2040s BibliographyUncategorised

Basic Income and Employment Reality

    Elizabeth HazelThe mass expansion of living subsidies isn't a cause but a reaction to problems. Mechanization & computerization eliminated a hell of a lot of jobs for low-skill workers. Mechanized agriculture and the development of mass, industrialized farming profoundly changed the US. In 1910, something like 80% of the population was employed in farming; now its only a tiny percentage. Family farms are mostly a thing of the past.
    Computerization & automation also eliminated jobs. Then that was exacerbated by large corporations shipping jobs to places where wages were lower and the work force not unionized. This has had very negative effects on employment without much in the way of return benefits.

    Overseas manufacturing isn't a panacea, either. Some companies are bringing manufacturing back to the US because there's a more highly skilled labor force. The engineering time-gap is becoming a problem. Consumer appliances change very quickly now. It can take a year or more to change a product that's made overseas, but only a few months to re-tool in the US. Overseas manufacturers are problematic because of language barriers, lower production values, and the inability to guarantee that parts will follow specifications. If the part isn't made correctly, some overseas companies won't replace it for free, even if the mistake is clearly their fault. Shipping costs are astronomical, too. US companies are starting to realize that overseas manufacturing savings are to a great extent illusory.
    But in the meantime, the high unemployment and underemployment is destroying the consumer-based economy. Hence the growth of government subsidies to the underclass. The vast majority of food stamps are used by the working poor, not the unemployed. And there's a big under-employment problem too. Many of the working poor DO have college degrees - they just can't get work in their fields of study.

    All of which suggests that the current welfare problem doesn't have the same basis as Rome's welfare issues. Assuming that the growth of welfare is going to weaken the national work ethic is prejudicial, because it negates the FACT that welfare is going to the working poor, not to the unemployed.
    This makes welfare a wage issue, less than an unemployment issue. Higher wages would greatly reduce living subsidies. Suggesting that welfare is somehow a corrupting force that will precipitate national collapse ignores the fact that the expansion of demand for living subsidies is a result of corporate, not national, policies. Corporations have done everything they can to ensure that politicians have colluded in their plans to off-shore work, keep wages and working standards low, to prevent regulation of working & wage standards, etc., while also pushing politicians to boost government subsidies of industries, massive tax breaks, and other expansion of government contracts for armaments & privatization of services that in many cases has NOT proven to be an improvement over civil services operations.

    With the corporatocracy & kleptocracy running the political landscape, of course there is going to be massive waste and inequity, repression of green technologies, regulations to protect the environment, universal health care, and a burdening of middle and lower-class taxpayers for the very subsidies that allow corporations to control politicians.

    This is very, very different from the factors that precipitated the fall of Rome.