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View Diary: This is not your father's labor market (84 comments)

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  •  I am also worried about what the (28+ / 0-)

    medium-to-long term implications of this are for our society and economy. You simply cannot support a family on these McJobs.

    •  It's because the economy was artificial before (12+ / 0-)

      So many of the jobs that were lost were not "real" jobs, in the sense that they created wealth or produced value to the economy.  Since much of the economic growth was a house of cards, many of the jobs derived from that -- in housing, finance, luxury goods, and other areas -- were unsustainable, and these jobs will not "return", since those sectors can't climb back to those artificial levels.  

      We need programs that create new jobs in sustainable industries: green technology, for example.

      Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

      by dnta on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:55:39 PM PST

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    •  It's what a dying middle class looks like (29+ / 0-)

      For 30 years, rampant government corruption has fostered consistent policies that produce ever-increasing income inequality.  You cannot pursue policies like those over time without killing the middle class.  

      Middle classes are created by government policy, and they're killed by government policy.  Until we demand that politicians start to rebuild the middle class rather than comforting the comfortable, we can't expect anything different.  Both parties have been failing us in this regard.

    •  They simple won't build families anymore (8+ / 0-)

      no jobs, no savings, no SS benefits to build for retirement, no credit, no education, no nothing. Who would dare to marry and have kids under those conditions?

      Empowering Young Inmates to Write New Chapters in Their Lives. Free Minds.

      by mimi on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:57:43 PM PST

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      •  Japan's population fell last year (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra77, justalittlebitcrazy

        They've had a stagnant economy after excessive growth for more than a decade.  Families are postponing or not having children, the population is aging, and the country's overall population fell by something like 125,000.  The US won't see that happen, if only because of immigration, but Japan is looking at something like 40% of its people being senior citizens by the middle of this century.  That's a recipe for serious decline.

        Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

        by dnta on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:00:49 PM PST

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        •  Sons of Nippon hitched their wagon to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, Dirtandiron

          Greenspan.Rubin.Summers remedies.....whither us?....they follow.

        •  from steven hill: (8+ / 0-)

          In the midst of the Great Recession, the United States is suffering through nearly 10% unemployment and 50 million people without health insurance. A new report has found over 14% of Americans living below the poverty line, including 20% of children and 23% of seniors, the highest since President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. That's in addition to declining prospects for the middle class, and a general increase in economic insecurity.

          How, then, should we regard a country [japan] that has 5% unemployment, healthcare for all its people, the lowest income inequality and is one of the world's leading exporters? This country also scores high on life expectancy, low on infant mortality, is at the top in literacy, and is low on crime, incarceration, homicides, mental illness and drug abuse. It also has a low rate of carbon emissions, doing its part to reduce global warming. In all these categories, this particular country beats both the U.S. and China by a country mile.

          via

        •  A lot of what they say about Japan (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra77, dnta

          should be taken in the context of a country whose social safety net is so far superior to ours that we might trade the prosperity we thought we had for their "lost decade" if we could get the same level of social welfare.... I read this somewhere, maybe Open Left, so please don't assume this is an original argument. It is not.

          •  However, there are frightening sociological... (4+ / 0-)

            ...changes in Japan that have been going on for more than a decade. The "Lost Decade" of Japan is two decades now. Men are giving up on being householders. Women are giving up on finding a mate who will support them. They are rejecting the old roles that have existed for decades. However, for some reasons, there has not been a renegotiation of new gender roles.

            This manifests as two linked phenomena: hikikkomori and "Parasite Singles." Hikikkomori seems at first blush to be akin to the psychological syndrome of agoraphobia, but it's more like a "giving up" on the rights and responsibilities of being an adult male in Japanese society.

            There are elements to the hikikkomori syndrome that do not exist in American culture, so it is not likely that it will be replicated here. First, bullying is not considered a natural part of growing up. Most "hikkies" were bullied during elementary school and middle school and have a dread of being bullied in high school.

            Also, the expectation of gender roles in marriage are radically different between the US and Japan. In Japan, men are expected to have a career and to give their all to that career. They also have the responsibility to earn a "family wage" that can support a stay-at-home mom and kids. The "hikkie" male sees that as an impossibility in the current protracted downturn, basically says "what's the use" and gives up on the idea of that too. No job, no girl, no life, and a retreat to the parental home.

            The other side of the coin is the "Parasite Single" woman. It is an ugly term for the phenomenon, and shows how much misogyny there still is in Japanese society. Basically these are women who take an office job after college -- like the US, women are having a slightly easier time finding work than men -- and basically opt to go back to living at home instead of forging ahead on their own. They keep their money for themselves, spending on clothes, luxury goods and the nightclubs called "host clubs" where pretty-boy men entertain women.

            These women are not in any hurry to marry. They like being independent. There is, however, one thing they will not do that is becoming trendy among single women in the United States: they will not have children out of wedlock. This exacerbates the ongoing "birth dearth" in Japan. Children means adoption of the traditional model of the Japanese family: husband working outside the home earning a family wage, wife staying home with the kids. If there are fewer and fewer men who can command this family wage, marriage becomes a loser's bet. Hitch your wagon to a red dwarf star, and you are bound to live in poverty. And that would mean also giving up independence, even though traditionally the woman manages household finances and keeps the husband on an "allowance."

