My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

Become a Fan

« Why Teleworkers Are More Productive | Main | Europe is beating America: Part I »


William Draves

D.P, thanks for all your comments. In reply, there are plenty of jobs for people with college degrees.

Anthony Carnevale, the nation's leading training authority, predicts a shortage of skilled workers approaching 14 million by 2017. NOT a shortage of jobs, a shortage of workers. We already have a shortage of workers, which is why we have a H1B1 visa program to import college educated boys to work here, instead of graduating our own boys.

D. P. Lubic

I personally find the article a bit weak. Cutting education grants cuts off the future for the young? Maybe. But how is that related to the problem of graduates with no jobs to go to? In that respect, it might be a wise choice; why invest in an education for some fool who won't have a job to use it at?

Actually, that tells us we have some serious problems.

The whole business suggests there is a lack of opportunity in the future, at least as we have been thinking of it. I see this as our technological society as a whole hitting a wall of diminishing returns.

Cars, for instance, are greatly improved over what was available back in 1950, and even over 1990, but they don't take you anywhere faster than you could go in 1990 either; in fact, it's possible your trip will be slower because of congestion, and certainly more expensive. There is also the problem of having more cars on the road than drivers; how many do we need?

The same can be said for houses. About the only real change for kitchens since about 1940 has been air conditioning and the microwave oven; everything else--all those built-in cabinets, mechanical refrigerators, package ovens and stoves running on gas or electricity--were common in at least new construction by then. I don't think you would want to open up a new factory to make air conditioners or plumbing fixtures today; that job's already been done.

What's left, and in particular, what's left that can't be outsourced? Well, that sounds like a lot of the problem-solving jobs you've suggested. The education and skills would range from those of a doctor to those of a tradesman, like a plumber. General small business that cater to a specialized or local crowd (i.e., a hobby shop in the first case, an organic grocery in the second) are constant exercises in problem solving. So is agriculture.

There is the potential for skilled labor to build and operate the rail passenger system we both think this nation needs, if we ever get around to doing so.

However, that rail system also illustrates the problem of building up the latest version of the new economy. There are people (i.e., the oil and road interests) with money, enough of it to give them real power, who don't want to see the competition. You can bet this bunch has allies in the financial sector; think of banks that won't be making car loans, and insurance companies that won't be selling car insurance. All these business could well see a rail revival as a threat.

The combination of diminishing returns for our society and the institutional roadblocks of the powerful could well be worse for limiting opportunity than any socialist program.

I wish I had some good answers, but I'm just a little person with no real voice of authority.

Having said that, you might be interested in the link below:

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)