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Robert Patterson has an interesting post on his blog about job creation and the magnitude of the problem we're facing: Krugman - Bernanke’s Unfinished Mission - And More.
He makes an important point that I think is lurking in the back of people's minds, but almost always goes unsaid. We're not going back. This is not temporary. This is a trend playing itself out in some very painful ways for far too many people:
I don’t think many people grasp just how much job creation we need to climb out of the hole we’re in. You can’t just look at the eight million jobs that America has lost since the recession began, because the nation needs to keep adding jobs — more than 100,000 a month — to keep up with a growing population. And that means that we need really big job gains, month after month, if we want to see America return to anything that feels like full employment.It's a great post in that he talks about previous times in history where we've seen massive changes in the nature of work. He has a nice piece on the enclosure movement, but I disagreed with his cause-and-effect. His conclusion, however, I think is spot on:
I commented over on Robert's blog, but decided I would copy those comments here. I'm writing (elsewhere) on this right now, and would love some discussion from my blog readers:There are NO JOBS TO GO BACK TO. Just as there was no village and rural work in 1840.
Very interesting post.
I take some exception to your conclusions around the cause and effect of the enclosure movement. I don't think it was advances in agricultural practices that drove people off of the land and into the cities. I think what happened was mostly economic, and that it might have been the need for labor to fuel the industrial revolution that led to the social engineering that manifested itself in enclosure.
There were two factors at play: the need for labor; and the requirement for agriculture to be more productive in order to feed the now dependent workers. Most of the advances in scientific agriculture began to happen in the later part of the 1800s. The industrial revolution was in full swing at that time. It wasn't so much scientific advances in agricultural production that happened at that time as it was changes in production practices. Many of the changes in agriculture production systems were not sustainable (e.g. soil depletion and pest issues with monoculture) and the science to inform the problems was lagging.
Which brings me back to work... The changes brought in the industrial revolution were not worker (or even people) friendly. (16 hour work days, child labor, slavery...) Not only do we need a return to more sustainable farming practices, we need a return to more sustainable and natural systems of working (pre-enclosure).
We're obviously starting into the big morph. Where the jobs of old are not being created, and we're never going to "grow" ourselves out of the current mess, we can hope that what emerges from the ashes might be more people and planet friendly. Unfortunately for many they may never make it through the transition. Others will adapt and do fine. One person's disaster becomes another's opportunity.