America’s New Economy: Instability, Unemployment and Poverty

A must read piece from the Atlantic on what the American economy will look like in the coming years, and how it will affect a generation of people who must navigate its inherent instability. Here’s what I thought was the most telling line:

New jobs will come open in the U.S. But many will have different skill

requirements than the old ones. “In a sense,” says Gary Burtless, a

labor economist at the Brookings Institution, “every time someone’s

laid off now, they need to start all over. They don’t even know what

industry they’ll be in next.” And as a spell of unemployment lengthens,

skills erode and behavior tends to change, leaving some people

unqualified even for work they once did well.

This type of instability (or ‘flexibility’ as many right wing economists would call it) is the hall mark of neo liberal economics. Unstable labor markets and the free flow of capital means the middle and lower classes will live from pay check to pay check, renting rather than owning, living without health insurance and holding down multiple jobs to make ends meet.

It’s great for the owners of society, but not so much for everyone else. While those with capital have easy access to government money, those without must adhere to market principles. The effects of this after the most serious recession in 80 years are unknown, but they are unlikely to be good.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.