Surviving the Economic Crisis – Is Job Sharing an Answer to Rising Unemployment?

Job sharing, or worksharing, is a simple idea, but it can cause a major re-thinking of work roles. With job sharing, two or more people share a single job. For instance, Anita may work at a job in the morning and Carlos may take over the same job in the afternoon. Job sharing is popular with couples, enabling a husband and wife to each work half a day while taking turns with housekeeping and child-rearing responsibilities at home.

Job sharing may provide considerable flexibility for both workers and organizations. In the last recession, Motorola wanted to cut production at its 9,000-employee Phoenix plant without laying off workers. Layoffs would have created hardships for many employees. They also would have meant high costs for training and recall when it was time to resume full production. Motorola chose job sharing as its approach for cutting production. In so doing, it cut costs by $1.5 million and saved more than a thousand jobs.

This may become the newest trend during the current economic downturn, considering it makes economic sense that its better someone works, rather then becomes a burden on States that can ill afford to support that person through unemployment assistance. A question that may seem irrelevant today, but in the coming years, a challenge to even the most liberal minded thinkers, faced with the socioeconomic problems linked with high unemployment, and falling tax revenues.

If we really look at this concept, that its better to have someone working and not being dependent on the state, whilst they may not pay much in tax, at least they do not need to take from the depleted mountain of Government funds. One country this would work in is Germany, were disguised unemployment levels actually have reached unacceptable levels, and depleted the Governments funds so much, that free enterprise was throttled with taxes. A recipe that created, a nation that punished business, encouraged dependency on the state, and made key industries outsource, rather than invest in their own Country.

The German example of bad economic Management, should be considered a warning to States that face high unemployment levels, but are unwilling or reluctant to implement new ideas to a permanent problem, that will not go away.

Job Sharing may not please employees, but if the option is unemployment then the majority of people mostly will accept the idea of sharing their job, rather than become part of a growing underclass of unemployed.

(The Surviving the Economic Crisis; is a series of articles dealing with the New economic changes we face after the October 2008 crash, and deals with ways we could adjust to and survive these changes)

The Higher The Unemployment Rate The Less Relevancy Unions Are

It looks as if our economic recovery in 2012, if you can call it that, may not be sustainable. Even with this little uptick we are watching the unions grow in power and try to take advantage of the incremental increases in corporate profits. The corporations are building up their war chest so they can have the cash they need for expansion as the economy gets good and as the fog of uncertainty subsides. However, apparently it appears that the unions want that money for themselves. That shortsighted thinking could cost many of them their jobs.

Further, the unions must realize that if the unemployment rates get back up to 10% their relevancy will also dissipate. If unions make demands, corporations can merely close down, re-group, and hired cheaper labor elsewhere. Not to mention the fact that many corporations which have been in the manufacturing sector have purposely kept some factories open in the United States even though they are not as profitable due to union demands, lawsuits, rules and regulations, and US taxes. Do you doubt what I’m saying? You shouldn’t, and it’s not just China either.

Did you know Mexico is now the fourth largest automobile manufacturer? It’s true. Six or seven years ago Mexico was only in sixth place for car exports. Today, they’re right behind Japan, Germany, and South Korea. When unemployment is high, unions are less relevant because the workers under their ranks should be happy to have a job, and when they go on strike, they end up doing more damage for their members than if they didn’t do anything.

Recently, US Airways had their flight attendants vote to go on strike during the Christmas holiday. Talk about socking it to a company when they really could use some quarterly profits to appease their shareholders after some rather dismal economic years in the airline industry. All those flight attendants are going to end up doing is sending more business to the competitors, and weakening the company. A weakened company cannot pay higher salaries, better benefits, or pay the cost to satisfy all the grievances of whining unions.

It is interesting that the unions are causing unemployment rates to go up, and yet at the same time as they do they are losing more power to serve their political will. Maybe in the end that is a good thing because it prevents them from getting out of control as the public and private unions have in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Italy, and other nations. It’s not that the unions haven’t overstepped their bounds here the United States, they certainly have.

The future problems we will have with underfunded pensions, increased healthcare costs, and lack of government services not to mention the high prices we pay for all the goods and services we buy, well, much of that we can blame on the unions. It seems to me that the unions are their own worst enemy, but it is amazing when you state that fact and look at the evidence, that they certainly don’t want to hear it. It’s as if they have their own little religion all to themselves. That’s pretty amazing, we live in interesting times. Please consider all this and think on it.

Robotic Age – Unemployment, Birth Rates, Population Controls, Economics, and Illegal Immigration

If you talk to someone in a labor-intensive business, someone who is an owner of the business who can’t get the labor they need, they will say that illegal immigration laws are out of control, and need to be loosened, and we need to allow more work visa programs, and stop playing games. If you talk to someone who is a union worker, they might curse up and down about how illegal aliens are coming into our country, doing poor workmanship, and hurting our unemployment figures.

If you talk to someone in economics, they will explain to you that we need 2.2 people being born for every couple in our society or civilization, and without that birthrate, we cannot maintain our GDP growth, and the economy will falter, meaning there will be defaulted loans, businesses won’t make enough money, and we won’t be able to afford all of our obligations to retiring workers.

If you talk to a politician, they will tell you during times of high unemployment, that their number one concern is creating jobs. During times of low unemployment and high economic growth, those same politicians will tell you that they aren’t worried about illegal immigration at all rather they want to streamline the rules to let more people in.

My question is; what are all these people going to say as we enter the “Dawn of the Robotic Age?” You know, it’s merely upon us, and as artificial intelligence gets better, robots will be doing all the jobs, and as the cost to create these robotic workers is lower due to economies of scale, that’s when things will get very interesting, just as they did when Eli Whitney brought forth the cotton gin. If robots are doing all the work, then what will people do to stay busy, or earn a living to pay for all the things that they need to survive, send their children to college, and pay for the retirement?

Will humans build the robots that replace them? And what happens when the robots start making their counterparts? An interesting case study along this line of thinking was when Germany built all the industrial machinery to be used in the factories in China. The Germans make great machines, but each time they sold a machine to China, then China was building things. Now the Chinese are making everything that the Germans used to make, including factory machinery, and they are making many of the things that the United States used to make, and they are looking to secure or take more of our specialized industries.

Yes, they have cheaper labor, and are using the same tools. Today it costs a lot to buy a robotic machine to use in a factory, therefore China can still compete with low-cost labor, but as those robots become cheaper, and as the Chinese wages goes up, then they will have the same problem as the rest of the world in the future Robotic Age. We need to solve this problem before it hits us, and all the world economies at the same time. It will be nice to live in that future utopia, but we are going to have to adjust our economic structure to do it. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.