20 January 2012

Job Creation Is A Dumb Idea

I hear a lot of noise about something called “job creation”. Something about the conversation doesn’t ring right to me.

It's as if job creation is an act of charity. A company or a government will allow you to work for them, pounding nails into boards, or whatever, in exchange for wages. They won't just give you the money. They require 8 hours of your day in exchange for it. Even though they will only waste your time, you can’t have it. You must trade your time for money. This is supposed to be better than outright charity, for some reason.

They treat all these human beings as if they are worthless, and their time is worthless. I guess a lot of them are. There was this video the other week from Mike Holmes, about the massive and weird shortage of skilled tradesmen. Every week on Hacker News, I see someone saying “my god, do we ever need more software engineers!” And I guess some cotton fields down south are going unpicked, now that they’ve successfully chased out all the mexicans who picked them before, and they can’t convince any of the many unemployed americans in the area to take the jobs.

So why all the job creation talk? It seems like there are jobs, a lot of them. There just aren’t enough useful people. Or maybe the prices aren’t right. Like, those cotton farms. It’s not worth doing that job, paying 40 bucks for the gas just to get out there, work all day in the hot sun, make barely enough to cover the gas, and then another long drive home before you get any time to yourself. But if the cotton farmers paid the workers a living wage, they wouldn’t be able to make a profit. So then what?

  • Go out of business paying better wages. Someone else, someone smarter, will take over the land and make a profit with something else.

  • Charge more for cotton - another way to go out of business, unless everyone else does the same thing. Maybe that’s happening already? I think probably it is.

  • Or limp along as before, abusing immigrant mexicans, abusing poor americans, charging too little for cotton, and getting away with it. I don’t think it can last.

All I know is I don’t want any part of the whole mess. I don’t want a job someone created for me. If I can’t get work because I’m valuable and in demand, I think I’d rather be a thief, or an anarchist, and try to ruin the system until it falls apart.

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