Monday, April 5, 2010

THE MYTH OF EMPLOYMENT IN AMERICA

OESTERHOUDT STRIKES

Over the next few days, I will write several interrelated essays about employment in the United States. I often write about employment, both in expository and in satirical form. But in these essays, I want to methodically go to the heart. I want to write "Oesterhoudt's Manifesto" on employment in America.

I believe that America has a dangerous "employment fetish." It has completely warped people's minds. True, America has always been "all about work." Yet in recent decades, the line between life and work has blurred considerably. People fanatically give themselves over to their employment without a second thought. They sacrifice what little dignity they have serving a master for comparatively little compensation. And they chase employment like the Holy Grail: A whole social system of propaganda has grown up around the idea that "you must have a job;" and that you should be ashamed of yourself if you don't.

But it is not easy to get a job these days. After all, everyone wants one, and they do not just magically appear. You can't watch the news without hearing about America's "critical job situation." Most people cannot understand why it is so difficult to get jobs. I will explain that the archetypal private sector job is no entitlement. Rather, it is a matter of grace.

In my essays, I plan to utter the final word about the employment "hustle" in America. To do this, I will explain what private sector jobs mean in strictly economic terms. I plan to explain that "jobs" are not rewards for employees. Rather, they are calculated investments in which the employer gambles that human labor capacity will make him a profit. If he does, wonderful. But jobs mean employer expense, too. And if a job costs more than it yields, out goes the employee, even a former "Employee of the Month."

Jobs are simple mathematics: If they cost more than they generate, they are gone.

This is why I recoil from all the rhetoric about "private sector job creation." It is impossible to stimulate job creation without flushing private employers with cash. Employees are expensive investments; and employers can only gamble on investments if they have money. In this light, private employment depends on healthy economic times for the employer. If he's not making a profit in his field, he won't be hiring anyone, even Superman. In brief, it is impossible to talk about "job creation" in the abstract. Only the changeable winds of private market economics dictate whether more employees get to feed at the employer's profit trough.

I also plan to write about the social mythology that pervades discourse about employment. To deconstruct the myths, I will explore language relating to employment. In the past, I have debunked commerce by exploring common commercial words and their etymologies. Now, I will debunk employment by exploring words like "job," "occupation," "career" and "profession." I will dive into etymology to analyze what conceptual complexes operate in these words. In the end, I will show that employment is nothing to glorify. Rather, I will demonstrate that it is just a crude, unfair system that perpetuates social inequalities and obliterates individuality in society.

I will begin addressing these issues tomorrow. As I have mentioned in recent weeks, my schedule has become somewhat more hectic lately. I will do my best to write all the essays on employment this week. But just in case I miss a day, you can attribute it to my exciting new schedule.

Thanks for reading!

Oesterhoudt

1 comment:

MaxThrust said...

I look forward to it!!!