Category Archives: econmics

Quote for the Week

The United States is the Darwinist capital of the capitalist world. A head afraid is a head haunted. A head haunted is a head hunted. Run for your life. Run from the guillotine to a head hunter who saves your head and raises your salary—so you’ll be caught in the red of the fishmarket buying gadgets to distract your fragile imagination that is cut in the red market of blood—running and escaping—running again—changing your resume to update the fear you feel of being unemployed tomorrow—in the streets—and from there to welfare—and from there to begging.

Giannina Braschi, “United States of Banana,” AmazonCrossing, 2011. Courtesy of Wikiquotes

Entrepreneurs and Washing Each Other’s Laundry

I was reading this post on Megan McArdle’s blog at The Atlantic online yesterday.  It’s one of several places of late where I’ve heard what seems to be the current mantra for dealing with stubbornly intractable unemployment rates:  entrepreneurship.  The idea is that jobs that are well-defined and routine–those that have traditionally been stable, well-paying jobs that, while not exciting, could make for long-term employment and careers–are either being automated or outsourced.  Thus, the solution to this problem is said to be an increase in and encouragement of entrepreneurship, freelancing, and flexibility in the workforce.  McArdle quotes Arnold Kling, at the Library of Economics and Liberty site:

The paradox is this. A job seeker is looking for something for a well-defined job. But the trend seems to be that if a job can be defined, it can be automated or outsourced.  The marginal product of people who need well-defined jobs is declining. The marginal product of people who can thrive in less structured environments is increasing. That was what I was trying to say in my jobs speech.

The money quote from the end of the article, by McArdle herself,  is  “I don’t think it’s unfortunate that progress is being made, and a lot of fairly boring jobs are being eliminated.  I do think it’s unfortunate that people don’t like it.”

This is food for thought. Read the rest of this entry