If I were of a cynical turn of mind, I would think that these companies claiming that there was a skills gap were actually, I don’t know, disingenuous. I would think that they are mostly conservative ideologues who want to complain about poor people and blame the bad economy on them. Because here’s the thing. I’m very poor. But I have lots of work for people to do. I could easily use two researchers, a secretary, and someone to handle my Twitter account (it really is very boring). So if I could pay these people just 50¢ per hour, I’d create these four jobs. I like the sound of that, Frank Moraes: Job Creator!
But what I won’t do is run around saying, “I have good jobs for people, I just can’t find anyone!” There are plenty of excellent researchers around, but there are none who will work for 50¢ per hour. But the “job skills” crowd never admits the truth: they can’t find qualified people to work for the lousy pay they are offering. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a guy on 60 Minutes who was complaining he couldn’t find workers who knew trigonometry. He was offering $12 per hour. And the sad thing is that these people are pretty much never called on their nonsense in the mainstream media.
This morning Dean Baker brought my attention to a shocking new skills gap, It’s Hard to Find People With the Necessary Skills for Retail and Restaurant Work. It seems that new research shows that there has been a rise in the number of job openings but a fall in the number of hires. Here are the details:
I’ll probably be writing more about this later, but I think I know what’s going on. An economy is like an ecosystem. And in this economy system, the rich have become far too successful. They are gobbling up too many of the resources, and this is causing the resources to dry up. What we need is balance. In ecosystems, highly successful species often go extinct because they consume all their resources. The problem is the shortsighted success of the species, not the fact that other species don’t have the necessarily skills to eke out a living.
There is no skills gap. People said there was during the Great Depression. There was not. They say it now. There is not. They say it as a way to justify bad economic policy. They say it as a way to justify the status quo. They say it because they don’t want to admit that the economy needs balance. It isn’t possible for the rich to have it all.