It’s Worse Than You Think: or why you should care about poverty, jobs and income inequality

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[Row of Unemployed from Flickr Commons]

I’m afraid. Truly. I’m afraid of where we’re headed.

We live in a world where the basic storyline goes something like this: we are born, we get educated, we go to work, we earn money, we buy a house and get hitched and have babies who are educated…and the cycle goes on. Of course this story varies in order, magnitude and timeline, but you get the drift. We get trained and then we work so we can afford to do it all over again generation after generation.

It’s always seemed to me an odd way to exist, but it works well enough and there have been loads of benefits to this structure, including advances in our technology and comfort in general. The market that we work for and buy from gets more efficient and produces better and better outcomes for us. The incentive is comfier living, through income or better/cheaper stuff or whatever, but I certainly appreciate typing on this laptop while sitting in a warm office and having the ability to publish this for the masses to read. I have a comfy chair and a good cup of hot coffee while the winter elements whip around outside without touching me. Life is good.

And yes, I have Capitalism and the free market to thank for my good life. But there is no escaping it. We need to work to afford such luxuries. If I didn’t have an income, I wouldn’t have all of this. And I suppose I could eschew my current lifestyle and take to the land, but I don’t really have the skills to snare rabbits and pick the right berries. I took a survival course when I was 14 that my parents teased me about (they called it “Camp Two Fingers” because I described the limited amount of food I could eat each meal – a two-fingered scoop), but I don’t remember much of that. And I’ve been watching the AMC series The Walking Dead and took the ‘How long would you survive’ quiz and didn’t do so well.Also, I like my laptop and wi-fi and power and heat. I’m quite fond of the ease of life I lead, so I’m willing to pay the piper.

But the story is getting harder and harder for more and more people to follow. The piper has more and more limited space. And we’re going to have to write a new one if we want to survive.

DETROIT IS OUR CANARY IN OUR COAL MINE

We are nearing a job crisis of mundane proportions. As Chrystia Freeland outlines in her 2013 TED Global talk, The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich (I know, the irony, right?):

Since the late 1990s, increases in productivity have been decoupled from increases in wages and employment. That means that our countries are getting richer, our companies are getting more efficient, but we’re not creating more jobs and we’re not paying people, as a whole, more.

During the Industrial Revolution, jobs were created on a massive scale, moving the majority of people into cities to fill positions. But since then, globalization has happened, moving hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas to cut costs, displacing an enormous number of jobs. We’ve seen the effects this has on cities built around industries who now outsource like Detroit and Baltimore. But what happens when the skilled labor is outsourced? What happens when we don’t even need people to do the job AT ALL?

Self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligent computers that may teach themselves to code, robots that do intricate tasks and smart homes that monitor and fix themselves are just some of the technology that is right around the corner and threatens unskilled AND skilled labor. Why outsource your coders when the computer can do it for you? Who will need cars at all? Forget mass transit. Seamstresses and tailors? Meh. Cooks? Who needs them. Plumbers? Electricians? The list goes on.

In fact, even the people who are BEHIND the technology that is leading us there are afraid of where this is headed:

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google – a company that is working on emerging technologies such as self-driving cars and robots – is worried. “The race is between computers and people and the people need to win … In this fight, it is very important that we find the things that humans are really good at,” he said. – FT.com, Automation and the Threat to Jobs, January 26, 2014

Sure, every advancement creates a new job and new opportunities to earn, but are the number of jobs and opportunities created enough to replace the ones lost? Are there? Because if there aren’t enough new jobs to replace the lost jobs, no matter how much you berate the unemployed for being lazy jerks, there won’t be jobs for them to go to. And the time period between unemployed and homelessness will be swift as the number of people living paycheck to paycheck (68% in USA alone) and buried in personal debt is staggering.

I wouldn’t be so afraid if there was some sort of plan in place. If this was something we talked about openly and honestly and that economists were discussing in a public forum. But it’s really difficult to find anyone talking about this except for a smattering of people here and there who are largely dismissed as paranoid and overreactive.

As an interesting aside, after watching Freeland’s TED talk, I went to check out the numbers of people employed by the tech companies we know and love (these are worldwide numbers for the most part):

Amazon – 109,800 ($183B market cap)
Microsoft – 100,500 ($305B market cap)
Apple – 80,300 ($450B market cap)
Google – 46,400 ($380B market cap)
Yahoo! – 11,700 ($35B market cap)
Facebook – 5,800 ($150B market cap)
LinkedIN – 4,800 ($25B market cap)
Twitter – 2,300 ($34B market cap)

TOTAL – 361,600 jobs

To put this in a bit of perspective, here are the headcounts for the 8  biggest employers in the US:

Wal-mart – 2,200,000 ($242B market cap)
IBM – 435,000 ($192B market cap)
McDonald’s – 400,000 ($93B market cap)
UPS – 400,000 ($89B market cap)
Target – 355,000 ($36B market cap)
Kroger – 338,000 ($18B market cap)
Sears – 312,000 ($4B market cap)
General Electric – 287,000 ($25B market cap)

Total – 4,327,000 jobs

Notice something about many of the employers on this list? Many of them hire part-time, minimum wage employees (the working poor), some of them hire unskilled labor (the automate-able – I can see the day when our Big Macs are assembled by robots, can’t you?) and some of them are in trouble (Sears anyone?). Here is something to chew on: Target employs roughly the same number of people who Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter do COMBINED.

And if you don’t understand the connection, the reason why I’m showing the largest employers is that many of them are retailers whose retail outlets are being threatened by technology – when retail outlets get shut down because people are ordering more and more online (just today, Radio Shack announced the closing of 500 stores), where are the new jobs being created to replace them? Certainly not with the new entrants.

[NOTE: Knowing how damned frustrating it is to get support at any of the tech companies listed (even the Genius Bar is backed up for days now and they direct you to the forums), I have some suggestions of where they could hire a few bodies. Am I right?]

THE GOOGLE BUS THING ISN’T REALLY ABOUT THE BUSES

It’s about this. It’s just a symbol of a much deeper issue. The Bay Area, is the next canary. It’s awesome because people are finally taking income inequality seriously…and it’s dislodging many heads from many a$$es.

DON’T JUST POINT FINGERS AT THE PLUTOCRATS – YOU ARE TO BLAME, TOO

As consumers, we should take on a big part of the blame here, too. It’s not just companies trying to be more efficient and maximize profits. It’s also our appetite for a ‘deal’ and our move to shopping online and on our mobile phones. As we demand lower costs and convenience, we force more human beings out of a livelihood. Hell, I love my Joe Fresh deals, but when the factory collapsed in Bangladesh last spring, I realized what my hunger for good deals was doing to the world. I’m making more of an effort to shop local now and when I get a hankering for some online shopping, I head to Etsy first.

And what about startups like Etsy and Shopify and Chloe + Isabel and all of the other peer-to-peer and home-based business boosting tools that are launching? Isn’t there all sorts of money being poured into these pretty commonplace tools to help people grow their own businesses, releasing them from the shackles of traditional employment?

Sure. But just like their analog ancestors (Avon, Amway, Mary Kay and Tupperware to name a few), there will be only so many successful people in each neighborhood. For instance, I live in a pretty tight neighborhood (roughly 15,000 people and we all have dogs so we talk). If EVERYONE in my neighborhood bought $50 worth of Tupperware per MONTH, that would only cover costs of living in this neighborhood ($60k/yr) for 38 people (25% commission based). And that’s being generous. NOBODY needs $50 worth of Tupperware a month. Here is a real stat: 65% of Etsy sellers made less than $100 last year. And as a big fan of Etsy, I know for a fact that these sellers are often barely covering the costs of their supplies. They try to remain competitive so they don’t pay themselves very much.

Building a business online is the same as building a brick and mortar business. You need buyers. And with buyers going for the cheap and convenient options, there isn’t much space for the artisan or hand-crafter. As a friend of mine said, “There is only so much jewelry I can buy!” when referring to Chloe + Isabel.

And speaking of buyers, what happens when unemployment soars? There will be even fewer buyers, which means ANY business trying to make ends meet is going to struggle, which will most likely lead to more layoffs, which will…well you know where this spiral leads.

SO ARE WE EFFED?

Well, if we keep burying our heads in the sand and moving in the general direction we’re moving, yes. We’re completely effed. Marketing, which happens to be the profession I’ve made a living at for 15 years now, is a BS job. I can completely admit to that. It’s completely necessary in a Capitalist free market economy – because there is a confusing amount of options for customers and somebody needs to point them in the direction of your option – but in the automation and AI boom, it’ll be made irrelevant.

In fact, many of the tech giants have already eliminated the marketer’s role. Does Google hire marketers? Nope. Sales people and engineers. There are a few ‘advocates’ and ‘futurists’, but that’s not the same. Does Facebook? Not really. Some people have the title of marketing, but they’re role is more sales-driven, too. Microsoft and Amazon have fairly healthy marketing departments, but there are only so many jobs to go around there. Besides, once Google automates it for us (along with those engineering jobs), everybody will follow.

I know I’m a big downer. Sorry. If it makes you feel any better, this whole mess is still a few decades off. The singularity isn’t supposed to hit until 2029. (Oh, which also reminds me that the person who invented the idea of singularity is…an employee of Google. Coincidence? You make the call.)

Truthfully, we need to rethink our economy altogether. Maybe the future of work is different? Maybe we don’t work for a living anymore? Maybe we actually work on what makes us passionate without pay because we get a stipend? Or we don’t need money anymore? Maybe there are different incentives? There are lots of people who have been rethinking money for years and there is even a great crowdsourced currency contender (say that 10x fast!). Today’s dollars are really only real because we think they are real. Sort of like Tinkerbell, if we stop believing it’s real, it will cease to exist. (This concept has always fascinated me – since I studied the Brazilian Real Crisis in the 90’s)

I had a conversation lately with my brilliant friend Heather, who said she read and watched The Hunger Games and didn’t feel it was fictional at all. I agree with her. There are all of these showy excesses being waved around arrogantly while so many struggle. There is fear and awe now, but all we need is a Katniss to start the uprisings. I feel for Tom Perkins because, even though his Nazi Germany comparison is incredibly offensive, the Plutocrats are in danger. When wealth inequality is put under a microscope, it will affect him deeply. In actuality, he should have used the French Revolution as the example. But he wouldn’t because many still uphold the French Revolution as a necessary balancing of power during a time of…great inequality.

Maybe there are think tanks and groups of people locked up in important secret boardrooms (beyond the lip service of Davos) coming up with awesome ideas. But seriously, folks. This is going to be big. And we can put it off and put it off, but at some point, it’s going to catch up with us.

There are so many people out of touch with reality and though we shouldn’t live with a cloud over our existence either, we really really need to think practically about our future. The higher we climb, the further we fall. Let’s figure out how to prevent free fall in the future.

Let’s not wait for those in power to come up with a solution…or we may be sending our children to a fight to the death arena in the near future.

—–

I’ve taken over the Fuck Poverty Facebook Page to share articles and continue this conversation. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Any additional suggestions, input, etc is very welcome. I’ve been thinking about this subject a LOT lately. I think the time is ripe for making it a priority.

I’m also reading The Lights in the Tunnel, recommended by my friend and associate, Lane Becker. Everyone should read it. It’s awesome and covers stuff I said here with better examples, data and clarity. ;)

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Categories: community, featured, marketing, personal, social capital

Author:Tara Hunt

Strategist. Researcher. Interdisciplinarian. Founder, Lime Foundry + Buyosphere. Author, The Whuffie Factor. Speaker. Mother. Karaoke lover.

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139 Comments on “It’s Worse Than You Think: or why you should care about poverty, jobs and income inequality”

  1. January 30, 2014 at 21:40 #

    am going to assume that you’re just on a crazy rant, because the data you are using doesn’t even support your premise that workers are going to automated out of jobs just because a few technology companies you decided to pick and choose from a list employ less people than a few other companies that you decided to pick and chose from a list. You’re not even comparing apples to appples here.

    Why single out

    Amazon , Microsoft , Apple , Google, Yahoo! , Facebook , LinkedIN and Twitter when they are not even in the top 50 of the list you’re pulling from to show the Top 8 employers in the United States

    http://www.statisticbrain.com/u-s-largest-employers/

    So you have one online retailer, two search engines, one software, one hardware/software and two social media companies. Hardly representative of all the industries in the United States or even beyond the West Coast.

    So why compare those to the top 8 on the list from the Department of Labor?

    You do know that the federal and state governments employ more people in the United States than any company right?

    The top 50 list includes other industries besided retailers that might use part-time labor or pay a minimum wage

    Actually even with the top 8 you’re making a poor assumption that they have mostly part time labor and only pay a minimum wage, which maybe true for walmart (but feel free to provide real data) but certainly isn’t true for others on the list

    You do know that UPS and Kroger have union workers right ?

    Do you know what the starting salaries or hourly wages are at either?

    Does it matter if Target employees more people that the tech companies you list? Are they really drawing from the same labor pool?

    • January 30, 2014 at 22:30 #

      You are right that I don’t really build out that section well enough. I’m not really comparing apples to oranges or even apples to apples. I’m just showing how our hot tech companies with giant market caps don’t create as many jobs. The top 8 list was merely to show how non-tech industries (IBM aside) employ a LOT more people – but hinted at the potential decline in these numbers because of technology as well.

      There was a great article pointed out to me – in french – here that goes into that bit much better than I did:
      http://www.wiseweb.fr/2014/01/numerique-1-travail-zero/ (I used Google Translate for the article, but perhaps you read French).

    • January 30, 2014 at 22:45 #

      Oh…and this article referenced in the French article brings up the point I was trying to make: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21594298-effect-todays-technology-tomorrows-jobs-will-be-immenseand-no-country-ready

      Quotes:

      “One recent study by academics at Oxford University suggests that 47% of today’s jobs could be automated in the next two decades.”

      “When Instagram, a popular photo-sharing site, was sold to Facebook for about $1 billion in 2012, it had 30m customers and employed 13 people. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy a few months earlier, employed 145,000 people in its heyday.”

      “Airbnb may turn homeowners with spare rooms into entrepreneurs, but it poses a direct threat to the lower end of the hotel business—a massive employer.”

      As the tech industry disrupts old industries, they aren’t replacing the jobs like the Industrial Revolution did.

  2. January 31, 2014 at 06:10 #

    Great post, Tara. The French article is interesting, too. I am from France so I read it in French. It focuses on the challenge we are facing now that we have created wonderful computers to serve all kinds of purposes: making sure we create a society that beneficits from these incredible tools.
    The article discusses an important question, which concerns all of us bloggers: the free work.
    On one hand, we are generously offering free content to whoever wants to read us.
    On the other hand, our free content is the reason why Google, Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram…are billionaires and we aren’t.
    It’s a brave new world and also a terribly inequal world. The good news is that many of us agree that it is not the way we want our world to be.
    Spread the word…

    • January 31, 2014 at 15:13 #

      Hey Evelyne!

