America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 1/5

Unless many Americans change their attitudes toward parenting and work, the United States cannot compete long term with China.

With about 14 million Americans unemployed, millions of illegal aliens still find work in the US.

In February 2011, the New York Times reported, “Despite continuing high unemployment among American workers, record deportations by the Obama administration and expanding efforts by states to crack down, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the work force — about eight million — was also unchanged, the Pew report found. Those workers were about 5 percent of the American work force.”

Then on November 4, 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, “Both the number of unemployed persons (13.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.0 percent) changed little over the month. The unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent since April.”


Unskilled immigrants are competing with unskilled Americans–mostly high school dropouts.

Imagine, if the government told unemployed Americans, “Work or starve! If you need a job, we will train and/or transport you to where that job is even if it is a job that only illegal immigrants have worked before.” If that happened, the unemployment rate in the US would drop from 13.9 million to less than six million and hover around 4%.

If these shunned jobs were the only choice after the standard unemployed “benefit year” [which is 52 weeks] ran out and the benefit checks stopped coming, the choice would be work where there is a job, any job, anywhere or possibly become homeless unless a friend or family member is willing to support you.

However, taking jobs away from illegal immigrants and giving them to unemployed American citizens is not why I’m writing this series. I wanted to know why Americans spurn jobs millions of illegal immigrants are paid to work at in the US.

In addition, China may learn a lesson from the mistakes Americans are making today.

Continued on December 10, 2011 in America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China

Advertisements

2 Responses to America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 1/5

  1. merlin2010 says:

    I’d love to shake your hand Mr Lofthouse for asking the question straight to the point.

    I understand people have different excuses. Some just have lived a life of luxury that they cant imagine ever picking up dirt in their hands. Some are addicted to the city life (office, easy transportation, shopping, nightlife) and dont want to leave that for a job. Some just dont want to leave their comfort zone.

    I know from my experience I have issues when dealing with machines. Either it breaks, or I walk away with a minor injury afraid to return in case it could become a major injury.

    One thing I believe this country should do in business is cut back on the use of machines and return to human power rather than machine. By doing so opens the door to more jobs, allows people to put more appreciation into their work. Compare your physical feeling towards buying a 75 cent can of vegetables full of sodium and preservatives to doing a physical labor task harvesting your own veggie garden and washing them and cooking them yourself. You have more appreciation for it when a coon eats your crops….whereas if a store runs out of stock you go to another store. Add in the fact that America’s health is deteriorating. By ditching the tech and going back to the simple life, a person would get more exercise in the day than they normally would. They’d appreciate money more as well as the

    • Merlin,

      Thank you.

      I bought this tin of “St. Claire’s Organics Licorice Pastilles” at Trader Joe’s [it is certified organic, allergen free and vegan]. When I open the lid, there was a quote inside from John Adams. “There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.”

      How many parents and teachers in the United States are following that advice?

      The answer: Not many since the focus in the US among most parents [except for Tiger Mothers such as Amy Chua] are working overtime to make sure their child’s self esteem as inflated as it can be, advising the child to follow his or her dreams [even if it never leads to a paying job] and to be happy everyday [I grew up learning from my parents who, as teens, lived through the Great Depression, that we earned out happiness by working hard to pay for shelter food and those moments when we were free outside of work to enjoy such as going camping in the mountains or reading a good book].

      It would be GREAT if everyone on the earth and the United States could find rewarding jobs that were fun daily, paid well and fit each person’s dreams, but just like buying a Lottery ticket, the odds of winning are millions to one. I read that annually for decades about 40,000 young dreamers flood into Hollywood convinced all they need is one break and they will be the next super star on the big or little screen.

      I’ve read the studies and “facts” that show about half of all college graduates end up working in the field where they earned their university degree and many have trouble finding a job of any kind.

      I saw this picture in a news story of the Occupy Movement where one of the protesters held a sign that said something like, “A master’s degree is Latino Studies, $35 thousand in debt and I can’t find a job”. Evidently, Latino Studies was this young woman’s passion but while she was attending a university for those five or six years, did she consider that a degree in Latino Studies might not lead to many job offers in that field? How many jobs are out there for people that major in areas like Latino Studies, feminism, acting, modeling or an MFA in writing? Universities in the US that offer MFA’s in writing number about four or five hundred.

      For all those want-to-be authors, be aware that last year about 3.3 million new titles were published in the US and the average book sells about 250 copies in its lifetime if a traditional publisher publishes it and less than 100 copies if it is self-published.

      My advice is to have a back-up plan, which means major in a field that stands a much better chance of leading to a secure job that pays well for a middle class lifestyle and minor in your dream unless your dream is realistic with better odds of leading to a job that supports life instead of a dream. Then while working at that job that doesn’t offer daily fun, work part time outside of that job on the dream.

      This week we had a piano moved from downstairs to upstairs. The men that came had been moving pianos for thirty years—about 500,000 of them. The boss of this three-man team said they move on average eight a day and are paid on average $250 for each move (as a team before dividing that money). You do the math.

      Is moving pianos fun?

      Is there anyone in the world that grows up dreaming of spending thirty years moving pianos?

      A few years ago, a neighbor had a skunk move into the crawl space below his house. The neighbor hired an expert in pest removal. To get rid of that skunk cost about $4,000 and the man that came to remove the skunk only worked for six hours to get the job done and rid the house of the skunk smell. Tell me how many people grow up dreaming of a job that removes pests like skunks from people’s houses. Then tell me how much this man must have earned if he did only two or three jobs like this a week.

      Two-year community colleges throughout the United States offer classes that train people to have skills that stand a much better chance of ending in a paying job. These certificate programs do not lead to college degrees. They are strictly job training in one field or the other that may be tedious and boring buy pays for shelter and food.

      It turns out I didn’t care much for those Licorice Pastilles but found they work better when dropping one or two in a cup of hot herbal tea–it adds a touch of licorice to the taste.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: