Imagine a society with 100 million adults, and all of these adults must have a job to live their lives:
- But there are only 50 million “good jobs”
- And 40 million “bad jobs”
- And no jobs at all for 10 million of those adults
In this society, there are necessarily going to be 10 million adults who do not have jobs. They are homeless or living with parents or couch surfing with friends or draining their assets toward zero (at which point they will become homeless or LWP). And there are 40 million adults living in financial distress, crappy housing, etc. They are not “free to choose” a better life in this society. They are forced into a bad job or no job by the design of the society and the economic reality they face.
A society is a human construction. Humans start with a blank sheet of paper and design their society from scratch. It would be better to design the society so that everyone living in it can live a decent life. The United States has descended to a point where a large percentage of the population is no longer able to do that, even when they are “hard working” and “willing to work”. They have no choices. They are not “free to choose”. The design of the society results in these bad outcomes.
And it will get worse under capitalism. Look at the unemployment situation today. Right now part of the unemployment problem is created by a pandemic. Part of it is caused by automation (and this will continue to get worse, not better). Part of it is caused by a huge number of factory jobs that left the country over the last few decades. And so on. In addition, millions of “good jobs” have been replaced by “bad jobs” (low pay, few benefits, etc.).
The reality of the American economy for tens of millions of Americans: They are “hard working” and “willing to work”, but the only jobs on offer for tens of millions of Americans are “bad jobs” or “no jobs”. They cannot have a “good job” because the good jobs are all filled, and there are not nearly enough of them to go around.
A typical refrain is “go to college and then get a good job”, but this no longer works. There are not enough “good jobs” for all of the college graduates anymore, never mind those who do not go to college. There simply not enough good jobs in America. Thus there are millions and millions of working people living in financial distress or living with their parents. For example:
A new report by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of young adults — 52% — lived with one or both of their parents in July. Pew’s analysis of monthly Census Bureau data notes that this is higher than any previous measurement.
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