      Spread the word, indeed! It’s so unbalanced…

    • January 31, 2014 at 16:44 #

      Thanks Tara for this great post. i’am the author of the French Blog you linked in the comment so i totally agree with your analysis. And Evelyne, thank you for reading my article. You’re right to point out that Free labor is also a part of that big trend (think Open Source developpers or wikipedia editors…). The digital sweatshop like mechanical turk is also a scary trend… My belief is that the basic income (giving everybody a basic income everymonth regardless of its wealth or current revenue) is inevitable. I’m happy to see that really influential tech people like Fred Wilson are starting to defend that way of thinking http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2013/12/the-limits-of-capitalism.html

  3. January 31, 2014 at 09:35 #

    You are on fire! Important issues that are being treated…

    I have been thinking about this poverty issue as well, and really been inspired by the Mincome test in Canada and other similar initiatives.

    “Maybe the future of work is different? Maybe we don’t work for a living anymore? Maybe we actually work on what makes us passionate without pay because we get a stipend?”

    I can see that working, but not without a tough transition period, and most likely due to no remaining options.

    I can see the retirement system being the first to undergo big changes in the western world, before any dramatic changes to the labor market.

    Pensions are a big cause for debate in Europe, since longer life expectancy makes the cost of pensions balloon, while the difficult economic climate isn’t contributing to cover those costs.

    One reason why pensions are so closely linked to the poverty discussion, is that retired people are in a situation where they have been working all of their lives, and once they retire, they notice that they can’t afford to be retired, but do not exactly have the possibility to keep working either.

    They often can’t contribute more, even if they wanted to.

    The poverty discussion is often pulled in a direction where the most radical capitalists are claiming that poverty is more or less an individual choice of not working harder, but when it comes to the retired, that argument is difficult.

    The retired have already done their share, paid their share, and their only “fault” is that they don’t die soon enough for the system to be balanced.

    France introduced varying ages for retirement, based on whether or not the work that the person is doing is considered to be “difficult” or not. Most of the time related to how physical the tasks have been.

    I believe that the technological advancements and Big Data could be harnessed to balance the retirement system by using indexed retirement ages, where retirement isn’t automatically at a certain age, but would depend on what jobs you have had during your life. Mathematical models would calculate life expectancy, and retirement would start i.e. 12 years before expected end of ones life.

    There could be a way to use new technologies to eliminate that cost from governments, which in turn would leave more money on the table to tackle social inequalities in other sectors of society.

    The second sector that absolutely has to be taken care of, is care for anyone that for one reason for another is not able to be a normal part of the working force. It is the one thing that makes me more sad than anything, when society is not taking care of the ones that can not take care of themselves.

    After psychologically and physically challenged people are given the necessary care and support structures, would I start working on improving the larger picture.

    I do realize that in order to finance all this, there needs to be tax income, which in turn, based on the articles that you referred to, is less and less likely to come from a current model which taxes salaries.

    Check out Paul Pholeros TED talk, if you haven’t already. Interesting talk about extreme poverty, and how to fight it by stopping people from getting sick.

    Maslows need of hierarchies, anyone?

    • January 31, 2014 at 15:12 #

      Thanks Sakari! I’ll check out that talk. I think you have lots of great input and ideas here to percolate on…

  4. January 31, 2014 at 11:29 #

    Regardless of the stats, I found this really thought provoking and very relevant to my own gut feel and suspicious about the direction our precious world is heading. I will certainly be checking out the FB page, thanks for sharing.

  5. January 31, 2014 at 14:42 #

    Hey Tara – your article really moved me and echoed a lot of my own thoughts that I often keep to myself for lack of knowing what to do with them. Since college It’s been increasingly apparent to me that something just isn’t right with the way we do things. I went to a liberal arts college, and somehow I managed to hit the real world with a good deal of my idealism still intact. the ironic part is that I paid out the ass (and will till I’m about 50) for that liberal arts education which helped me realize the degree to which I was fucked as it was essentially preparing to getting ready to screw me.

    Poverty continues to increase, and there’s still a stigma that poverty is a trait, a reflection of something wrong with you as an individual. ‘Normal’ people don’t live in poverty, so the thinking goes. It feels like an insurmountable obstacle sometime to change people’s minds and the way they are accustomed to doing things.

    I just follow the Gandhi-ism, “Be the change you want to see.” And that’s the best I can do.

    • January 31, 2014 at 15:11 #

      Ghandi-ism is a great start, for sure! I, too, have a Liberal Arts degree, and get what you are saying. I wonder, though, if it’s us with our bleeding hearts degrees that will be the ones to speak out and make that change as well as be the change. :)

  6. January 31, 2014 at 15:34 #

    I was just reading this one, and I thought it relevant:
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-27/what-a-higher-minimum-wage-does-for-workers-and-the-economy#p3
    A later section details how some countries are thinking about paying EVERYBODY “basic” income to guarantee a spartan existence–this would be in addition to and regardless of whatever other income you make, billionaire to burger boy. While I see some merits there, I wonder from where the money for such a program may come…

    • January 31, 2014 at 16:50 #

      As I said in the earlier comment I really think that basic income (giving everybody a basic income everymonth regardless of its wealth or current revenue) is one of the things to sudy seriously . I’m happy to see that really influential tech people like Fred Wilson are starting to defend that way of thinking http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2013/12/the-limits-of-capitalism.html

      • February 6, 2014 at 20:57 #

        It seems so at first, but a quick glance at leveling the income feild in other countries presently and in the past has not reaped intended results. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that obliterating our medium of exchange for something more durable is a better option with more success stories. And mass dist of wealth almost always falls under a socialist govt, which almost always is followed by the induction of a dictator, which is almost always followed by massive loss of life through horrific tyranical means. Presidents and kings cannot be trusted to get us out of our troubles.

      • February 6, 2014 at 21:19 #

        Then who? The plutocrats?

      • February 7, 2014 at 00:51 #

        We are Americans,,,,,and have the Constitutional right to EARN a living. Taxing our labor for the benefit of the ill bred is not legal. We are not a democracy, but rather a REPUBLIC. Diversity will not ever bring unity. The millenials missed out on the true meaning of our AMERICAN birth rights.

      • February 8, 2014 at 19:09 #

        Nice to see at least one person with a clue and an actual understanding that we are not a Democracy. Something government schools refuse to teach.

      • February 8, 2014 at 21:32 #

        That’s right, we have the RIGHT to earn a living- And yet, the big corporations are not willing to give their workers a living wage, the government is not willing to protect our right to work, and those of us who try to make our ‘own’ jobs don’t have the market power or government backing needed to make ends meet.

        The founding fathers derided Democracy as mob rule- But they also derided factionalism, and monopolies, just as much or more as they are the precursors to an inherently broken system.

  7. February 4, 2014 at 00:34 #

    Great analysis. Will share with my students.

  8. February 6, 2014 at 20:27 #

    Technology has freed us to the point where jobs are irrelevant. Soon the robots will make themselves and we all will be unemployed.

  9. February 6, 2014 at 20:51 #

    Reblogged this on Observations of a Suburban White Male.

  10. February 6, 2014 at 21:06 #

    Reblogged this on Aw Laugh Think .

  11. February 6, 2014 at 21:33 #

    WE… are the canaries in the coal mine. Even if we survive, we’re still in a cage. Deep in a coal mine. The world is approaching a tipping point. When a few thousand people have more wealth + power than the other seven billion combined… they may have to worry about how they taste. I think all of the revolutions in human history were mere dress rehearsals for what is to come. Have a nice day.

    • February 6, 2014 at 22:03 #

      The funny thing is that we frame power as something immutable and unchangeable. These plutocrats are only powerful because they feed off the desperation and the greed of those below them. Money is the highest moral authority in American, until it’s not :-)

      TL:DR version – the Plutocrats have power because the people *give* them the power. Most are old, and prolly creepy men. The power they have comes from other’s willingness to obey him, not from an actual authority he himself possesses.

  12. February 6, 2014 at 21:42 #

    The richest 85 people in the world are as wealthy as the poorest half of the worlds population according to the charity Oxfam’s report ‘Working for the Few’. http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/working-for-the-few-economic-inequality
    Making all possible allowances for the ‘good leadership deserves good rewards’ argument can anyone seriously see any moral or social justification whatsoever for this?

    • February 6, 2014 at 23:57 #

      exactly the comment I was wanting to post! well said.

  13. February 6, 2014 at 21:46 #

    Ok….this is scary!

  14. February 6, 2014 at 22:08 #

    Reblogged this on victormiguelvelasquez.

  15. February 6, 2014 at 22:22 #

    I find this a very important topic for so many reasons, you did a great job. However, I am shocked that Amazon & the tech group employ THAT many. suspect they could downsize further if they wanted….

  16. February 6, 2014 at 23:07 #

    Reblogged this on AlternativeMedicineFreedom.

  17. mgpogue
    February 6, 2014 at 23:30 #

    Reblogged this on The TV Media Junkie ReBlog Blog and commented:
    Enjoy the days you have now, you never know what is coming.

  18. February 6, 2014 at 23:36 #

    Reblogged this on Tarek Elbakry's Blog.

  19. February 7, 2014 at 00:38 #

    It appears to me that too many people are trying to find a way out of the neo-colonialism that has infected our nation without attacking the root cause. We will never move forward as humans if we continually accept the freeloading souls at each end of the spectrum. We in the middle class need to move away from those that feed from our efforts. Big business is our employer…let’s never forget that fact. The “cash for babies program” and political figures need us….we don’t need them. The subdivision of our nation is a cure for what ails us.

    • February 8, 2014 at 19:12 #

      I’m finding it amusing that no one is debating your comments. Because they are right on spot

    • February 8, 2014 at 21:35 #

      Big business isn’t in business for you. It’s in business for itself- And if your boss can see a way to cheat you out of what you have earned, he’ll do it without a second thought. This is just how business is run.

  20. February 7, 2014 at 00:47 #

    Firstly,take a holiday and smell the roses. Second, the market will be whatever market will be (you know that better than others). Thirdly, think deeply of nature and the beauty of the mind. Great blog and good to say things.B

    • February 8, 2014 at 19:11 #

      I’m finding it amusing that no one is debating your comments. Because they are right on spot

      • February 9, 2014 at 00:24 #

        Maybe just thinking about something is sufficient. Thanks for your response.B

  21. February 7, 2014 at 01:14 #

    I stumbled across this blog and found the article of interest. Having reached well beyond retirement age, I feel with heart felt pain for my grandchildren and the younger folks who posted here and the struggles they are facing in today’s world. I am not a pessimist, but the future if folks don’t start thinking outside of the box is very grim. Case in point, where one person posted they will be paying a education loan until they are 50, that really saddens me that someone could live under that undue pressure for their entire life. The mind set among so many young folks, my family include, that without higher education you will not succeed, is so far from the truth. There many many family supporting jobs that requires training or an apprenticeship, but not a college education. I only wish that every secondary education would at least give people a course to provide an insight and direction to explore there options other than higher education. Having worked in the building trades as a plumber, it was not and easy or clean job, but the work was constant and provided a good income. I suggest if you are in search of work, to make a list of jobs that nobody wants to do. You won’t earn 200K per year, but you will have a secure way of life.For example a trash collector earns in a small town 60K, a roofer or electrician can easily make 72K. Any knowledge of the building trades can lead to a surprising six figure income as an insurance adjuster. Only one word of caution, don’t try to keep up with what someone else may have with all the latest and greatest, live with in you income. I have a basement full of things I couldn’t live without. Learn that one lesson early in life and you will be far ahead of the pack and will succeed.

  22. February 7, 2014 at 01:15 #

    A soberingly good read/rant Ms Hunt. It’s good to know this themed meme is floating around the superconscious ether. The fact that it is actually suggests that once this depressing realisation reaches saturation point, our species will do what it seems genetically predisposed to do; that is pursue a course of extreme, nihilistic, indulgent, hedonism before collectively going – “Whoa – what the f**k! That was crazy intense… but seriously though, we need to get our shit back together now, move off this Capitalism thing and find something new or we’re all f**ked. So what’s next?” According to the great thinkers and the scientists it’s already happening – we are an empathic society –

    We will eventually reject the voracious appetite of Capitalism and it’s daily diet of exploitation. We’ll get wise to it’s peddling of need and scarcity and the harvest of hatred and greed that it yields. We will just stop and look at our collective selves and individually ask “Why am I letting myself be ruled by a bunch of corporate psychopaths whose wealth I maintain whilst they hold me in utter contempt?” I f**king hope we do anyway (I’m generally misanthropic).

    The dream of labour saving technology has been well and truly usurped, warped and twisted into a knife in the back of modern civilisation Ms Hunt. We should have used all that time saved to fulfil our natural aspirations and realise our dreams. Instead some horrible, greedy, corporate beast riding the back of a forked tongued politician took all that time that technology saved and packed into an extra bunch tasks for workers on more or less the same pay. Now we race against a digital pace. A race we can’t keep up with. And if time is money, the less we have, the less we earn; an equation that conveniently works in reverse for the corporate employers.

    Phew… that was cathartic. One good rant deserves another eh ;-)

  23. February 7, 2014 at 01:20 #

    Reblogged this on Crohn's and Cupcakes and commented:
    This is an interesting editorial on where our culture is headed.

  24. February 7, 2014 at 01:54 #

    It seems that you are on the way to spiritual journey …
    Try to imagine, and to think … can I handle myself without a job?
    Is it really really that a job, is the source of life …? Or just an illusion?

    here in Israel my land I know about people who lives without a job. And…is some of them are still working…? it’s just for a mattress, some food and clothing. And why? Because they know that work is not the purpose of life.

    Hiddai

    • February 7, 2014 at 01:59 #

      Here is a really good book. Published all around the world with translation of 11 languages, that can help a little bit to open the mind about the issues I wrote above.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1595266364

      • February 7, 2014 at 02:10 #

        I also remember a course that I participated in. The talk about three revolutions:
        1. Agricultural revolution
        2. Industrial Revolution
        3. The information revolution (currently)
        4. in the future will be another revolution … Such, that will cause people to look for themselves … because the leisure time will increase so much.

        (I want to apologize about three separates comments. Please, merge them to one comment)

        Hiddai

  25. February 7, 2014 at 03:32 #

    Reblogged this on tymoeahumuza's Blog and commented:
    Check it out

  26. February 7, 2014 at 03:41 #

    Reblogged this on HBIC Philanthropy.

