The role of the non-voluntary government, all of the insane rules and regulations that impede and destroy business, is well known. The cost of these job destroying regulations probably exceeds that of the taxes, fees, licenses and outright bribes disguised as “fines.” Together they are strangling the economy of the entire world and unemployment is a serious problem.
The “minimum wage,” affirmative action, racial quotas and the like are well known, though seriously misunderstood by so many, and the whole insanity of confusing the incestuous relationship between government and big business with the free market is disputed everywhere. The entire fabric of business and the market is being roiled by changes and stresses our ancestors never could have imagined.
But there are other factors often overlooked. The people who do those jobs, who form the bulk of the employees, as well as the unemployed, have a part to play as well.
I grew up in the late 1940s and 50s, in a small town with no industry and little to offer by way of jobs. My parents had lived through the late 20s and 30s, with vivid memories of soup kitchens, bread lines and painful poverty – all the while working at whatever they could find, whenever they could find it. Many men traveled great distances, often on foot, looking for work and then getting back and forth to it. Some pushed carts or wheelbarrows through the streets selling vegetables, firewood and ice – and some were still doing so when I was a child. One old man in our neighborhood led a pony that pulled a cart full of coal (yes, some still heated with coal then). He never got rich, but he was beloved of all who lived there.
For the most part, integrity was sacrosanct. People who did not keep their word or wouldn’t/couldn’t give an honest days’ work for their pay… didn’t work much. There was no welfare, unemployment “insurance,” or any other “safety net.” The churches and other charities did what they could for the women and children, but men had to be honest men to find work… or turn to crime.
But my, oh my, how things have changed.
I’m 70 years old now, and must hire some things done. It’s getting harder and harder to find anyone willing to work, a pretty amazing thing when you consider there is so much “unemployment.” It’s even harder when one insists on integrity and respect.
Just as an example, I have a mound of trash and debris that has accumulated over the last year. I can’t do a darn thing about it myself, and the local “refuse company” won’t touch any of it. I agreed to board some horses for a while this summer, and the owners promised to haul the trash as a trade. The horses have been gone for a month now, but the trash remains and I don’t hold out any hope the people will honor their promise. It has happened before.
Last week I met a friend in town at the hardware store, and asked if he knew of anyone who would like a small job and had a truck. He said he thought he knew of two young men looking for work and would have them call me. On Friday night, one of them did call, asking if I’d want them to come on Saturday. I told him I’d be glad to show them what I needed done on Sunday morning, since I would be gone Saturday. He was openly disappointed, saying that they would have liked to get a little money for the weekend… But he then agreed to come at 8AM on Sunday and I left it at that.
The comment about “weekend money” struck me strangely, and I pondered it a few times over the next day, but was ready to meet with them on Sunday. But it was not to be. By 10:AM I had not seen or heard from them, so went to the store and got on with my day. At 3PM, the man called and said they’d gotten busy and couldn’t come that morning, but wanted to see if we could set another time. I thanked him for calling (finally), but said I was no longer interested in his help.
These may be perfectly nice young men, with nothing but good intentions, but I could not consider them trustworthy now. If they couldn’t show up for a job interview, let alone on time, how could I rely on them at all? If they didn’t have the integrity and courtesy to call before they were due to arrive, why would I be interested in an excuse that clearly told me my time was unimportant and they had better things to do than keep an appointment? How could I trust that they would be careful, and not damage my property, let alone expose me to the risk of liability if they were injured through their own negligence?
And so, I wonder if this attitude and lack of integrity isn’t behind a lot of the unemployment problems in the country now, on top of all the rest. I suspect so, and that it can be laid to the door of the government indoctrination camps called “schools,” and the socialist muck they grew out of.
I do hope that people of integrity can find a way to solve the problems generally, taking back control of their own lives and property. It won’t happen without a return to integrity, personal responsibility, renewed work ethics, and common courtesy.