Friday, September 3, 2010

What of Jobs?

Here, Gerald F. Seib writes about jobs --- or more to the point, about the lack of  "enough" jobs in America.  His article is interesting, and it offers useful data about America's current and recently past unemployment rates.

Seib offers pseudo explanations of high unemployment rates now and recently from the mouths of several economists.  Of course, as usual, none of the "experts" seem to be singing from the same hymnal.  Once again the Dismal Science disappoints.

What none of the economists cited in Seib's article mention or speak of is that the natural state of humans is not to have a job. Notice that I did not say that the natural state of humans is not to work.

A job is working for someone else, following the directions of someone else, instead of working for one's self according to one's own direction to create valuable goods and services to exchange with others, which is the true source of income.

A job requires that individuals sacrifice autonomy, liberty, and self direction.  But to hear politicians of all stripes talk about it, jobs are just what we need, and we need more of them.  Of course we do; politicians like an obedient herd.

Here's a question.  What would each of us do if we found ourselves inhabiting the proverbial tropical island by ourselves?  We would work.  We would produce goods and services for ourselves.  We would not expect a job to appear for our taking.

Seib notes in his article,
"The American economy hasn't been a very robust jobs-producer for quite a while. That's the broader question that needs to be discussed, even as we work on the immediate problem." 
Indeed.  The immediate problem is a high and rising unemployment rate. The longer we keep looking to Washington to do something about the immediate problem, the longer the problem will continue.

Government does not and cannot create or even stimulate production of valuable goods and services.  Individual people do that.  But government can and does create moral hazard by its incessant claim that it is somehow responsible for creating jobs for the economy.  What utter nonsense.

If you would really like to know more about why the unemployment rate is so high just now and in the recent past, read Robert Barro's explanation here. On the other hand, if you are one of the unemployed, your time would be better spent by doing something about your joblessness yourself.  Take charge.  Produce valuable goods or services yourself, and exchange them for the goods and services of someone else.

That statement will doubtless sound cold and unsympathetic to lots of folks.  But blaming someone else for one's own lack of production of valuable goods or services really won't help. Worse still is looking to BHO and crew, or any other set of politicians to help the "economy" produce more jobs.

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