Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue. In 2008, 49 percent of those surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs. The drop in workers' happiness can be partly blamed on the worst recession since the 1930s, which made it difficult for some people to find challenging and suitable jobs. But worker dissatisfaction has been on the rise for more than two decades. "It says something troubling about work in America. It is not about the business cycle or one grumpy generation," says Linda Barrington, managing director of human capital at the Conference Board, who helped write the report, which was released Tuesday. – AP
Dominant Social Theme: Anomalous findings?
Free-Market Analysis: We've been down this road before, but it is worth restating. The 20th century and now the 21st century has seen a tremendous employment distortion because of central banking. The central banking era really only got going in the early 20th century and that's when we think employment opportunities in the West, and especially in America began to shift. Today, many jobs in America – the ones that are left anyway – are the result of a central-banking distorted economy, the growth of government and the public/private partnerships it inevitably engenders.
What happens is that central banks accentuate booms and busts and during a boom period the froth of the economy tempts people into jobs that would not otherwise be there and won't last very long anyway. Additionally, central banking provides a great deal of revenue for governments. This allows governments to create all sorts of jobs that would not be available otherwise and to pursue public private partnerships that would not be considered in a market-oriented economy. Finally, the sheer amount of revenue created by central banking is often directed toward authoritarian programs and is a main engine behind the growth of the Western military industrial complex.
It is fiat money, therefore, combined with central banking overprinting of money that has greatly changed the employment picture, especially in America. It is fiat money and central banking that has turned huge swaths of the private sector toward the public domain. In America of course the change has been most pronounced. In the 1800s, much that took place was private and in private hands. But today many long-term employment opportunities are in the control of government entities and multinationals. Here's some more from the article:
"What's really disturbing about growing job dissatisfaction is the way it can play into the competitive nature of the U.S. work force down the road and on the growth of the U.S. economy – all in a negative way," says Lynn Franco, another author of the report and director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. Conference Board officials and outside economists suggested that weak wage growth helps explain why workers' unhappiness has been rising for more than 20 years. After growing in the 1980s and 1990s, average household incomes adjusted for inflation have been shrinking since 2000.
Also, compared with 1980, three times as many workers contribute to the cost of their health insurance – and those contributions have gone up. The average employee contribution for single-coverage medical care benefits rose from $48 a month to $76 a month between 1999 and 2006. Workers under 25 expressed the highest level of dissatisfaction. Roughly 64 percent of workers under 25 say they were unhappy in their jobs. The recession has been especially hard on young workers, who face fewer opportunities now and lower wages, some analysts say.
Some other key findings of the survey:
- Forty-three percent of workers feel secure in their jobs. In 2008, 47 percent said they feel secure in their jobs, while 59 percent felt that way in 1987.
- Fifty-six percent say they like their co-workers, slightly less than the 57 percent who said so last year but down from 68 percent in 1987.
- Fifty-six percent say they are satisfied with their commute to work even as commute times have grown longer over the years. That compares with 54 percent in 2008 and 63 percent in 1987.
- Fifty-one percent say they are satisfied with their boss. That's down from 55 percent in 2008 and around 60 percent two decades ago.
We're not so concerned with Western work forces failing to compete with Japan or China or other workforces – for these countries have been subject to the same distortive effects as Western workers. In fact, Britain is a good example of how dysfunctional employment is starting to become in the West. British citizens who want to work in health care will inevitably be employed by NHS, the nationalized disaster of a health care system that has been latched onto Britain and will not let go. Alternatively, one could work in the government school system, also a wretched environment that is "failing downward." One can work in areas of British security and military operations – burgeoning areas of the authoritarian state no doubt. One can work in the corrupt and petty world of higher education or research, bearing in mind that government grants control a large part of what goes on and what opportunities are available.
And so it goes ... one can work for a large, failing, unionized company with the prospect that the company will eventually fold or move out of Britain when union demands become exorbitant. Finally, one can work for the political system itself and gain a small sinecure pursuing one's fellow citizens and hounding them when they litter late at night.
The problems in Britain are the same that America suffers from. The thriving entrepreneurial community of the 1800s is long gone along with much of America's industrialized superiority. The rise and fall of America is not a natural process but a fait-accompli in which fiat money, an income tax and an overwhelming torrent of federal regulations have put what once was the world's most vibrant economy flat on its back. The lack of job satisfaction is a symptom of something much deeper.
It is the power elite itself, from our point of view, which has set this employment debacle in motion. Determinedly moving toward a more globalist government, the power elite has put in place the various false markers of Western governance and made accounting the most necessary profession, in order to ensure that these false environments are properly managed. Thus the West is led by a kind of perverse technocratic elite that values numerical proficiency above all else and a political elite that values leveling rhetoric over the reality of the free market. This, in fact, is how societies die, when outer show is all that is important and a genuine internal life becomes an impediment to success.
Conclusion: The real problem faced by workers in America and in the West generally is that much work has become "make work" – and that those who do try to perform well are often penalized and looked upon with suspicion. Those who are wiling to toe the line and take comfortable jobs (that entail little or nothing worthwhile) are rewarded by the same society that hounds the entrepreneurs and jails the innovator. The inequities of this system are obvious, and the punishment is eventually meted out to all in terms of ongoing job instability, a general lack of significant employment, and careers that are dependent on how well one espouses the lies on which a fiat money economy is constructed. We live in times of sophistry, and the job data reflects people's unspoken dissatisfaction with living lives bereft of internal validity. Our leaders are what the ancient Greeks would have called sophists. Can such a situation continue forever?