"History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in.... I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome." Jane Austen spoken by Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey'
Are You Qualified?
Here is a continuation of the theme that North American Labour needs to retrain that I posted about last month from the point of view of who is benefiting from wealth creation.
Now, this chart mashup shows the Beveridge Curve which is the inverse relationship between the unemployment rate and the vacancy rate. It demonstrates that since the Pit of Gloom in 2009, the unemployment rate has been falling while job vacancies have been rising, BUT the counter-clockwise outward shift indicates a higher unemployment rate along the job openings curve. Employers cannot fill job vacancies either because labour is unwilling or untrained. The longer the unemployed remain so, the less likely they will fit the demands of the employer; hence the question "Are you qualified?". Can you retrain while you are idle? Can you move to where the demand for labour is?
Employers are increasingly free to locate near or attract high skill low cost labour from a giant "free trade" low barrier pool.
It's another realization that the compounding effects of multilateral "trade" agreements since post WWII (GATT 1947, WTO 1995) have been changing the value of labour. Since 1994, NAFTA has been the arbiter of disputes via the dispute settlement system known as "Chapter 19" and members have agreed to ignore conventional national judicial review in favour of NAFTA's panel review. The removal of dispute resolution from judicial systems is a hallmark of Capital's ability to not just lobby government but to become government. The latest but not yet manifest "trade" agreement is TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership 2010) which aims to "liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific".
TPP meetings and negotiations are kept secret except for what WikiLeaks has managed to publish and ...
... anti-globalization advocates accuse the TPP of going far beyond the realm of tariff reduction and trade promotion, granting unprecedented power to corporations and infringing upon consumer, labour, and environmental interests. One widely republished article claims the TPP is "a wish list of the 1%" and that "of the 26 chapters under negotiation, only a few have to do directly with trade. The other chapters enshrine new rights and privileges for major corporations while weakening the power of nation states to oppose them." (Wikipedia)
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense