Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Idiocy is Metastasizing

George Packer joins in the refusal to accept that a radically unequal society with fewer chances for social mobility leads to people being  brutalized and giving up:
Is it disappearing jobs, or disappearing values? This isn’t an analytical choice I find very useful. Jobs and values are intertwined: when one starts to go, the other is likely to go with it, and the circle becomes truly vicious. A textile factory moves south of the border, and a town loses its mainstay of employment. Former textile workers scurry to find fast-food and retail positions. The move from blue-collar to service work is brutal, and over time some employees lose the will to stick it out in a hateful job. Their children do even worse. Soon enough there are two or three generations of one family on government help, and kids grow up without a model of the work ethic. When a technology plant opens in the area (with a fifth the number of jobs as the textile factory), few locals are remotely qualified to work there. It’s a dismally familiar story—but is it a story of jobs or values? The obvious answer is both, which is why no one’s five-point solutions or three-word slogan is convincing.
Read the story over: Meaningful jobs disappear and society fall apart when someone realizes that land is cheap and builds a factory that is insufficient for the reserve labor army in any event the social damage done by the narrow-minded seeking after profit, aka outsourcing or globalization, means that no one is "able" to work there. See he concludes, all evidence from his hypothetical to the contrary, its the loss of values that makes the louts unemployable not the redirection of profit from those workers to Mitt Romney and the rest of the riches.

I understand there is must be huge degree of guilt associated with success in a rigged system and I understand that one way around the guilt is a comfortable story of the self-imposed immorality of the losers causing their loserdom.  But really, you think they'd be better at telling this twice told tale.

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