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  1. #1
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    Does an "unemployment problem" ever actually exist?

    A while back, I was considering the problem known as "the unemployment problem"...and came to the conclusion that the nomenclature is an impediment to actually solving the problem that really needs to be solved.

    Let me see if I can make my case. (I’m going to post it as I wrote it at that time.)

    During my early reflections on “the unemployment problem” an anomaly in the expression surfaced…an ironic, almost cavalier consideration of that situation. “Unemployment” (having no work to do) and “problem” (being annoyed with that state of affairs) just doesn’t compute. Unemployment, as I view it, is not a problem at all. Unemployment is the reason we all look forward to weekends, holidays, and vacations so much. Unemployment affords us all time to play more golf or tennis; to read, write, wash the car, tend to the house and garden, spend more time with the family, or lie around in a hammock doing nothing more productive than training a couple of trees to bend in toward each other. So, not only is unemployment not a problem, it is the stuff of dreams; an object of pursuit; the reason, if you will, for the long lines at the lottery machines.

    Now, for sure, “not having enough money to buy things” IS a problem; an onerous one, and more than likely the actual problem we are actually considering when supposedly discussing “the unemployment problem.”

    They go hand-in-hand, do unemployment and not having enough money to get by—so much so that we tend to confuse one with the other—or worse, to consider them to be one. BUT THEY ARE NOT! They are two separate problems, or more exactly they are two separate conditions. One, not having enough money, a very serious problem indeed—the other, unemployment, a much sought after blessing.

    All of which may seem an idle exercise in semantics, of no particular practical consequences. But I argue otherwise. By exploiting the distinction between “unemployment” and “not having enough money”, I think we have the makings of a much needed solution to problems technology is creating for life in today’s world.


 

 

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