In our rapidly changing world things that used to be a ubiquitous part of our daily lives suddenly become obsolete. Things like typewriters, VCRs, vinyl records and other products disappear from our homes and our lives. These relics of a bygone time get tossed, or stuffed in boxes and stored in attics, and manufacturers simply stop producing them.
An article by Bloomberg/Business Week notes another ubiquitous part of our daily lives that is on the road to obsolescence: The American working man. “Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man,” notes the article. The big difference is that human beings won’t sit quietly in attics collecting dust, and we are likely to continue “manufacturing” them whether employers want them or not.
The data are pretty bleak. Only 63.5 percent of working age American men have jobs. Those who do have jobs are earning substantially less. Real wages for American ages 30 to 50 have dropped by 27 percent since 1969. The trends are not likely to reverse any time soon. The article offers numerous explanations for this phenomenon – globalization, mechanization, the increasing number of women entering the labor force.
Of course one phenomenon that is assiduously avoided is the impact of mass immigration which occurred concurrently and continues even as the American male worker goes the way of the typewriter. With or without mass immigration, American workers – male and female – would have faced adversity due to the other factors noted. But mass immigration has only exacerbated an already difficult situation.
What the elite – in other words, Bloomberg/Business Week’s readership – fail to grasp is that they will ultimately pay a price for writing off or impoverishing large segments of the American labor force and importing lots more impoverished workers from abroad. High levels of structural unemployment and large numbers of poverty wage workers are simply incompatible with social stability.
Disenfranchised workers or those with no hope of upward mobility cannot be relegated to boxes in the attic. When large segments of the population do not share in a nation’s prosperity and when social welfare programs reach their fiscal limits, trouble ensues. Social order breaks down. Governments topple, or become irrelevant as their functions are replaced by criminal enterprises or radical ideologies. The oases for the elite and their money become fewer and farther between.
The elite in America had better take heed. Not every factor that is leading to the obsolescence of the American male worker can be reversed. Mass immigration, however, is one that can be and it’s a good place to start.