Friday, February 17, 2012

Is Full Employment a Thing of the Past?

Full Employment for the U.S. has been considered (during the 1950s until the 2000s) as being under 5% to 6 % unemployment nationwide. However, since around 2009 we have also moved into a time when the least amount of kids under thirty are working (percentage wise) in history. What this means in real time is that often kids in their teens never are able to get even a part time job or even get Any full time job in their 20s. And even kids with college degrees this is often true as well.

Because of this it is important to consider what the Great Depression did to our culture. Even though our national unemployment figures hover still around 9% this is misleading because of those who have given up looking for work or who are underemployed. If you added in all the people who either want to be employed, who have given up, or who are underemployed you get an unemployment figure that is somewhere between 15% and 19% nationwide. And if you add to that that people under 30 are the least employed in history you can see that there is a generational disaster in the making that will cause problems potentially for several generations to come where learning a trade or even getting a college degree might mean nothing other than going bankrupt with college loans when they graduate and can't find a job.

There are many factors that play into this reality. Some of them might surprise you. The three biggest factors that most people overlook are Global Climate Change and the scarcity of easily obtainable oil which causes food to be too expensive for 50% of the world to afford to buy. These three factors I see as the biggest culprits to what we face.

Most people try to say that U.S. labor is too expensive and the same for European labor. This actually is just a secondary factor that most news agencies and countries prefer to obscure the real truth with. There is good reason for this. Most people might panic if they realized that Global Climate Change and the scarcity of oil will only get worse by the year. So, it is much easier to blame other countries like China for having lower labor costs. But even the Chinese are balking at working at such low wages that young people working at these factories often kill themselves by jumping off the roofs of those factories because they are so overworked without any friends or enough days off. So, the labor movement in China is growing every day and labor costs likely will rise and be on a par with the U.S. and Europe within 20 to 30 years because of a variety of factors not the least of which is inflation in China.

And Because of the quick rise in the cost of gasoline because of scarcity and high demand which is growing exponentially by the year, we can expect $4 to $5 a gallon gasoline here in the lower 48 states by summers end. So, unless Obama releases more of  our oil reserves around election time he might not get elected.

So, is full employment a thing of  the past? It looks that way for the next 10 to 20 years at the very least or until a good cheap replacement for oil is found. As oil rises so does inflation and the cost of food and this will cause everyone to buy less of everything else to just try to hunker down and survive. This terrible oil cycle began in the 1970s with OPEC. But the real cause of the oil problems now is just scarcity of easily obtainable oil. So, I would say Full employment at least for now IS a thing of the past as long as energy is as expensive as it is and as long as there is Global Climate change which is caused by the burning of fossil fuels including oil. We are in a vicious cycle and until the world can break it populations likely will reduce dramatically over the next century. However, it is  possible that new and unknown factors that none of us can predict will intervene.

Later: Please note that as of  the week of February 24th my wife is already paying $4.25 or so for premium and my last fill up in my truck was $3.95 for Regular. At this rate since gas is already in the $5 dollar and above range in some Los Angles Stations I'm thinking we will see $6 a gallon by Memorial Day in Los Angeles and $7 a gallon in Los Angeles at those stations by August. And by then the average price in the U.S. for regular in August likely will be about $6 a gallon. The problem with all this is that if the price stays high enough people will begin to adapt to other fuels out of necessity including Horses, bicycles, horse carriages, buses and trains (especially if those buses and trains are state, federal or locally subsidized as to price like Amtrak and others). I think people can adapt by renting a room or staying with friends if their job commute is too long during the week and just visiting their families on weekends. But the real problem likely will be the price of food so food riots might get very serious by this summer worldwide. Because all countries are affected directly by the higher costs of gasoline and diesel at this time. When you consider that this time of year about 2 years or more ago we were paying just over $2 a Gallon for regular we are already at twice that price the same time of year. And likely by summers end it will be over 3 times the $2 a gallon price. So, finding a way to convert away  from  oil cannot be a pipe dream. It is now a necessity so our whole way of life doesn't suddenly end one day in the next 10 to 20 years.

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