Nick Rosen | |
Time to lose the suit

While news emerges that the top bosses in Western economies are earning FIFTY times more than they did in the eighties, in many US cities, the youth unemployment rate is reaching 50%.  The same is true in European cities, especially in Spain, Greece and Portugal. Italy will be next.

Its only the beginning.  We may now understand the way the global elite has gamed the financial system in recent years (partly thanks to the Occupy movement). But there are no signs that we are doing anything about it.  The Davos crowd, which has ruled the global economy for the past two decades, takes money from the masses and hide their activities by creating bubbles.

The result is the current peak in youth unemployment —  a tragedy because it condemns those people who happened to graduate from school or college during a downturn to a life of disadvantage.  But youth unemployment is cyclical.  The next upturn alleviates the problem.

White collar jobless

But the growing issue for Western economies is middle-aged unemployment.; the 40-and 50-somethings, with families to support and years of pension contributions and tax payments behind them, who are thrown on the scrap-heap as big structural changes in the economy transport white-collar jobs to the emerging economies in Asia and Latin America.

Huge swathes of the employed populations had better start planning for a time of no job, and very little in the way of State benefits.

America spends 17 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, twice the average for developed countries. But Americans are less healthy than others, although healthcare costs have risen 9 per cent this year alone. Healthcare will lose half its labor force in the next decade. Finance accounts for 8 per cent of GDP, twice as high as the historical average.  The extra 4 per cent went into the pockets, trust funds and country homes of the financial industry’s senior executives. And shareholders in big financial institutions (mainly pension funds whose managers siphon off huge fees) have lost shedloads of money. Financial workers will be displaced by advances in IT. Soon they will be fighting for McJobs.

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Meanwhile 25 million people who want to work are unemployed. Since 2008, nearly 10 per cent of US households have been foreclosed and the real median household income has fallen 10 per cent. 28 percent of homeowners with mortgages are in negative equity.

For lots of folks, joining an off-grid community at least means finding some basic shelter and eating warm food.

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