Dealing with high unemployment
A very recent study by Oxford University reported that 47% of jobs in 700 occupations in the USA would disappear due to technology by around 2030; this is on top of the lost occupations due to downsizing the public and private sector due to the Big Picture headwinds described earlier; it would be intolerable to leave a high proportions of the population without a regular job. This is a potentially highly dangerous situation for in the past for, unless faced and countered, this has led in the past to major civil unrest – even revolutions. In addition politicians will have to deal with a growing proportion of the unemployed known as NEETS (not in employment, education or training) that the state can no longer afford to do nothing.
There is a model created by President Roosevelt in March 1933 which offered work and training for young men from homes with unemployment: it was called the Civilian Conservation Corps. The participants were housed in camps around the United States and supervised into practical work such as planting trees, restoring areas destroyed by logging or fires or building flood levees. A more modern requirement would be either locally, nationally or internationally based. The work would be supervised and there would be training that may be either remedial or helping individuals becoming self-employed. It would be essential for all those in recipient of transfer payments.
This new program that might be called the Conservation and Security Agency (CSA) would need to include a strong element of training individuals for self-employment in a new category of work. This would entail sub-dividing previous skills such as gardening, carpentry, plumbing, nursing, and the like, into component trades enabling individuals, who may never have worked, into being respected members of a community. The CSA could also act as mentors and agents for these individuals.
Is an essential policy for every nation which finds that only two percent are needed for government or agriculture, ten percent in manufacturing and perhaps forty percent in services. This is due to the factors identified earlier and also to technology that will need many fewer people in performing a wide range of industrial or service functions. There is also the problem of many graduates who are discovering that there is no market for their skills. There will also be a need to help those made destitute through a destruction of pensions or fixed incomes. These are some alternatives:
- Create centres of excellence for a wide range of trades or vocations given special tax facilities for training apprentices; there will be many opportunities whenever state services are unwound. These could attract financial help for those who wished to start on their own.
- Extend the use of franchising to replicate existing business in non-competitive areas. Franchising has a reputation for reducing the rate of failures compared to other start-ups.
- Introduce local bartering on the lines of the Local Exchange and Trading System that enables a wide variety of skills to be offered within a community.
- Unwinding the state and large organisations will create many opportunities for services that were previously only provided centrally.
- Pensioners should be encouraged to continue their use to provide professional or low-cost service to the increasing number of self-employed.
Move to the next part: The Digital Age