Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Underpaid and underemployed.

That's the title of a New York Times article via msnbc today.  A lot of reasons are thrown up for this; greedy corporations sending jobs overseas and not paying their workers enough is the leading cause. But that ignores how the government screws with the economy, and ultimately, creates the poverty that they are wishing to address.

Yes globalization has created a more competitive environment and businesses have sent jobs overseas, though this is somewhat being abated due to the adage old adage 'you get what you pay for'.  However, few individuals ask this question.  What came first?  Depressed wages because of jobs overseas to manufacture cheap goods or Depressed wages causing  demand for incredibly cheap goods forcing jobs overseas?  You could argue either way, but I'd contend that government regulation and intervention has exacerbated the problem, because, ultimately its the standard of living you enjoy and not the nominal amount that you are paid that determines prosperity.

I mean who is better off, a person who say their wages decreased by 3% over 5 years but saw prices fall by 5%, or the person who saw their wages increase by 3% and saw a 5% increase in the cost of goods?  Obviously the first person is better off.   But a variety of government policies, easy money, deficit spending, and fostering an education bubble, have created a drag on our economy.
"Garland Miller, 28, who has degrees in finance and accounting from the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University, had hoped to land a job at a big accounting firm, and to have been able to buy a home by now. Instead he finds himself working as the lead server at a steakhouse. But he has not given up on trying to move into the field that he prepared himself for: This month, he attended a jobs fair in Duluth, a suburb of Atlanta, organized by the University of Georgia for its alumni."
Here is a person, who according to conventional wisdom, should not have any trouble finding work.  But he is, and there are tens of thousands, if not millions more like him, who have spent a lot of time any money and are not find the jobs that they were promised, and foolishly as we have now learned, expected.  That fact is, even if you get a degree that is supposed to be useful there are no guarantees because our economic condition is so bad.

I for example, I have a friend who majored in electrical engineering, definitely not socioeconomic effects of patriarchy on women in the Bantu tribe studies, but still works as a tech and not as an engineer.  Yes, he will move up to be an engineer one day, but he graduated from University almost four years ago and it took him two years to even find this tech position.  When you have individuals who have degrees, like technology, in what are supposed to be high demand industries having trouble finding work, in technological center no less, you have problems.  But what are causing them? 

Here is a quick bullet list.

  • Boomers aren't retiring.
  • Growth of non-productive sectors in private industry i.e HR
  • Companies that seek to be rent seekers rather than producers
  • Government bodies throwing good money towards bad enterprises i.e Solyndra or  the bank bailouts
  • Governments throwing money they don't have towards bad enterprises
  • Governments throwing money at social problems that money doesn't fix
  • Governments promising more social programs that they can't pay for
  • Governments inflating the currency to service the debt decreasing your purchasing power
All of these things combine to slow economic growth, which in turn causes an increasing array of regulation, rent seeking, and government programs.  It's like a Chinese finger trap, the worse things get the more we do the very things that are causing our problems. Unfortunately most news articles will not say as much, they may believe in the contrary, but these things are happening

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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.