Saturday, January 08, 2011

Jobs and Progress

The latest Jobs Report is out, with mixed messages.  This Financial Times write-up was clearly unimpressed.  The Democratic leadership on the Hill is more upbeat as is FoxNews.  NPR dissects it, and the rate of job creation is a sticking point.  Bernanke's view is that we won't be climbing out of this before 2015.  Over at Time there is an article that points out where the jobs may be, and the growing gap between those with the education and skills to get those jobs and those who lack both.  I fear we may soon find ourselves with a segment of the population that is permanently unemployed due to a lack of education and skills in a country hobbled by the fiscal mess we are still in.   

The bottom line is that we are in for a long, tough slug by American standards.  A population accustomed to 24/7 availability and near instant action is going to be challenged to rearrange it's expectations.  Good thing too because, if we are to believe John Michael Greer, in about 10 years we will be undeniably sliding down the energy descent hill, complete with a significant change in living standards.  The happy talk about the jobs report is consistent with the Mythology of Progress that Greer discusses.

The interview (click on the pod button next to the title) runs a bit over an hour, but is worth listening to.  I don't agree with everything Greer has to say about Transition Towns, especially given his advice to not impose your beliefs on people about what is coming.  Nonetheless, I think his perspective on how things will play out over time, and the general advice to be a participating member of whatever community you are in, is spot on.

I have put up some info before about China's ascendancy.  Pay close attention to Comment 5 at the link by "Bill".  Keep in mind that the US' overall ranking in education globally is considered "average".  The Chinese are outperforming us in reading, math and science.  The commenter notes feedback from a friend who taught English in China.  I applaud the Chinese for their commitment to improving their lives.  I wish we had that much commitment at all levels of our society.  It might help us navigate through the rough waters ahead.

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