Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Housing Bubble and Jobs

In an economy where manufacturing jobs are vanishing over the long-term , housing construction is an area that is still labor intensive and can't be outsourced. It has a strong union presence and the wages aren't bad for an experienced worker.

The collapse of jobs in housing and construction means a lot of pain for workers who are deeply entrenched in these professions. There are few other blue-collar industries left that provide a large amount of jobs. Technology in high wage countries is making the human unnecessary for a wide range of tasks. This should be a good thing, but when capital is controlled by a very small group of people interested in profit, it is means an unhealthy economy for the general population.

I suspect the housing bubble was allowed to balloon because elite policymakers know about this jobs quandary. There was nothing to replace it within the economy as currently structured.

In the coming decades, more technology should mean less work and more leisure time, equally distributed. Not more work for a few, with a large pool of unemployed serving as a threat.

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