The future of work in America

September 4, 2012

(Credit: Larsinio/Wikimedia Commons)

Technology and the Web are destroying far more jobs than they create. We will need to develop a “Third Way” based on community rather than the Market or the State to adapt to this reality, novelist and economic commentator Charles Hugh Smith writes on Business Insider.

“The Internet is destroying vast income streams that once supported tens of thousands of jobs in industries from finance to music. Craigslist has gutted the once-immense income stream from newspapers, and web-based marketing has shredded print-media advert page counts. Global competition and pressure to maintain profits and margins relenetlessly drives enterprises to slash payrolls.


(Credit: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

“As a society, we need to admit that ‘free-market’ capitalism is not going to bring back these lost jobs. Thanks to technology, society is capable of meeting basic human needs (food, clothing, shelter, transportation) with far fewer workers percentage-wise than were needed in the past. But as a society, we also need to admit that socialistic solutions won’t work either.

“I see community as the only viable way forward. Many aspects of human life cannot be turned into a ‘market opportunity,’ nor can they be taken over by the insolvent central-planning Central State. Paying people to stay home and rot is not a solution, but neither is paying people more than they produce in competitive markets.

“There is a ‘Third Way,’ but we’ve lost the skills and infrastructure required. Of the three elements of civil society, the Market and the State have crowded out Community. We either re-discover the labor-value of community or we devolve further into a potentially “death spiral” social and financial instability.”