Monday, August 17, 2015

When information is money, and you also have to pay people to impart that information, education as a job guarantee becomes an exercise in diminishing returns.

As this article from indicates, job growth in what we've always called "Blue Collar" work isn't doing very well right now. And why should it when trade deals past and present make labor, even when it is trained, subject to the world's lowest price competitor. Capital, as well as the proprietary process that creates any end use item, can go anywhere in the world in less than a blink of the eye. And the end use item can be delivered virtually anywhere, in most cases, in no more than a matter of days. It doesn't matter to the wielders of capital where a thing is made, only how much it costs to make it.

But what ought to be really scary to those of you who probably already know these obvious parts of the economic cycle is that the electric acceleration of competition, coupled with the further acceleration of technological advancement, makes the requirement for new skills to be absorbed in ever decreasing time frames. Which leaves a new poster child of absurdity for us to behold: the consumer of training, having already taken on debt burdens (that also increase), has to pay for even more training. And then more training after that.

That, by itself, would be bad enough, but the thing we really don't pay nearly enough attention to is what this does to us as human beings. Of what being made to be more and more like machine tools in the snapping on, and then discarding, of one skill set after another. Never being allowed to become connected, in the long term, to the application of craft and a real relationship with our tools; the very things that help us express ourselves in meaningful ways.

And whether the tools are words, or applied machine languages, instrumentation, or the sharp edge of metal, or the mind, it does matter to the well being of an individual that they are allow the chance to become intimately familiar with their application long term. How are we to have any meaning otherwise? Do you really believe that simply getting some number of counters in remuneration will provide it? Regardless of what they might be traded for?

If you do then you are already a cyborg; a flesh machine waiting for the next skill mod to be plugged in so that more meaningless copies of someone else's idea of what might be marketable can be churned out. Not valuable in any human sense mind you, just marketable.

Why Job Growth Remains Mushy in the Middle After the Recession