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America’s hidden crisis: Men not at work - The Globe and Mail
MARGARET WENTE
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016

The United States’ biggest problem ... is more insidious. Millions of able-bodied men have dropped out of society – out of working life, of civic life, of family life. Many of these men belong to the Trumpenproletariat. How to re-engage them may be the biggest domestic challenge the country faces.

Political economist Nicholas Eberstadt calls these men “the unworking,” to distinguish them from people who want work but can’t find it. “America is now home to a vast army of jobless men who are no longer even looking for work,” he writes. “Roughly seven million of them age 25 to 54, the traditional prime of working life.” His new book, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis, is essential reading for this election cycle. “For every prime-age man who is unemployed today,” he writes, “another three are neither working nor looking for work.” Most of these men are less educated, and many, particularly blacks, have prison records.... in fact, the work rate has been in decline for two generations. What happened during those decades was a massive shift in cultural values.... “To the extent that non-work is contagious, it is likely to grow exponentially rather than at a linear rate.” If current trends continue, he expects that more than one-third of all men in the 25-54 age group will be out of work by mid-century. That is a truly terrifying prospect – as well as fertile soil for toxic populism.

At its root, the collapse of the working class isn’t so much economic as it is social, moral and spiritual. This means that economic remedies will only take us so far. Marriage rates for less-educated men have plunged – and unmarried men are far more likely to opt for unwork. The percentage of babies born to unmarried parents has soared. Working-class whites have largely abandoned church (while church attendance among higher-income whites has stayed relatively high). Family and community networks have dissolved [JCK: the fraying of what David Brooks would call, the "social_fabric"].
Margaret_Wente  unemployment  men  joblessness  working_class  social_classes  social_fabric  Larry_Summers  job_destruction  participation_rates  addictions  opiates  socioeconomic  habits  values  books  unworking  populism  social_crisis  moral_crisis  spiritual_crisis  cultural_values  whites  contagions  exponential 
october 2016 by jerryking
The Missing Fifth - NYTimes.com
May 9, 2011| NYT | By DAVID BROOKS. Americans should be
especially alert to signs that the country is becoming less vital &
industrious. One of those signs comes from the labor market. As my
colleague David Leonhardt points out, in 1954, about 96 % of American
men between the ages of 25 & 54 worked. Today that number is around
80 %. One-fifth of all men in their prime working ages are not getting
up & going to work...The result is this: There are more idle men now
than at any time since the Great Depression, & this time the
problem is mostly structural, not cyclical. These men will find it hard
to attract spouses. Many will pick up habits that have a corrosive
cultural influence on those around them. The country will not benefit
from their potential abilities. This is a big problem. It can’t be
addressed through the sort of short-term Keynesian stimulus some on the
left are still fantasizing about. It can’t be solved by simply reducing
the size of govt. as some on the right imagine.
cultural_corrosion  David_Brooks  gender_gap  unemployment  men  Great_Depression  participation_rates  structural_change  Keynesian  joblessness  habits  values 
may 2011 by jerryking
We need more smarts for universities to work - The Globe and Mail
Mar. 31, 2011 Globe and Mail MARGARET WENTE.

.....Higher education by itself can’t solve Canada’s competitiveness
problems. For that, we’re going to need a lot more smarts about what
higher education can and should deliver...Our universities admit too
many people, not too few. According to Ken Coates, and Bill Morrison,
they’re full of people who probably shouldn’t be there. Their new book
is Campus Confidential...Canada’s national conceit is that all students
who want to go to university should have the chance...the ROI for a
general undergraduate degree has fallen sharply....Higher education by
itself can’t solve Canada’s competitiveness problems. For that, we’re
going to need a lot more smarts about what higher education can and
should deliver.
Colleges_&_Universities  Margaret_Wente  participation_rates  books 
april 2011 by jerryking

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