            What strikes you as different between pictures of the New Years festivities in Japan and Japanese-American New Years festivities in Los Angeles. Here, in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, you see children everywhere. There, not so much.

            The Japanese government have been pondering paying "baby bonuses" to encourage marriage and children. But the sociological dynamic, the breakdown of the societal guarantees that existed in the "Japan, Inc." days, where if a young man was accepted into the right college -- graduation was irrelevant -- they would be assured of making a family wage, marrying a woman who would bear and care for children, and assured of having that job until retirement age. It was called the "iron rice bowl" and it doesn't exist anymore.

            Here we have a more egalitarian expectation of gender roles. Men and women share duties outside the home, men and women share duties inside the home. And men and women share childrearing duties. No amount of "baby bonuses" can make up for a fundamental, qualitative difference in how families have evolved over the past 50 years.

            In defeat, defiance. -- Winston Churchill
            The "tax deal" is a s**tty deal.

            by Pris from LA on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 07:46:57 PM PST

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            •  Excellent analysis (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pris from LA

              I did not consider socio-cultural changes; only the fact that a lot more of our citizens wind up on the street. Back in the 80's i was privileged to study under some folks at Rutgers ( it was such a fine institution then, with prize winning professors actually teaching classes, before the advent of budget cuts and adjuncts ) who had spent many years in Japan. I remember a comment that the women in Japan spent a lot of their days washing clothes. Also about the insane private tutoring after school and the pressure to do well on exams that pretty much determined your fate.

              •  That's the perverse thing about that old system.. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dnta, leftangler

                ...pass the ENTRANCE EXAM for Keio or Todai University, and your future was assured. It matters not if you graduate, your transcript doesn't matter either, the breakpoint is either passing or failing the entrance exam. It is quite literally the ultimate "high stakes" test. People think our High School Exit Exams are "high stakes" tests. People think the tests given to Elementary School kids to determine whether their school is a "failing school" or not are "high stakes."

                No, back in the "Japan, Inc." days, the rest of your life and where you get sorted in the Japanese system of socio-economic class had to do with the college entrance exam. Once you got into college you basically could slack off, and college life engendered a great deal of "natsukashii" (nostalgic) feelings because it was the last time you could be carefree before becoming a sarariman (salaried man, usually a low end or middle manager) and basically working the rest of your life away until retirement.

                Many anime and manga have a lot to do with "exam hell" and what people who don't pass, (the term is "ronin" or masterless samurai) have to do to cram for a second sitting for the entrance exam. The protagonist in "Chobits" is a cram-school attendee. "Love Hina" is about a "ronin" living in an apartment building near a major university who is cramming for the next sitting of the exam, and surrounded by pretty college girls. "Welcome to the NHK" is a story about a "hikky" guy who retreats into a solitary, shut-in lifestyle after failing his entrance exam. His neighbor in his cheap apartment building (Cheap is relative in Japan btw) is also a "hikki" and obsessed with anime shows featuring impossibly beautiful, scarily young girls who are sexualized and given "magical girl" identity.

                This is an element I didn't go into in my initial analysis: both women and men have become consumers of a pop culture of sexuality that is quite twisted, to be frank. A thoroughly frank discussion of this is not really appropriate for this forum, but suffice it to say that the ideal woman in "ero" media for young men doesn't look womanly at all, but decidedly girlish until she's nude; and the ideal man in "Yaoi doujinshi" media for women is not interested in women at all, but in other men as impossibly beautiful and willowy as he is.

                In both cases, since these girls and boys are absolutely unrealistic, they are drawn, not depicted in live action. These "2D" representations, in games, manga (comics) and anime (animation) have become the ideal of female and male sexuality. So as well as not having negotiated gender roles, these "2D" sex objects get in the way of negotiating sexuality under new socioeconomic conditions. Both men and women have completely unrealistic concepts of sexuality and what is a turn-on. Real women and real men are, by comparison, quite banal.

                In defeat, defiance. -- Winston Churchill
                The "tax deal" is a s**tty deal.

                by Pris from LA on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 09:52:21 AM PST

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    •  Blue Jersey Mom, the implications are: (10+ / 0-)

      Unless the cost of everything goes way down, the standard of living in the US of A will go waay down very soon.  Most of us have lost value in our homes, our IRA's and our wages.  I say most of us, but some will live like kings and emperors.  But we already know that, don't we?  Now we're just giving names to our thoughts.  

      United we stand - Divided we are all truly screwed. Keep them blaming one another - they'll never notice what's really going on.

      by Cassandra77 on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:58:49 PM PST

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    •  Sure, you just supplement it with 2nd jobs (11+ / 0-)

      for the kids and maybe some street begging and scrounging.  Should be good enough for the likes of us.  If the goopers win another election I'm going to switch to bankruptcy law.

      "Play it LOUD Robbie, Play it fucking loud" Dylan

      by NearlyNormal on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:05:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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