A Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy
I’m into the first chapter of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy and it is shaking me to my core. (Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols)
On a quick scan of this book, I was blown away by the historical research and deep understanding of the evolution of our economy and the world of work. I recognized right away that it was an important book that will deepen my understanding of the intersection of the new network economy, disappearing jobs,and the role of government, education and private sector.
Most importantly I felt that this book will help me make sense of the challenges that lay ahead for young people entering the 21st century workplace.
Below are few excerpts that I think give a very small flavour of the book.
An example given early in the book (still reading it) refers to the bankruptcy of Kodak. In 1988 this company employed 145,000 workers. Instagram was a company that empowered people to use instantaneous photo sharing tools on their smart phones. It had 13 million customers and employed 13 people. Instagram was bought by Facebook. The total employment at Facebook in March 2015 was 10,082, only 7% of Kodak’s employment figures.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 – Into the Maelstrom
Most reform proposals are dismissed as impractical and relegated to the nether-world of the loony Left, before they can even see the light of day.
The reason for this is clear: The United States is not a democracy, if by democracy we mean a government by the people, and for the people. That is the big lie of the official discourse. If anything it is a “citizenless” democracy, an oxymoron if there ever was one. The only voice that ever matters in American politics, the voice that shuts down every other, is that of the wealthy few for whom creative destruction is a business practice rather than a threat.
The book underscores the need for imparting new skills to young people. The world has permanently shifted to the network era and a digitally connected, always on world. For the most part, we (global society) are out of step and far behind in terms of preparing young workers for this new world of work. I’m excited by the realistic picture this book is presenting while pointing out possible ways to address the profound changes in our political and economic systems.
I will add more posts on the themes presented in this book. I will also integrate some of the ideas into any work I do with organizations around 21 st century workplace.