The Second Economy and Job Creation
Job creation is one of the hardest things to address right now because the issues involved are in no way easy. We may know the problems, but not necessary the reasons why so many struggle. It is very easy to stereotype and generalize, as individuals like to take anecdotes and apply them broadly. While our economy is recovering from a financial and housing crisis that did untold damage to the economy, that is not the only problem effecting our job market. There are deep structural changes that are rippling there way through the economy.

The great recession triggered waves of layoffs, but there was a slow movement in the labor market happening years before the great recession even became a reality. When I was a policy analyst I saw the stagnation of real wages for most Americans, in fact it was a commonly known phenomenon. We were aware of the role of outsourcing and the Wal-Mart effect had on wage stagnation, but we also understood there were other structural changes happening as well. Changes related to subtle adaptations in technology that allowed for greater productivity, that were escalating. If somebody wanted to know why wage growth and productivity are disconnected, this is part of the reason why.

In most recessions employment bounces back rather quickly, but this one is fundamentally different, structural changes that were slowly happening before the recession began to escalate and cement themselves during it. Entire professions took major hits, largely in middle-class and middle skilled jobs that were routine in nature. The makeup of the economy is being fundamentally altered, in ways that necessitate few people as human tasks became increasingly automate. It may be a good time to be an analyst or engineer, but for many others the structural nature of the economy now is difficult to adapt too. Transitioning from one job to another became more difficult, as lateral moves became less likely when similar careers are often effected by the same forces. Moving up also became less likely as upward mobility often requires education out of reach for many.

Despite what the author says, this cannot be "reversed", only addressed in the long term. However, the right set of social and political conditions need to be in place to address the issues that arise as a result of the emergence software technologies. As it is often noted, society often lags technology. Politicians may talk about how they will bring back jobs, but the talking points are often rather dated or dis-proven concepts for an industrial economy, the problem is we are no longer in an industrial economy, and even the service economy is fading. Bringing jobs back is not something that can be done when the old systems have little place in a new world, and have declined. Additionally, taking the Luddite route is significantly flawed, ultimately the technology and jobs question can be answered but it does require a fresh perspective.

I do not think technology is even at the core of the issue, it is only the current actor. The problem may be the fact that the gaps in our social and economic fabric may becoming more apparent as society moves forward technologically. Emerging technologies may be creating a second economy as a result of creative destruction, but the issues are ultimately a result of societal priorities that may have been misplaces. There are structural issues at the foundation level that existed for decades, that only became more apparent with this shift.
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