  27. February 7, 2014 at 03:46 #

    Thanks for the post, many good points, good perspective! I have been struggling with some of these very concerns for a bit now and just jumped off of the “crazy train” about 7 months ago to try to start my own business. However, I am in a field where the customers that I will potentially work for as a consultant are the very Corporates from where I just left!! We’ll see how it goes… Regardless, chin up, as humanity has struggled and struggled many times over the millennia and is still kicking!

  28. February 7, 2014 at 04:29 #

    I am fighting my way back from a long term bout of unemployment from a mass lay off at my former company. I was under the illusion that I was going to be back at work in a fast manner which did not seem to go as planned.

    During my time of unemployment, I did something fairly radical. I volunteered at a local organization that operates a food pantry/job placement service. Working with the unemployed has really opened my eyes to how the cards have been stacked against them. It has also caused me to really notice the negative views of the unemployed by the employed and how much they side with the very companies that are cutting their benefits and putting them into a position of being homeless after receiving a few major setbacks.

    In my opinion, I think the problem is not the poor. I think it is with the system and with our elected leaders who are not interested in doing something that is common in the private business sector which is to adapt and change.

    I see two problems at the center. The first is that the system in the U.S. does nothing more than hand out money. There is no target to reach. No skills are learned. There is a not an end date to become self sufficient. The second issue is technological skills. Ever try to get a paper application these days? So people without basic computer skills and internet access are instantly separated out of the job searching system. This greatly affects senior citizens and the people that can not afford internet access.

    I really hope that at some point, someone will run for an elected office touting more than rhetoric about immigration and the other scare tactics and offer a solution to create a system that not only offers a safety net but gives us a work force that can be contributors to the economy.

  29. galen2014
    February 7, 2014 at 04:33 #

    Reblogged this on galen2014.

  30. allthenamesaretakensothisisreallyreallylong
    February 7, 2014 at 04:37 #

    Good read. I think we all know this is where we are headed. The question is what to do about it.

  31. February 7, 2014 at 05:40 #

    Reblogged this on timeforchangeatjmu.

  32. February 7, 2014 at 06:40 #

    Hey Tara love this,

    I can really relate to this im still a student studying psychology and marketing (A profession i have become disillusioned with). But in particular being a student and seeing the ever job market dwindle with each year i put towards my degree. I have become disillusioned with education at least the archaic conformity machine it has become. I actually wrote a post on what i call the 9-5 paradigm id love to know what you think
    http://thetravelingwhitebelt.com/2014/02/01/the-9-5-paradigm-and-revolution-in-bogota/#more-286

  33. February 7, 2014 at 06:46 #

    Your example of the 8 biggest employers really stopped me in my tracks. Wow, not many jobs there at all. This is frightening to think about. Things don’t ever seem like they are improving either and, like you said, there is no plan in place. I hope I can sleep tonight. Excellent article though.

  34. February 7, 2014 at 06:56 #

    An excellent article, well written and engaging. I don’t have time to respond in detail right now and I have a very different vision of the future, but I understand your concerns. Here are a couple of articles which add to this debate. Fact is, we can’t eat technology and food and food production is an area where huge changes are happening, changes that could potentially create more jobs, or at least more work (not necessarily paid) as people recognise the damage of huge scale industrial farming and the inferior quality of the food it produces. I think the issue is one of addiction to comfort. There is work to be done but is it the work people want to do and will it sustain the lifestyle they want to keep. It’s about lifestyle and consciousness. I’m sure you know the Ken Robinson TED talk. Human beings are uniquely creative – that’s what we’ve got to engage with.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/marinaleda-spanish-communist-village-utopia

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/02/national-trust-scholarship-young-farmers-llyndy-isaf

  35. February 7, 2014 at 08:57 #

    Reblogged this on The Political Think Tank.

  36. February 7, 2014 at 11:04 #

    Reblogged this on Brittius.com.

  37. February 7, 2014 at 11:13 #

    Reblogged this on The International Blogspaper.

  38. February 7, 2014 at 12:03 #

    Cool story bro. Still even if there will be global revolution it will not be peaceful and it may have same consequences as french revolution in 1789 – 1799 with people losing their heads and media approving it.

  39. February 7, 2014 at 12:07 #

    Good analysis! Will give me some stuff to think about!

  40. February 7, 2014 at 12:32 #

    To add more a wise man said There is 3 powers in this world Power of Sword, power of gold, power of mirror. Government officials and Global organisations understand that and they know how to play with these 3 elements. It is in human nature to find a co-thinker, partner grow a circle find more people persuade them or influence other people or force them to change their thinking by any means necessary. I believe in a balanced world but find the balance we need to go forward.

  41. February 7, 2014 at 13:15 #

    The root problem is gross inefficiency and manipulation of the system.

    Just about every economic, social, and political system can work, provided its conditions for success have been met.

    Consider the government system of a Dictatorship. It’s a simple government and thus a nice, quick example.

    Dictatorship offers advantages of extreme efficiency and instant decision making. Leader says, it happens. It allows a single person’s talents and understandings of society, economics, and politics to affect society rapidly, and greatly. This is a single authority government’s greatest strength and weakness, because that power allows a leader to rally a country toward prosperity overnight, and burn it to the ground the following day.

    Therefore, Dictatorship requires a perfectly wise and altruistic leader followed always by another perfectly wise and altruistic leader. A single bad, or even just a good ruler can ruin such a political entity. It’s an extraordinarily difficult condition to meet, such that no political entity in history has survived dictatorship. Every last single-authority government has fallen apart or been actively destroyed by its own people or foreign entities, bar those that exist in current times, but those countries certainly don’t appear to be prospering or wielding the advantages of sole-authority for the benefit of the people and country.

    I would define our current system as:

    Politically, a Republic that utilizes a democratic voting system to select Representatives, or a Democratic Republic.
    Economically, a Capitalism that utilizes federal regulation to control the economic climate, or a Federally Regulated Capitalism (Federalized Capitalism).
    Socially, we’re rather complicated and I’m not sure it’s so easy to peg our social structure. I’d call us a middle-class centric society with equal legal rights for everyone (theoretically, at least).

    I would say, to start off any discussion in regards to massive reform:

    1. State the desired objectives of said Socio-Economic-Political entity.
    2. Determine the most desirable combination of social, economic, and political structures that will achieve these objectives.
    3. Determine the conditions for this socio-economic-political entity to succeed.
    4. Try to determine specifics. What laws do we need? Don’t need? What’s our philosophy in regards to spending, saving, war, peace, foreign entities, legal processes etc. etc. Step four is very long.
    5. Try to extrapolate the results. Do we like the theoretical result? What’s the best case scenario? Worst case? Realistic expectation?
    6a. If people don’t like the solution, start over.
    6b. If people agree on a solution, how then do we transition from our current system to the newly proposed one? Destroying a country is easy, building a country is hard, and fixing one is damned near impossible.

    Another avenue with which to approach this problem is to simply presume the current Socio-Economic-Political entity and just begin deliberation from there:

    What does it take to make a Legally Equal-Federalized Capitalist-Democratic Republic work?

    If we can figure that out, we can weed out all the unnecessary laws, regulations, taxes, and employ a new directive.

    • February 7, 2014 at 13:32 #

      Correcting myself real quick:

      I incorrectly called our society a middle-class centric, legally equal society. “Middle-class centric” is an economic state. Social climate is defined by societal values, so I’d refer to our current structure as:

      A free thinking, free speech, legally equal society.

