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James Howard Kunstler: The Jobs Picture

It's pathetic to hear the wan cry of "recovery" issued by the high priests and tribunes of this land. Do the president and his train of wizards really suppose that all the necessary pieces are in place to re-start the economic dynamics of, say, 2003? A million busboys and lawn service lackeys lining up for half-million dollar liar loans at the Countrywide office? BCA, Citi, and all the other big banks pawning off bundles upon bundles of these worthless obligations to insurance companies, pension funds, foolish endowment fund managers and any other reckless entity desperate for yield? A hyperbolic consumer economy pyramid resting on a base of empty promises to repay? Sorry. There's no way the USA can ever "recover" to that lush breeding ground of swindling, fraud, and childish irresponsibility. The hardships of today do not represent a dip in some regular cycle of financial push-me-pull-you. This is a systemic, structural change in the socio-economic ecology of human life. Those who have been shuffling from one office to another with their dog-eared resumes, and clothing pressed under the mattress while sleeping, are bound to be disappointed. The very idea of a "job" may be obsolete, in the sense of bureaucratically organized endeavors complete with a "human resources" department that can just plug in human components like diodes in an engineered system. Among the surprises I've suggested over the years is the idea that people used to spending long hours in cubicles staring at video screens may, at some point ahead, begin to spend their days in the fresh air, cultivating food crops.

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