Modern World of Work
Difficult times for the libertarian working man at the beginning of the 21st century

The job market for techies has been tight for at least three years.

I have some theories:

Mainly, I feel the political/parasitical class is supplanting the creative class in the largely artificial government-corporate mixed economy.  Decisions regarding personnel, even project-level decisions, have become the province of human-resources fiefdoms—HR bureaucracies directly trace their ancestry to excesses of state-granted corporate privilege—which have no idea how to produce anything.  This creates two basic conditions:

• Genuinely productive, creative people who exercise initiative
   and reveal a broad base of conceptual intelligence are less
   likely to be hired than more conforming minions, who
   typically display superficial know-how through some facility
   with the snake-oil tools or favored applications du jour.

• As production declines (because the creative resources are
   quashed), real wealth erodes, leading to fewer dollars
   available to grow businesses and hire creative people.  Thus
   the system becomes victim to a feedback loop leading to
   failure: the fewer creative people are hired, the fewer can be

In the medical profession, an excellent illustration of the politicization of work lies in that thick layer of government aggression added by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, also known as the Kennedy-Kassenbaum Act.  The alleged purpose of HIPAA (HIPPO!) was to simplify electronic recordkeeping and guarantee patient privacy.  Of course, it has become a pointless, complex, hyperexpensive, government-mandated rathole.

The mandates of HIPPO have led to exorbitant payments for consultants to interpret requirements and assure compliance.  In my research I read gross cost of HIPPO’s initial compliance was $40 billion, with roughly $10 billion per year following that.  Think of the vast number of workers who thus become private-industry bureaucrats, performing antiproductive functions.

In the information technology (IT) profession we have similar boondoggle that works to elevate the political class and diminish productive manhours: the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002.  Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman Michael Oxley spearheaded this travesty… to bring alleged accountability to public corporations after the Enron scandal.

Just as HIPPO guarantees wealth-depleting employment for lawyers, SOX (SUX!) guarantees wealth-depleting employment for accountants and computer programmers.  From my experience, these two laws are notable instances of real job destruction by the state, outside of the oil wars and the national debt.

In the long run I believe we’re going to have to go through
  some even more troubled times until we get to the new
  economy, which will be likely based on hemp, bioenergy,
  and cheap failsafe nuclear technology.  In the new post-
  fossil-fuel economy the creative class will be fine.  Until
  then, we need to learn the game and thread the needle to
  find work that fits our skills.  But I don’t mind packing
  groceries if that’s what it comes to.

Let’s just say the ideal situation for someone coming to the Free State in these highly politicized employment times is a) to already have a job and be transferred or b) to find a new one and have it in hand when you arrive.



                                         Main | Columns | Movie Reviews | Book Reviews | Articles | Guest