  42. February 7, 2014 at 13:34 #

    Reblogged this on The OC Skinny and commented:
    An Extremely Thought-Provoking Post…
    -Happy Friday-

  43. February 7, 2014 at 14:23 #

    Reblogged this on cycletrekker.

  44. February 7, 2014 at 15:23 #

    Really enjoyed the whole thing, but without question, my favorite part is regarding what comes next. “Truly, we need to rethink our economy altogether,” is spot on. I love the conversation and I’m with you that it needs to happen on a grand scale.

    Plus, it naturally made me think of that scene from ‘Airplane’ … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft5OG-aaZ0U … which is always a bonus.

    While the creative thinkers have focused on products and efficiency in industry, I don’t feel like the same approach has been applied to the economy. Innovation has always been taking what exists and asking, “Can we do better?” We need to take the economy and the concepts that have built it into our perception of how economy works, and re-imagine it. I’m not sure Shangri La is an option, but changing the economic structure to fit the new commerce that fuels it seems essential. You don’t go to a gas station to refuel an electric car.

    Do you have any similar rants on education? If so, send them my way.

    • February 7, 2014 at 15:27 #

      Ha! The Airplane scene is perfect!

      No rants on education, but it’s a few economic eras behind obviously. :/

  45. February 7, 2014 at 15:43 #

    Reblogged this on anandadiman and commented:
    Good

  46. February 7, 2014 at 17:16 #

    Reblogged this on winafreestay.

  47. Rolling With The Punches
    February 7, 2014 at 17:42 #

    Hi Tara, a great article and it’s written brilliantly. BUT just to put an optimistic spin on it remember – Behind every advancement in technology there is a human being. As we progress to the point where we don’t necessarily need human beings to perform certain roles, new roles will materialise. Evolution will happen and I believe it’s hard to have a plan.

    • February 7, 2014 at 18:01 #

      I love your optimism and I believe that optimism and realism CAN go hand-in-hand. That’s why it’s important we realize this issue and make changes accordingly! We can’t pretend like the new outsourced/techie era is going to create as many jobs as before. So now what? Let’s find great solutions. :)

  48. February 7, 2014 at 17:59 #

    Reblogged this on Niki.V.all.ways.My.way. and commented:
    the numbers presented as official is just …. wrong at a level we cannot even pretend we can sustain … well, we can, but no good will come of that.

  49. February 7, 2014 at 18:03 #

    Reblogged this on bobdillon33blog.

  50. February 7, 2014 at 19:09 #

    I have to agree with this a whole lot, The crazy thing is that this isn’t something that can just be fixed, we have been bred to prefer laziness, and prefer conveniences even over our own flesh and blood….. This has been a plan in motion even before most of any of us were ever even conceived or though of, we are getting close to being bred in a matrix world. Everything you have pointed out all says exactly what NASA (and most likely other entities and factions) have been declaring they were aiming for since 2001. http://stopthecrime.net/docs/nasa-thefutureof-war.pdf

  51. February 7, 2014 at 19:23 #

    I have already come up with a great system to out source money as currency and have a much better solidified economy that would be based on time and effort, so it would become an unlimited resource, we would just have to figure out a way to get everyone working together, if i knew where to network my ideas to get funding and a crew together we could get a great start on this solution that would eventually lead to true freedom.

  52. February 7, 2014 at 20:41 #

    Reblogged this on achukuphilip's Blog and commented:
    Interesting writeup

  53. February 7, 2014 at 20:46 #

    That all have been the ill of the society, and the cruel the society is left to deal with.

  54. February 7, 2014 at 22:56 #

    Reblogged this on La Plume Noire and commented:
    Dommage que Pole-emploi ne soit pas capable de former les chômeurs en 8 ans…

  55. February 7, 2014 at 23:09 #

    This is an interesting blog and I can see it has stirred up some opinions! A couple of thoughts (without doing any new research) came to me in a general sense. Firstly in terms of technology and AI taking all the jobs from people, although I think that would be a realistic possibility, the missing link in the chain would then be consumers. There would be no point in any kind of mass production without consumers and the big bucks companies and billionaires behind our global capitalist system want one thing – the masses to work and consume so that they can own all the power and wealth. That is something which I think is finally being widely understood now. I am not afraid of one day there being no jobs in fact I would welcome that. Just a random post on Pinterest but one that I liked – http://pinterest.com/pin/295971006733535495/
    This global economy together with money is an illusion. Money is actually worth nothing unless we all believe it means something. If we stop believing in money, we shatter the illusion and we put down the imaginary chains that we’re bound by namely capitalism and the corporations behind the government. You are correct in that the divide between rich and poor is once again widening immensely – particularly in America and that is wrong. You are doing what you feel is right and challenging and speaking out about something really big you feel is wrong and that is commendable. There are many ways everyone can rebel against this and that is in your thoughts, your words and your actions. Firstly acknowledge the illusion and what is really going on. Secondly tell other people about it and share with other people that understand and thirdly make changes. They don’t have to be massive in the sense of running away and living in a wooden hut growing your own veg (although I did see a Facebook page telling you to do this – ironically the page was full of advertisements for wooden huts – that made me chuckle) but you can change the way you see money and the things you buy (know the difference between want and need) be more mindful about the places you shop and the things you buy, think twice about credit and instead of seeing your job as your life and who you are see it as what it is (unless you do have a job that feels like a hobby – in which case you’re getting it right) something you do to feed, clothe and treat yourself. It’s not your life and it doesn’t deserve that importance unless it’s something you truly enjoy. Them find something that you do truly enjoy and do that – convince yourself and other people that it’s a job – understand its a game. Yes fight against the powers that be – speak out about the evils in the world but also understand that your life and what you do with that is what is most important and you can create any kind of life you want. If the capitalists destroy their own machine out of greed and stupidity let them – we’d be better off without it. Didn’t mean to go on for so long but thanks for your thought provoking blog and I hope the backlash grows arms and legs! X

    • February 7, 2014 at 23:30 #

      THIS: “This global economy together with money is an illusion. Money is actually worth nothing unless we all believe it means something. If we stop believing in money, we shatter the illusion and we put down the imaginary chains that we’re bound by namely capitalism and the corporations behind the government.” <- ++++ :) Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  56. February 8, 2014 at 01:41 #

    Reblogged this on heeeyitsjey.

  57. February 8, 2014 at 04:45 #

    Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.,,

    http://tshirtlegend.com/

  58. February 8, 2014 at 04:57 #

    If history repeats itself, and I believe it does, the world is going through a major transition similar to the shift from agriculture to industry. The advanced countries have literally given manufacturing to countries like China, Mexico, Malaysia, etc. We have nothing left but the information we learned from developing and making all the wonderful products we enjoy.
    Economist Harry Dent calls the salvation of the shift from agriculture to industry the result of the Bob Hope generation. This generation was responsible for the development of the products and services that shifted the USA into an Industrial society.
    You are correct in your analysis that something has to happen fast. There needs to be another Bob Hope generation of people who invent new things, new information, new anything that will turn us on and create demand. It will be that demand for those new products that will fuel revolutionary job growth.
    Thanks for this insightful essay it is certainly mind blowing when we think ahead to a world without jobs. Perhaps the future lies in a return to self employment as was the case during the agricultural age.

