When the Reval hits, many people may be confused about what to do next.
How do we proceed? Do we learn the old rules again? What are the new rules? No rules? How does the world operate then?
In order for us to really begin to examine what to do next, I think we first need to understand what just happened – where we came from historically, that is; our recent past.
What follows is an overview but with more detail than some readers might wish. If you don’t like detail, perhaps skip this article.
Young people holding down two to three jobs, at low wages, on contract – no pension, no benefits – this was not the way it was before 1982.
Before 1982, in Canada anyways, it was still possible to make a career with one company, have full medical benefits, retire with a comfortable pension and a retirement savings plan, etc. You could rise up in the company, if you wanted to.
I failed to appreciate what I had. I just wanted to write and work was time away from writing. Nevertheless, if you consider the world as a whole, I was in paradise. I lacked for nothing.
We had something called a social safety net – a network of government-funded services for single mothers, seniors, the disabled, etc. All that was shredded after 1982.
So what happened in 1982?
I remember the Recession that began that year. It was the first time jobs failed to return upon recovery – at least, that I was aware of. Maybe others may have happened, but I wasn’t aware of them before then.
Every recession after that featured the same jobless recovery. Recessions became an excuse for shedding jobs – lost to automation. No need to buy out a worker’s contract any more; just lay him or her off due to Recession. Downsizing, we called it.
There was no Recession; there was only the shrinkage of work due to automation and other associated factors.
Yes, we recovered – I suppose – but hundreds of thousands kept losing their jobs. And wealth kept migrating to fewer and fewer people.
Add to that that wherever they could, capital took flight to low-wage areas. The American worker got it one, two, three.
We Baby Boomers “smartened up.” Hippies climbed back into monkey suits. We were criticized as the “Me Generation” (that’s what critics make of self-awareness and Self-Realization) and encouraged to stop “finding ourselves.”
(Concluded in Part 2, tomorrow.)