Here’s a quote from a columnist I will not name (but of course you can follow the link and see who he is, I don’t steal anyone’s work intentionally).
I just wanted to post it unattributed at first because it so closely aligns with what I feel is going on with today’s economy, especially the US economy and most especially in the sub-set of that economy that deals with jobs that I didn’t want anyone to have preconceived notions before they read and reflected on the words.
Disappointing job number this morning. Still, a month is just a month, right? Well, not quite.
Here’s the way I think about the economic news: each piece of data tells us something about which model of recovery is right. More specifically, each disappointing piece of data strengthens the case of the pessimists.
From the beginning, there have been two schools of thought about the likely path of recovery. One school — strongly represented among Wall Street economists — said that the 2008-2009 recession should be compared with other deep US recessions: 1957 (the “Edsel” recession), 1974-5, 1981-2. These recessions were followed by rapid, V-shaped recoveries.
The other school of thought said that this was a postmodern recession, very different in character from those prior deep recessions, and that it was likely to be followed by a prolonged “jobless recovery”. Added to that were worries based on the historical aftermath of financial crises, which tends to be prolonged and ugly…
Is this guy right? Well of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and nobody really knows the future until after the future is already in the past.
But I do think this view is correct in many ways, although I disagree that even if it is correct we have to call it “pessimistic”. It might well be optimistic if we structure our thinking and the way we earn our living differently.
Some of you may be wondering why I am writing so much about jobs, both ‘conventioal’ jobs and the kind of career move any one of us can “construct” for themselves if we chose to. Truth is, it’s an experiment based on what I think people want to read here. So far it’s an experiment that seems to be heading in the right direction, because measurements like number of page reads, returning visitors, time “on site” per visitor have been increasing in a very gratifying manner.
I’ve also received an increasing number of comments, many of which have more “meat” than the usual message. This blog is primarily about my move to the Philippines, my “empowered” retirement in the Philippines, reason why you might or might not want to be in the Philippines with me, etc. But to a larger extent, I feel I have a certain duty to warn of clear and present danger, as I see it.
Od course, I could be wrong. I claim no special expertise, and even those with expertise often stumble. But in another way, perhaps because I have a different perspective on America because I live outside the country and get a different view, this New Year season is very disturbing to me.
I recently postulated that the first 10 years of the new century were pretty much wasted, in terms of our country’s opportunity to make a new start in a new century. On the one hand I am very hopeful, still, that 2010 can be used as a launch pad for that new start … desperately needed.
On the other hand I am less and less hopeful that it will come to pass … and I feel a little like a guy standing next to a bridge that is washed out, watch people drive down the freeway at 75 per towards instant destruction and doing nothing in the way of warning.
So even tough many of you don’t want to watch me, and even though some of you think you already know about the hazard, if I can save just one of you from plunging into the canyon, hey, bits and words are free, so that is what this current emphasis on jobs, both here in the Philippines and there in the USA is all about.
It’s all related to the Philippines and Philippine living in one way or another … whether it is the difference between you being able to retire and ive where and how you want, or whether it becomes a question of you filing bankruptcy or else “economy-birding” over here to the Philippines to ride things out, it all relates … or so Dave opines.
So what has my message been? Stop desperately trying to find a job, or, in particular, stop pinning your hopes of moving to the Philippines on the slim chance of you finding a job here, especially as a foreigner, which will pay you enough to realize your dream. It’s a negative way to go about making your dream happen, it is by far the hardest way to attempt to make your dream happen (Hint, work smarter, not harder) and it really borders on insanity here in the year 2010.
Insanity? isn’t that a bit strong, Dave? Well perhaps it is, but it is the absolute truth. One very intelligent definition of insanity (credited to Albert Einstein, among others) is:
“To repeat the same actions over and over again and expect different results.”
Based on this definition, there is a lot of insanity in the news these days. The recent “Cash for Clunkers” program is an example of insane thinking. The US auto industry was not in crisis, the so-called ‘big three’ were. (Since the C4C program ended, Mazda has now eclipsed Chrysler as number 3).
American’s want/need cars and millions of Americans are, and will continue to be employed making cars and the ancillary jobs that make up the auto industry economy. But who decided that Ford, GM and Chrysler were ‘too big’ to fail, and worth dumping billions down the drain to ‘save jobs’?
More than 2,000 auto manufactures have failed in the USA since we had an auto industry … some were even huge, and some even produced a very good product. But who misses Hudson or Studebaker, for example? And who thinks the government did the wrong thing in letting them fail?
So without getting into a deeper argument about what car marques were good and bad, and about how the government did or didn’t save auto industry jobs, let’s think about this on a deeper level.
Chrysler, one of the companies we worked so hard to save, is already sold (or being sold) to another country, and has already been eclipsed by a “foreign” company. Chery, a company based in China, already makes a quite adequate four-seat mini-sedan that sells, brand new in China for about $5,000 USD.
So should we, as a country, continue to pour money down the drain to preserve last century auto jobs when it is clear that the future is cheap cars from China?
I mean you’re reading these words on an Asian manufactured monitor, hooked to an Asian-built computer, sitting in (very likely) a Chinese-made swivel chair, and in the background is a TV from Taiwan or some other Asian country murmuring away.
We used to make every one of these consumer items in the USA … but is it wrong that we now buy them from a more efficient supplier? Why would you even want a job based on technology which is clearly on the move?
For at least the last 4 presidents (and I think that makes things politically balanced between the R’s and the D’s) of the USA I have heard the same claptrap about retraining people and modernizing our labor force. And every single one of the four has just been, to put it succinctly, as full of shit as the one before him.
Why isn’t the government promoting entrepreneurship and especially on-line, portable work instead of trying to “prop up’ the oil industry, the auto industry, the big money banks demonstrably operated by cooks or incompetents, or both?
I don’t know. Ask your elected representatives. But i do know the government efforts over the past four administrations has been nothing short of efforts to preserve a buggy whip economy. Why would you even want the government to enslave your grandchildren with debt to save these essentially outdated jobs, even if one of them is yours? What if there was a much better way, under your control?
My long-term goal, and your long-term opportunity for thought is, why not start today and equip yourself to crate your own future. To cease to even give a care if US job figures go up and down, to literally build for yourself, your own children and even your grandchildren a better future … where you are neither commercial not government slave, and where you exist with virtually no debt, monetary, or ethically?
I know many who read this are doubtful … and I never said it was easy … only that it was doable. But if I can make even one or two of you, especially men and women with families who depend upon you … if I can make even one student saddling himself or herself with lifetime student loan to get a degree in ‘business’ … ‘business’ of the last century, then my work will be well worth my time.
Thanks for reading and, most importantly, thinking. Comments welcome.