Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chris Ladd — Ending the era of the “job”

A minimum wage, regardless how high it may be set, provides no relief to those without a job.


Our political and economic order came to be organized around the idea of a full-time job. A job is where we get money. A job is how we get access to health care. We enforce our notions of fair play, economic justice, and basic human rights by regulating the terms of a job. When Donald Trump sees a protestor at his rally he tells them to “get a job,” because good, decent citizens have jobs.

What happens when the same economic forces that only a short time ago created our concept of a job suddenly render that concept obsolete? We have already entered an era in which jobs are transient, popping into existence and then disappearing in a short span of time. Fewer Americans than ever before are ‘in the workforce’ by the terms we have defined. More and more people earn their money from activities that do not look like a job. That trend is accelerating.

Just a decade ago, about 100,000 Americans worked in the video rental industry. The largest employer in that business, Blockbuster, employed more than 60,000 people at its peak. If wages for corporate office employees are included, then the average worker at Blockbuster earned about $35,000 a year, adjusted for inflation. Today, more than 95% of those workers have lost their jobs.

Read the full article HERE.