What to do with unemployable souls?
Assume the left side of the bell-curve is redundant. Hazlitt is out of date. Moldbug ventures, on his stupid/genius blog, that a benign, absolute monarch might use protectionism to provide jobs.
As long as flights of fancy be firewalled from our actual government, it is an interesting thought. Yet the state has no monopoly on protectionism.
Consider the Amish. Strangely, plastic crap and McDonalds haven’t penetrated their culture. How do they balk efficiency? By enforcing norms.
Progressivism is communism of the soul. We lack rights to exclude; the state provides too many services. Cultures less resilient than a honey badger are torn apart. Social norms dumb down and dissipate. Too primitive are we, to debar Tesco and its Turkey Twizzlers.
Anyway—I don’t believe in technological unemployment. Neo-Luddites should watch A Romance of Engineering. It is, despite the name, an unvarnished set of promotional films for Scottish engineering firms, shot in 1938, 1946 and 1947.
A gaggle of mediocre minds man each plant with beautiful efficiency. A peculiar vision: freer, less brusque capitalism. No uppity women. The plants appear modern, save disregard for health and safety. Workers are all apprenticed. No sense that such work is fragile or privileged. Our zombie shelf-stackers are their polished industrial machines.
What happened? Etatism. Here is my 6-point plan to restore youth employment.
1. Abolish the minimum wage
Card & Krueger are refuted by Econ 101; deduction trumps experiment. Moreover, I know of cafés that don’t hire because of the minimum wage. One only need ask.
This is a modest harm. The greater damage is to apprenticeship. Not just plumbing; on-the-job training in all blue- and white-collar industry. Book learning cannot make one’s labour worth £6-an-hour—or maybe to ASDA, but not Shell or Barclays.
To train youngsters is prohibitive, especially if they jump ship as soon as they are profitable. A friend’s father works for a large engineering firm that no longer trains graduates. Why? Because of 14 who complete the grad scheme, only 2 stay. If the firm could pay £1 or £2-an-hour to trainees, rather than £6, this would be no problem.
Minimum wage, pace libertarians, is not only due to economic ignorance. Recall that high-status opinion is a spontaneous Gleichschaltung. No-one knows how to make a pencil, and no policymaker knows why we have a minimum wage. Perceived inhumanity—or perceptions of perceptions of perceived inhumanity—is one factor of production. Another is the conflict between apprenticeship and Brahmin education.
State education is good. It sensitises, levels and indoctrinates. It cultivates a human soul, rather than mechanical competence. Cathedral minds flinch subconsciously, when they consider that Vaisya apprenticeship might puncture bloated state education. One’s subconscious knows more, and takes more decisions than consciousness realises. State economists and policy experts know that minimum wages bolster state education, in the same sense that one’s mind navigates taboos on the fringe of awareness.
A plethora of flinches, in the minds of academia, media and bureaucracy, determine that the minimum wage is good. Ostensible reasons—living wage, Card & Krueger’s study—may not bespeak the opinion-factory’s true formula.
2. Permit employees to waive legal protection
Termination liability makes hiring risky.
Another acquaintance is an electrical engineer. One employee of his firm did no work. His product in six months was less than a normal day’s work. Management was well aware, yet they waited so long to fire him. He had legal protection.
This inflates the higher education bubble. Young people must signal their worth, since employers cannot afford to hire them and find out.
3. Legalise discrimination
A capitalist visits a high school. He invites twenty young men—not a diverse bunch—to an IQ test. The successful ten are put to work as unpaid servants, cleaners and errand boys. Five who last the month are employed at £1-an-hour for the summer and autumn, after which they gain permanent jobs and an improved wage.
Intelligent, conscientious and competent youngsters would prosper. But the selection procedure is untaxed and arbitrary, hence illegal.
4. Abolish the minimum working age
Young people experience menial jobs before they hit 16. By then at the latest, they are sufficiently mature to be apprenticed in better jobs.
5. Abolish payroll taxes
Why make employees a burden?
6. Abolish state schools
State schools run affordable private schools out of town. Government jobs and university places reward state accreditation. State schools dumb down and infantilise our children.
The public might, despite tipped scales, abandon state schools—especially if the higher-ed bubble bursts. They already abandoned NHS dentists.
But why wait?