  59. February 8, 2014 at 07:13 #

    Reblogged this on rjw..

  60. February 8, 2014 at 14:51 #

    I agree the current employment model wont and cant last. Major changes need to happen. Thanks for a good read.

  61. February 8, 2014 at 17:20 #

    True enough..

  62. February 8, 2014 at 21:12 #

    I love and completely agree with all of your ideas and the way that you think, especially about the part you mentioned about eliminating money. The federal reserve system, when you actually look into it, is basically a trap. Have you ever heard of the Venus Project? It’s something that if ever made possible, I would die happy. It’s main goal is to change the world from an monetary system to a resource-based economy. The planet is immense and there’s no reason for some people to have a stockpile of food to last them 10 years while others haven’t eaten in days. Same with all necessities and otherwise.
    Technology is an amazing thing and we shouldn’t shy away or be scared of it, but rather, use it our advantage. Have machines do the BS work that nobody WANTS to do. People should make art because they want to make art. Doctors should treat people because they want to and fashion designs design clothing because it’s their passion.
    I completely agree with everything that you said and honestly my face lit up reading it because whenever I mention similar ideas, people look at me like I’m crazy lol Your ideas and your way of thinking (from what I’ve gathered from this entry) are truly visionary 👌

  63. February 9, 2014 at 02:17 #

    Thank you for such a well written and insightful post. This is a subject that I think about and it is disturbing.

    I was at dinner with a few friends a couple of weeks ago and we got to talking about how the ratio of rich to poor has grown so much in the last several decades. Someone mentioned the French Revolution and another friend said very simply, “It will have to get much much worse before we revolt.” I am saddened by the greed and selfishness in the world.

  64. February 9, 2014 at 09:07 #

    Reblogged this on Shawn's Ramblings and commented:
    Word

  65. February 9, 2014 at 10:58 #

    Reblogged this on mammaham.

  66. February 9, 2014 at 12:30 #

    Reblogged this on dual3e's Blog.

  67. February 9, 2014 at 14:31 #

    It’s nice to see someone reading and researching about issues that really matter to people. We don’t hear enough about this stuff. Good work.

  68. February 9, 2014 at 15:24 #

    Reblogged this on dliwcanis.

  69. February 9, 2014 at 15:41 #

    Money is not the issue. It is what you do with it that counts. Many people are self-abusers: smoking, drugs or gambling. These suck out the benefits of living.

    The answer is in God above. There are Bible scriptures to bring you hope. Jesus said, “You will have the poor with you always.” Deuteronomy 15:11.

    The greatest commandment is to love others as you love yourself. Mark 12:31. It is easy to love those who love you but Christ teaches us to love our enemies. Luke 6:27.

    Start with self-examination. You cannot solve the world’s problems because Christ has already done that. Jesus said, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

    If you worried or discontent read on, ” If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” Job 36:11

    Do not worry, Christ has you covered with his blood. A simple prayer reunites you to him. Pray: Lord, I am a sinner, forgive me and reunite me with you. I love you come into my heart. I look forward to living with you now to eternity.

    I am happy to share this with you and answer your questions of where are we going, Christ is the answer. We are never too old to learn we been created, loved and forgiven. I love you in Christ, Amen!

    • February 9, 2014 at 16:42 #

      Though I respect and value religion in our modern lives – especially to remind us of what matters – I think it’s unrealistic to recite Biblical passages and think that Jesus will save us. I think God speaks through us and gives us insights to take action, not to pass the buck.

      • February 10, 2014 at 16:05 #

        I am sorry you feel this way. He did create you and he has a lot to do with it. If you read your Bible you would understand. Otherwise, you are in the dark. My prayers are with you. Thank you for allowing me to share.

      • February 10, 2014 at 16:57 #

        I’ve read the Bible. I went through confirmation (Lutheran). But I also learnt that God works THROUGH us, not for us. We need to act with God’s guidance, not sit back and wait for something to happen. It’s the Christian thing. The current Pope is setting a great example.

      • February 10, 2014 at 17:03 #

        Faith is what builds character in men. God does the rest.

  70. February 9, 2014 at 15:43 #

    Reblogged this on Inspiration Poetry and commented:
    Look forward to a new hope in Christ…

  71. February 9, 2014 at 17:27 #

    Scary

  72. February 9, 2014 at 17:40 #

    I worked for UPS and Kroger. For being union the pay is still $8.50 starting at the former and a buck less in the latter. FedEx and other supermarkets pay better and they’re not even union. Since jobs have become global, aka “offshore investments”, the unions have become powerless. Unless the Occupy movement takes hold and changes that.

  73. February 9, 2014 at 18:58 #

    The paycheck to paycheck percentage is 68%? Lousy. Well, at least I don’t feel alone. Heading to that Facebook page now.

  74. February 9, 2014 at 20:28 #

    I’m sorry but this kind of pie in the sky, head in the ground post riles me.

    To quote: “what happens when unemployment sours”, “I’m afraid where this is headed.”

    Where the hell have you been? It soared ages ago.

    I don’t know which quasi urban fantasy you guys live in, but people are getting houses repossessed. The world is in a recession.

    Our countries are now the third world, while those countries we outsource to are becoming the rich ones.

    Take a look beyond your 15,000 dog walking picket fence, can’t spend $50 on tupperwear asses and see the families trying to provide for their kids with $50 a month!

    • February 9, 2014 at 22:24 #

      Not sure if you are trying to argue with me, but I think we are 100% in agreement. :)

      • February 9, 2014 at 22:41 #

        Wasn’t arguing just pointing out, I like your writing

      • February 9, 2014 at 23:01 #

        Thanks. :) I admit I was being soft…but I want people to listen…baby steps!

  75. February 9, 2014 at 20:40 #

    This is a great read. It is congruent with the big picture I’ve been seeing as I finish my education in nuclear medicine technology. The healthcare industry is not what it used to be. Then again, not many industries are these days.

  76. February 9, 2014 at 20:42 #

    Reblogged this on jimmymeas and commented:
    Great read for those going to college, are in college, or have graduated since then

  77. February 10, 2014 at 02:00 #

    Reblogged this on Conversations Over Tea and commented:
    Thought this was something that my lovely readers should read. Enjoy.

  78. February 10, 2014 at 02:45 #

    According to Professor Hans Rosling in his talk for the BBC on Overpopulation called ‘Don’t Panic’, the statistician explains that in parts of the world (Bangladesh being of central focus) due to the decrease in the number of children per family, the amount of poverty stricken people is also falling, which would suggest that there are jobs enough, so long as population is controlled, which according to him it is;- if Bangladesh is improving along with similar countries, in a period of 40 to 50 years, then it seems that Western countries, which he explains are in the higher brackets of earnings & have only improved, must necessarily be in relatively comfortable, improving conditions (that is if Professor Rosling is not pulling our legs).
    I am not well versed on these issues, I try, but being more interested in other themes, I fall far from the mark of having a valid opinion, as I tend to pull the wool over my eyes; however, after watching this documentary, and previously believing in the hopelessness of the economic situation and humanity’s future, finding solace in ignorance, I now see a different perspective, one of hope. Rosling’s talk is worth watching

    • February 10, 2014 at 16:59 #

      I’ve met Hans (had dinner with him in Auckland may years ago). I don’t think he would simplify it that much. He’s a statistician and understands that there is a lot more at play. I think population control is a factor, but not the only one.

      • February 10, 2014 at 22:48 #

        Probably not. However, he does in his talk. Seems an amiable gent, probably trying to give some hope to folk. What did you chat about?

