Monday, November 22, 2010

Decline and Fall of the American Empire?

American Psychosis by Chris Hedges

While I do not agree with the author in his analysis of how the culture of America is driving it to collapse, I think there is a fundamental problem in that, there will continue to be a mismatch between available jobs, the skills required to perform them, and the availability of a workforce was skills matching those required.

Our public education system has declined to the point where it is functionally useless. There is no quick and simple fix for the barriers which make it impossible for 18-year-olds to be sufficiently intellectually competent to qualify for additional training. Moreover, given the financial straits in which universities and colleges find themselves, they are little prepared to receive the many who might seek postsecondary education, and even less prepared to prepare those students who do attend to enter the workforce with the skills it requires.

Even were it the case that a skilled workforce existed, at this point there simply are not jobs regardless of the level of training possessed by individual workers. Employers have either found ways to replace workers with automation or other technology, or they simply do not have enough revenue for them to be willing to hire additional workers. The costs of health care, retirement, and other benefits have become simply so prohibitive that employers are unable to determine with certainty the productivity of additional workers.

It is without this very revenue to workers that prevents what used to be the largest contribution in tax revenue, that which came from consumer activity, from once again increasing. That lack of consumer activity is the very factor which stands in the way of producing the revenue that local governments, state governments, and the federal government all require to get the country out of the economic hole in which it finds itself.

No comments: