August 19, 2014
NO ONE ACTUALLY BELIEVES IN THE DIGNITY OF LABOR:
No Jobs But Crappy Jobs: The Next Big Political Issue? : The mass frustration is surely there. What's missing is a mainstream national leader who will make this cause a prime election issue. (ROBERT KUTTNER, AUGUST 19, 2014, American Prospect)
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2014 5:36 PMThe shift in labor markets, from an economy where regular payroll employment is the norm, to one where more of us are performing odd jobs, or have regular jobs with indeterminate schedules, ought to be the top domestic political issue. There should be an emergent political consciousness that regular people are getting screwed solely so that greater profits can go to corporations, executive, and private equity speculators.Are we on the cusp of a breakthrough, where this issue bursts into public consciousness and cannot be ignored, the way the civil rights movement finally broke through in the late 1950s?The mass frustration is surely there. What's missing is a mainstream national leader who will make this cause a prime election issue.Why do politicians address these widely felt injustices mainly at the level of platitude? Because the remedies would require a transformation of who runs the economy, and of how we regulate labor markets.Three decades ago, corporations in retailing and other service industries faced essentially the same variation in the need for staffing over days or weeks. But they didn't expect their employees to bear all of the cost. Unemployment insurance covered far more of the cost of genuinely seasonal work such as construction.Though the Times series cites use of new computer technology that makes it easier for employers to monitor fluctuating demand for services and to reduce ever more employees to on-call status, this shift is mainly not about new technology; it's about a power shift.