Am I the only person who, every time I watch the TV news, winces when something or other the government does or doesn’t do will create or destroy jobs?
Human progress has always been measured by job destruction but that just cannot be said out loud can it? It’s a bit like the libertarian concept of “negative liberty” – it just sounds nasty doesn’t it? Yet neither are… Job destruction is the reason ninety-odd percent of us (in the developed world at least) aren’t grubbing up fields with pointed sticks. It is the reason “horseless carriages” aren’t novelties and we have traffic jams in the streets rather than piles of shit. Pity all the poor tack makers and grooms and stable lads who are now web-designers, derivatives traders and CNC fitters. Any dynamic forward looking economy that is actually going places will resemble the quantum void with jobs being eternally created and destroyed. A useful thought experiment is to try and explain what you do to someone from 1810 (or Prince Charles if you have the misfortune to meet him). I guess some jobs are easier to explain than others and some are indeed eternal but even then if you get into “shop talk” in almost anything you’d be in trouble explaining. This applies as much to the eternal primary industries that have lasted throughout the history of civilization such as mining and agriculture. Those are practically speaking totally different in terms of the skills required these days. A modern farmer might (not in the good ol’ EU!) ponder which GM strain to plant for maximum yield whilst his ancient counterpart would be wondering what to sacrifice to appease the Rain God. In a nutshell that is why I hate Greenism (note the upper case) because whether it be Gaia or the Rain God matters little really.
Don’t get me wrong: job losses are painful but these are growing pains and if, as many do, you oppose them in principle then you have to ask yourself a very simple question, “Do you believe in human progress?” because it’s either to the stars or back to the cave and wondering what those lights in the sky mean. We now know what they mean and they mean nothing and everything.
Jobs are essentially a cost to an economy and in almost any enterprise are the biggest bill. Reducing that bill is a good thing because it enables people to have more and see more and achieve more and surely that is a good thing? It also enables people to work at more interesting things and moreover avoiding progress in order to maintain out-moded jobs as some form of “social good” is ultimately self-defeating because it is the road (or goat-track) to quite simply not being able to compete. The whole slow-motion destruction of the British volume car industry (with some notable foreign owned exceptions) is testimony to the fact you can only buck reality for so long until someone else comes along and hands it to you on a plate and that’s when it really hurts.