Free market capitalism is not capable of creating enough employment for the population that exists now.
There's been a lot of argy-bargy about the loss of jobs because of the coalition government's budget deficit cutbacks. I've stopped listening, mainly because most of the people who've been commenting about this are talking as though we're going to get back to some sort of "normality", but only of we do things their way. We're not going to move forward by trying to recreate the past, especially as what's happened in the past hasn't had a lot to do with planning. No, we've lurched along, behaving as though economic growth could continue forever, without considering the several elephants in the room.
As Goldfarb pointed out, the population has risen. It's still rising, and I don't mean from immigration. People in the developed world go on having babies because they like having babies and think they can afford them, and who'd be brave enough to tell them they shouldn't? A couple who were filmed for a BBC report about an area of high unemployment last week had several children, and so did all their neighbours. Though they were unemployed, they said they aimed to spend at least £2000 on their kids at Christmas. No money, and no sense. In the developing world, there are too many babies for different reasons.
No one has a right to a job. I've never believed that because it doesn't make sense. Any old job? Even producing toxic products or the tons of junk we cram into landfill? You hear it every time there's an industrial dispute; pickets saying they want their jobs back, whatever those jobs were, regardless of how unprofitable or unnecessary the business. No one has a right to a job that pays silly money. It's nonsense to claim that a six-figure salary is the "going rate". It's all artificial. Fifty years ago, even allowing for inflation, there wasn't such a huge differential between the highest and lowest paid. It snowballed, this culture of greed, and now it's melting.
We import too much food. During the war, we dug for victory. Before long, we'll have to do it again again. The British have got used to being able to buy cheap food. UK farmers are going out of business because of the derisory amount they're offered for products like milk, for example. We employ fewer people than ever on the land, due to automation. There are seasonal blips, when an army of foreign workers comes to pick our fruit and vegetables; British workers can't or won't work in the fields for a minimum wage. Now, with the financial crisis, consumers will expect their food to be even cheaper. It can't be. You can't have cheap food unless you're willing to grow it yourself, or someone's making a loss, or farmers overseas are growing cash crops that soak up all their precious water - and that's another developing crisis.
We waste resources producing stuff that no one really needs and that we can't afford, collectively, then we waste even more resources moving it about the country. Ever heard of peak oil? It's time for rationing, because it's running out. If we're sensible, and I'm afraid we're not, we'll stop wasting resources. That means that all those people involved with wasting them will be out of a job - HGV drivers, car manufacturers, oil central heating suppliers. And so on.
Currently, the jobs under threat are in public services. People want public services but don't like paying for them. If unemployment goes up (and it will) there won't be enough money to maintain public services as we've got used to them. Pared-down services, back to basics, like it or lump it...
And why is all this? Basically, too many people. You can't create jobs simply to keep people employed, so they'll have money to spend, ensure growth, and carry on regardless.
Stop whingeing. Get used to a simpler life style. Don't have more than two babies, preferably one or none. Be prepared to pay for food or grow your own, and do without luxuries, like foreign holidays.
What the politicians won't do, because some of them are as deluded as the majority and the rest are too chicken to spell things out, is take drastic action. You think what's happening now is drastic? Ha!
What can we do?
- Work at population control.
- Try a damn sight harder to reduce CO2 emissions.
- Eat less meat.
- Grow more food using traditional labour-intensive, crop-rotation methods.
- Encourage the development of new energy-saving technology in any way possible.
- Change planning laws to allow increased energy generation by natural means, ignoring nimby objections.
- Teach children more practical skills in schools, so they can make and fix things themselves.
- Penalise businesses that create waste and produce junk, and encourage socially useful businesses.