Are all of us, who are today unemployed or under employed or never to be employed, failures and misfits?
I think that most of us think that we are in some way bad people. I think that, even as we hang up our Consulting Shingle, or our Craft Shop sign or offer our availability to do free work or volunteer work - or just wonder where the rent cheque will come from - still hope that we will once again get a "real job" that pays enough to give us a life.
I think we want to go home to a nice job.
Well my dear friends, I don't think that is going to happen.
I think we are seeing a return of an early pattern. When the hunters became unemployed when all the big game died off 10,000 years ago. Or more recently when the landowners "Cleared" their agricultural peasants of the land.
We are the new displaced.
This is not your grand father's layoff. This is not another downturn or recession. We live today at the turning point when one culture and its power system and economy will be decisively replaced by a new one.
In this context, those jobs are NEVER coming back. But all is not lost. WE have been here before and I think I see how we can see ourselves in a new and more hopeful light. Where we can create an entirely new economy for ourselves with each other. A new economy that will give us the opportunity for a much better life than the one we failed to hold onto or even get a taste of.
There are so many of us now - mainly the young and the middle aged - that we have reached a critical mass. All we have to do is to "SEE" the opportunity.
So this is what really is going on - this is the pattern and this is where I think we might go.
The Industrial Revolution created its workforce by using new methods of agriculture to throw the people off the land. Waves of displaced peasants who had lived and farmed for millennia in rural villages in Europe were literally thrown out. They went to the new cities and their factories or to the New World.
They could never return. Their displacement was vital to the birth of industrial society. Not a good thing but a key systems factor.
By 1905, thanks to Henry Ford, wages in this sector had begun to offer a middle class life for labourers. Not an easy struggle to get there. But by 1950 it was normal to be able to life a good life with few deep skills. By 1970, the more literate could live an even better life in an office setting.
But then the process of Globalization began.
What started on the factory floor now affects white collar work as well. Now even call centres.
For those of us in the West with Western expenses, we are put in an impossible bind. We cannot compete with global wages.
Now Technology is accelerating this displacement and is stripping the work itself out of the system.
Planting in 1600 needed the entire village. In 1750 it could be done by one man and a horse. No land owner was going to bring back his old workforce.
As with farm technology in the 1750's, machines and computers can do so much of what we used to do. Labour on its own in an industrial or office setting is also being replaced irrevocably by machines and technology.
The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.
This is the modern equivalent of the Highland Clearances.
All the puffery of the politicians about getting behind job creation is misguided. How can the jobs come back in Europe or North American when our living costs are so high compared to places like China?
For all our key costs in the west are based on the old model. Housing, energy, education, health, food - all of these are based on the old reality and are systems costs based on the cost of the industrial and centralized model.
How can we bring the well paying labour based jobs back when technology has made us truly redundant?
OK enough doom and gloom - do you get my point though? The well paying jobs for routine work cannot come back. And here is the proviso - so long as we hang onto the industrial model!
So where is the hope and also the health? For this kind of stress - low self esteem - low status - lack of a sense of meaning is a killer.
The hope is here - that there are millions of us with talent and energy - old and young - who have nothing to lose by "Immigrating" to the Real New World Economy. The New Personal Networked Economy. Where the Household Oikonomia. Where the Household/Tribe is the core unit.
The irony of where we are going is that we the Displaced will have the tools that will take on the industrial economy on and decisively beat it.
Where we will use the new tools that empower the small and the network that gives scale and power to the aggregated small.
In the next post I will go into some detail about what this may look like - but here are a few teasers.
One thing that all of us share is that we don't have much money and we worry about how we will afford to buy the things and services that we need.
- Food - But if you grew your own or shared growing food with others - you would have food - Now you have the time to do this as millions are finding out. We can eat REAL food at a cost we can afford and employ a lot of us. We can also gain independence from the system. The key will be to learn how best to work WITH nature. The system which is based on oil has to fail anyway - this way we can get ready for the day and have a new more viable system in place.
- Paid work - New technology will enable you to sell your services and products personally and directly. We offer something that THEY cannot - Trust - we can offer authentic and truly good and safe things - THEY can't
- Manufacturing - New Technology - 3D Printers now enable the most complex things to be made locally - no more big factories. More true freedom - craft and skill returns to work
- Energy - We can never replace oil in its ease of use - but we can redesign our lives and energy systems to do well. In doing so we can be free of depending on Big Oil. How and where we live and work is a big part of this as is a new food system that is integrated into our energy system.
- Health Insurance and Care - With this kind of life we recreate the environmental fit that we need to be naturally healthy. Our dependence on Big Pharma will be broken
- Day Care - If you worked from home you can work around this as parents did for all time before our own - Freelancers are recreating the old home economy - where all is centred on the home and the tribe
- High Quality Education - All there today online waiting for you now - Homeschooling will offer more and better than any school and then if enough near you are doing this - you can have all the sports and social too
- 2 cars or more - Essential for job families - Not for Freelancers - your energy costs will drop
- Housing - You don't have to move all the time to get work anymore. You may just make one more move to a place where all of this is emerging
- Pensions - Where will the money come from to pay for me when I am old? - You will have a role and work in the tribe - if you are prepared to contribute
- Elder care - Not if you rearrange how your family works - more labour at home and a real role for grandma and grandpa - I am ready!
So where are we Immigrants going too?
I think to a more dispersed and more stable pattern of settlement.
We are in the 1740's in America - with the early colonies. Colonists who still have to obey the King's rule and the King's men.
But in a short time, we will start to organize. Our power will grow. In the end, the King's men and all his power will not be enough to subdue us - we will create our own place.
And then my friends, the words of the Statue of Liberty will call out again:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
And millions will answer.
Next I will share the details of how the the pioneers are buildong this new system - it is all here in fractal form.