The great economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction.” He convincingly argued that a growing and dynamic economy both creates jobs---and destroys those no longer relevant. The quintessential example may be the ones in the farming sector since the beginning of the 20th Century. At that time, roughly forty percent of the American working population earned a living in this manner. Today that figure is under three percent, and still dropping. There was also once a thriving horse and buggy industry before the car became our standard means of transportation. The lives of the overall American people were greatly enhanced, but admittedly life was often cruel for the newly unemployed. Some probably never again saw a steady paycheck.
What can be done to assist those compelled to find a new occupation? Should we offer them some form of welfare assistance? Might we underwrite their returning to school? Whatever, the bottom line is this: these jobs must be allowed to disappear! This is not optional. The world does not owe anybody anything. Nobody’s employment should be safe. Am I talking only about blue collar occupations? Nope, I also include doctors, lawyers, and technological experts. We are all obligated to allow our jobs to be destroyed if they no longer can be justified. Not to do so, is literally stealing from those around you. There is no such thing as economic improvement unless we increase productivity. We become wealthier only by providing better goods and services in less time. A protected job impoverishes all of us.
Phil Hanlon’s sensible proposals for Dartmouth
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