Friday, September 14, 2012

Marketing the futures of labor

Create jobs.

Think about these two words. These words who, somehow, have managed to become the very center of political discourse just about everywhere.

Create jobs.

It is not that we face some herculean task that will require stupendous amounts of manpower to complete. Rather, we are facing the opposite: the herculean task is done, and we have run out of things to do. The free market is of no help here - it is indeed very happy to send news to every stockholder everywhere that it can do just as much or sometimes more with less employees.

Which is true in every sense of being; one only has to think about how remarkably small the farmer class has become over the years. Saying that it has shrunk from 98% of everyone to a measly 2% might be a contestable statement, but the reversal of (im)productivity is indisputable. What used to demand hordes of people now demand but a few, and the production of everything is ever on the increase despite of this.

Because of this.

So the creation of jobs becomes an issue. One might think that we might reach a point where it is politically possible - and, indeed, wise - to declare that we are doing enough things in the world, and that we can finally say that the labor market is a matter of choice rather than of brutal necessity. One might think that there is something of a limit to how much needs to be done in a given year, and that the fact that so much energy is spent talking about how jobs are to be created is a sign that we have reached that very limit. And, with farming as a prime example, surpassed it.

One might think. But what are these restless politicians and the voices of authority saying?

More jobs!

One might think this to be somewhat disingenuous. One might think that the proper thing to ponder is the orderly retreat from a society based on mass employment, to something more suited for a technological reality where joblessness is to be expected as a natural feature of society. One might even think that insisting that just about everyone getting a job to be an old fashioned notion based out of the necessities of scarcity so ever prevalent in earlier times.

One would also be branded a political radical and somewhat of a lunatic for mentioning such ideas.

But what else is there to do? It's not likely that we will refrain from using the ever more advanced labor saving devices what destroys any possibility of an all-encompassing labor market, and enforcing a proverbial digging of holes just to fill them in a moment later seems an unlikely prospect as well. Least likely of all is that the jobs will actually return - no matter the political energy spent on convincing you otherwise.

We are entering a future where we have more than enough of just about everything, thanks to the ever more advanced means of production. But the advances regarding the means of distribution are sadly lagging very far behind, and if the blind faith in the notion of "creating more jobs" out of thin air is the leading vision of our time -

It would seem we still have things to do about the fact that we have run out of things to do.

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