Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's About "Work," Not Jobs

2012 was definitely the year of "new definitions of normal."  That phrase, which I first encountered several years ago as I reached middle age and a friend comforted me over health concerns with that phrase.  It made a lot of sense and brought some order to the disorder.  Now, I see that adaptation - that wisdom - running throughout society, especially in areas of politics and economics.  Certainly, with the re-election of President Obama and the rise of Nate Silver as a statistical wunderkid, the normal rules for elections no longer apply.  Similarly, changes in the economy have created conditions which are a new definition of normal.  And, for the issue of "jobs," that means redefining jobs as simply "work."  This new definition is well described in Dave Maney's recent column in the Denver Post.  According to Maney:

President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, please take note: Your so-called job-creation policies won't create "jobs" or economic opportunity anymore ... The Internet and related information technologies have created a flourishing independent, self-directed, non-"job"-based economy. It's faster, more efficient and more adaptable than anything ever created — and it's only going to get better. If we let it.
The Government Accountability Office estimates there are 42 million Americans working independently as sole proprietors, consultants, contract laborers, etc. — economic free agents, in other words, increasingly using those Internet tools and platforms to make things happen in the economy. All without the creation of a single job. Work, yes. Income, yes. One-person businesses, yes. But a job, as we have thought of it? No.

Dave Maney has written extensively on ideas such as these, and more of his work can be found in his engaging commentary site

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