner or outer; there’s no disadvantaged minorities, because there’s only three blacks and seven Hispanics in the entire state; there’s no nothing. Which is the real problem.
Large numbers of Vermonters have adopted the dysfunctions of the urban underclass for no reason more compelling than that there’s not much else to do. Once upon a time, St. Johnsbury made Fairbanks scales, but now a still handsome town is, as Norman puts it, “hollowed out by the loss of work and purpose.” Their grandparents got up at four in the morning to work the farm and their great-great-great-whatever-parents slogged up the Connecticut River, cleared the land, and built homes and towns and a civilization in the wilderness. And now? A couple of months back, I sat in the café in St. Johnsbury, and overheard a state official and a Chamber of Commerce official discuss enthusiastically how the town could access some federal funds to convert an abandoned building into welfare housing.
“Work” and “purpose” are intimately connected: Researchers at the University of Michigan, for example, found that welfare payments make one unhappier than a modest income honestly earned and used to provide for one’s family. “It drains too much of the life from life,” said Charles Murray in a speech in 2009. “And that statement applies as much to the lives of janitors — even more to the lives of janitors — as it does to the lives of CEOs.” Self-reliance — “work” — is intimately connected to human dignity — “purpose.”...
You might also add when the employer is forced to provide the benefits the government deems necessary, we are entering a very dark period in history thanks to the compassionate left.
Guys, you have to remember who and what you're dealing with.
Moonbats are gripped by magic thinking " This is what I wish the world would be, so therefore it is. "
They can't see more then fifteen minutes into the future, and every time they look into the past, they re-write it to fit their mind set.
They don't see automatic checkouts because don't have the ability to see it. Their every failure is someone else's fault , thus they can not adapt to change and ever fear it.
We learn in military history that no plan remains intact once the battle has started; a wise commander knows this and adjust things as the situation dictates.
The Moonbats are trapped in 1969 and will remain so for years to come.
Last edited by Dan D. Doty; 12-20-2013 at 03:05 PM.
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