Whence Jobs?

Guru has been catching mariner’s attention more frequently, predicting a significant shift in economic growth and a change in the definition of what “job” means. For the first mariner comment on the future of work, see the post, “The Future of Work III – When Jobs will End. July 12, 2015.” Significant credit for that post’s analysis is due to an article published in Atlantic, August 2015.

Guru has been pointing out subtle events that don’t reach the front page but nevertheless identify trends in an economy that has been diminished, permanently, as computerization grows more capable and efficient at replacing human labor and even many vocations considered ‘specialized’ today; the mariner perceives that general practice lawyers will be replaced by a red box in McDonald’s. Further, the international corporate freedom to acquire even greater wealth with little control by national governments will further regionalize labor, technical and even top drawer scientists and executives, by relocating to the least expensive nation who also packages benefits – making ‘jobs’ at any level less expensive. Further, regionalization of work will create pockets of unemployment on a national scale for nations who do not in some manner restructure ways to create national income, e.g., steel workers: China won the contract to build Chicago’s new light rail system.

The mariner lived in Taiwan for awhile. He was impressed with a government and culture that kept small business operating by preventing horizontal or vertical business growth from expanding beyond small, often family run businesses. For example, it took three different small businesses to print large flyers: one to make paper, one to design and print the flyer, and one to finish the flyer in any manner required for distribution. Each operation was family owned. A large corporation was required to have the Taiwanese government own 51% of the Corporation. As a result of this policy, there were only two classes: the wealthy, who gained wealth slowly as their families climbed generation by generation and the working class which seems low to Americans but there was no destitute or deprived underclass.

If one had a relative – even a cousin once removed – one had a job with the family’s business. The pay may not be the best but one had a role in generating income for and promoting the family, and had a source for room and board. Interestingly, Taiwan had no unemployment insurance but the government paid a rebate to the family business based on gross taxable income for the ‘business.’ The Taiwanese economy is greatly dependent on a culture of family-based income models which avoids an elaborate, form-driven individual ‘welfare’ dole. Needless to say, it took 3,000 years of separate cultural development for Taiwan to develop and sustain a family economy; perhaps the West can never evolve away from its capitalistic, individual, wealth-based society.

At the time, Taiwan was the seventh wealthiest nation in the world in terms of assets per capita. The assets underwrote the Bernie Sanders model: controlled corporate and income taxes, free health, free education through graduate school, fairly distributed retirement, and – in a fashion unfamiliar with American job description, assured close to full employment. Avoiding the disruption of both Bernie and Donald, the government held tight control of trade agreements. If an island nation of less than 24m Taiwanese can do it, why can’t the United States?

When it comes to economics and fair profit from a nation’s economy, capitalism is more interested in unfair profit. Even a hint of socialist attitude is anathema to capitalism. The mariner first read about capitalism as a competitive religion to Christianity’s morality. It was in a book written by Methodist pastor Paul Tillich at a time when it was a new thought to call certain governments ‘religions.’ Written in 1961, the title is Christianity and the World Religions. The reader may find it in an old section of a library; it also may be purchased through an Internet search engine.

With capitalism still in charge of the most capitalistic culture and most capitalistic nation in the world, citizens have a long road ahead before the culture shifts enough to redefine jobs and the economy. International corporations already see change coming and are spreading themselves over as many economies as possible so that no one nation can draw from their profits to support a socialist or Christian responsibility.

The world must gravitate more toward international unification to have the clout to care for their citizens.


It seems almost hackneyed to mention it but the mariner recommends becoming comfortably familiar with the economics and the culture of Denmark. It is the most successful model in the world to transition from top down politics to a stable and successful democratic socialism. Americans will be proud to know the citizens overthrew the government!!

Ancient Mariner

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