      • February 11, 2014 at 01:31 #

        His life in Sweden (if it’s idyllic compared to the US where his son moved) and whether data tells the whole story or not. :)

      • February 11, 2014 at 12:24 #

        It is tough to give so much gravity to statistics, I agree with you there. Sweden is a comfy place to live.

  79. Kenneth McLennan
    February 10, 2014 at 06:13 #

    Thanks for adding to the momentum. At some point very few will afford to buy anything and that’s when people will have to trade their skills, knowledge, produce, and any other resources at hand with others for the things they need. Unless we can generate enough tax to provide us all with stipends as you suggest.

  80. February 10, 2014 at 06:16 #

    It seems very possible that the rapid development of technologies such as robotics, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence will prove very disruptive to our current labor market, and will greatly exacerbate our already high poverty and inequality.

    Unfortunately America has proven very inept at addressing these issues due to the ascension of anarchy (i.e., libertarianism) as the dominant meme of political thought, in which the intrinsic moral decrepitude of the poor and the absolute evil of all societal (i.e., government) actions are accepted as truth and the source of all problems.

    Thus unemployment benefits are not extended, food stamp allowances are cut, the government is defunded.

    We must change the conversation, change the meme, change the polls. Hope arises! Occupy! $15 minimum wage! It begins with our voices, unafraid, challenging. Thanks for yours, Tara!

    The solution is both political (a post-capitalist economic model and a new moral order) and technological.

    While new technology disrupts, it also promises to yield incredible wealth and freedom. What will the world look like when energy, transportation and information are essentially free, and the production of wealth and capital no longer depend on labor as an input?

    We must be very smart, very engaged and very careful, because yes, we can mess this up. But if we get it right, we will be living in a brave, new, exciting, innovative, incredibly free post-capitalist world.

  81. February 10, 2014 at 06:41 #

    This article is reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano, where everything was automated and the only people who worked were the Managers and the Engineers. Kind of crazy how technology could actually make that a reality.

    • February 10, 2014 at 16:58 #

      I’ll have to read it! Thanks!

  82. Jen
    February 10, 2014 at 08:10 #

    Really though out piece and good points. It does drive me a little nuts when people take a stand against “Corporate Greed” or “Corporate America” or the “Elite” and spend all their time shouting or tweeting or sharing articles, but don’t look at their own habits and lives. I include myself in this, which is why I stopped shouting and tweeting about it, and am trying to explore more how I can change my own behavior. Or prepare a little better. It’s not easy. Like you, I’ve made my living in marketing, and what I am passionate about — creative writing — is not something that brings in the bucks to afford the life I created (husband, house, three kids) and need to now sustain. It’s not an easy solution for those of us 35+ let’s say. But I hope enough young single people might see the larger picture and both make better decisions and help guide the rest of us towards a smarter more sustainable future.

  83. February 10, 2014 at 17:34 #

    Reblogged this on emilyaclayden.

  84. February 11, 2014 at 05:23 #

    Reblogged this on Between the Beats.

  85. February 11, 2014 at 07:17 #

    When my parents came to visit me in Thailand, one thing my mother loved about this “poor developing country” was the fact that everybody here WORKS! There is no unemployment to collect from the government here. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Even the disabled must beg on the street to earn their living. Grandparents become baby-sitters for their grandchildren in exchange for their children taking care of them in their old age.

    I live in the small remote city of Pai, which is basically a maze of small businesses. To buy everything on my list, I have to go to four different shops, one for diapers, one for bread, one for fresh vegetables, one for ham and cheese. Twice a week the open market comes to town, which is a great place to look for fresh food and common goods from a hodgepodge of indepedenant vendors. Sometimes I miss Wal-mart, and the convinience of being able to buy everything in one place. But then again, I know all the shop owners that I visit, and they know me and my kids. And I am helping them stay in business.

    Yes, I worry about where the US is headed. It’s one reason I live HERE. My brother-in-law lost income when his corn field flooded, so his wife opened a tiny little food shop in their village. They wound up making twice what they would have made on the corn. Real shame an American can’t do that in a financial crisis, as they’d have to go through health inspections, the FDA, a business licsence, etc. etc. etc. My brother-in-law wanted to open a shop…so he opened a shop. End of story.

    Not to say Thailand doesn’t have its own problems (have you heard about our protest?), but there’s something to be said about a remote little town here with no Wal-mart.

  86. February 11, 2014 at 13:54 #

    Reblogged this on The Wrecking Bull.

  87. February 11, 2014 at 14:59 #

    Reblogged this on Mr Seah (dotcom!).

  88. February 11, 2014 at 22:13 #

    Most of your data is incorrect and/or scewed, but i agree with most of the things you are saying. Jobs are impossible to find, even in Canada.

    • February 11, 2014 at 22:13 #

      Some*

      • February 12, 2014 at 12:08 #

        I took my data from US Stats unless otherwise indicated.

  89. February 12, 2014 at 03:41 #

    Wrote this today.
    http://kttalks.com/2014/02/11/bleeding-heart
    I’m ready to think different.

  90. February 12, 2014 at 11:28 #

    Reblogged this on Beasley Green and commented:
    There’s something rotten in the state of… well not Denmark as Hamlet rightly suspected but in the state in general. Amongst some the mood is growing that this Capitalism thing has run its course and it’s time to think of a better way. An interesting read courtesy of Sara Hunt – and she works in marketing!

    • February 12, 2014 at 12:08 #

      pssst. TARA Hunt. ;) And thanks!

  91. February 13, 2014 at 00:44 #

    What do you suppose an appropriate change would be?

  92. February 13, 2014 at 08:05 #

    Smart

  93. February 13, 2014 at 08:06 #

    :)

  94. February 13, 2014 at 10:11 #

    Reblogged this on HollingsworthExperssion .

  95. February 13, 2014 at 16:56 #

    Reblogged this on freedomcantwait and commented:
    Amazing

  96. February 13, 2014 at 19:58 #

    I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately too. However, I think this crisis can really catalyze people (especially unemployed and underemployed youth) to come up with a new vision –yup, even utopian ones–for our culture that are NOT based on the status quo. (Easier to rock the boat when it’s already shaky as people tend to be less willing to rock when they believe it’s stable.) I’m working on some six-week “visioneering” workshops in Silicon Valley and Andalusia, Spain (about 60/70% young people are unemployed and my ancestry goes back to that part of the world, so there’s a personal interest). Oikos is the Greek root for economy, ecology, ecosystem–fundamentally it means managing a home well. There’s ecosystems of support for VC-backed visions, yet there are other dreams, desires, inspirations, creations, solutions that people have for contributing to society that don’t fit into being the next Google or next gadget nor that short-term investment model of venture capital (i.e. Fred Wilson’s piece on crowdfunding, JOBS Act, etc — http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/04/can-the-crowd-be-more-patient.html).

    Keep in touch Tara, I’ll email you as well as to what I’m up to as there might be synergy with what you’re talking about. Thanks for addressing this topic so passionately and articulately.

    (p.s. See also my most related and recent post, http://evelynrodriguez.typepad.com/crossroads_dispatches/innovating-to-your-hearts-delight-workshop-hubs.html)

    • February 14, 2014 at 15:09 #

      Evelyn! LONG time, no talk (such a shame, because I love our interactions). Would love to hear more about what you are doing. I’ll definitely read your post!

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