Friday, November 4, 2011

Work, Making Things and Economics

A generation of college graduates faces record unemployment: an economic fact rising to the level of often repeated sound bites on cable news.

Several generations of blue collar workers offshored out of work: old news now, but still a daily reality for the people living it.

Not everyone can be an internet entrepreneur hacker artist marketer, etc.

So what are people supposed to do when the economy can't provide them with jobs?

There have been some interesting middle class trend stories floated: farming heirloom vegetables by hand, renting sheep as lawnmowers -- good adaptations by a few but not necessarily solutions for the many.

I remember when abandoned factories became news during the great deindustrialization of the previous century. I remember driving through the rustbelt and seeing the broken windows in the places where people used to make steel.

I don't know what the answers are, but I have a lot of questions.

And a few suggestions:

-- Invest in science as a national policy. Fund schools down to kindergarten to teach children that the world we live in runs on science, and they can be part of making things happen with science.

-- Invest in schools as a national policy. This is related. Crumbling schools lead to no good results for anyone.

-- End the useless wars, but keep the military employed -- give the people who serve more meaningful work building and fixing things here.

-- Invest in green industry as national policy for three reasons: to take the lead in green technology, to create jobs, and to help the planet.

I am grateful that I can work by tapping on keys to talk to people, and sometimes flying through the sky to see them in person. The internet started as a government program.

"abandoned factories" image search on Google

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