May 21, 2020

GETTING RID OF JOBS ALLOWS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SKILLS:

Americans Have Rediscovered Self-RelianceThe lockdowns are prompting Americans to relearn skills and revive almost-forgotten habits. (J.D. TUCCILLE | 5.20.2020, reason)

By preference and by necessity, people are rediscovering that they can do many things for themselves that they'd grown accustomed to outsourcing. They've acquired or honed skills that they may have never before thought they'd need, but are required in a world where conveniences disappeared overnight and creatively making-do is--as for past generations--how you live from day to day.

Whether Americans want to continue doing for themselves after the lockdowns ease and life returns to some form of normal depends on how much they enjoy the experience; many will pick a life of convenience if that's back on the menu. But harsh reality may dictate an extension of the DIY experiment for some time to come.

"The mean perceived probability of losing one's job in the next 12 months increased 2.4 percentage points to 20.9% in April," the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported last week. Voluntary social distancing efforts and mandatory lockdown orders alike have taken a brutal toll on the economy. Tens of millions of Americans are out of work--the official April unemployment rate was 14.7 percent, with worse to come.

Uncertain about the future, Americans are holding on to money rather than spending. The personal savings rate is now 13.1 percent, the highest level since 1981.

Worried about the future and stashing cash as a hedge against risk, many--not all, but certainly a good number--of Americans will continue cooking, baking, brewing, gardening, and repairing. They'll do so if only because it provides them what they want at lower cost than paying others to do it for them. They'll do it, too, because, having acquired the requisite skills, they no longer have to wait on somebody else's availability or permission. They can make or build what they want--within limits, of course, but much broader ones than before--without depending on the pleasure of others.

And when the pandemic and lockdown restrictions finally pass, something important will be left behind. Remaining in the wake of the crisis will be hard-learned skills and the confidence and sense of self-reliance for using them. We might wish these lessons had come more easily, but learn them we did, and they will help shape the world to come.



Posted by at May 21, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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