pattern language, politics

Job Openings At Record Low: 50 Percent Fewer Than 2007

Read the article I’m commenting on at HuffingtonPost

UPDATE: I would normally receive a notification if Huff had published this comment. Didn’t get one.

The reason job openings are low is because the market is changing radically.

The jobs of the future have been largely beyond the radar of planners or are just coming into focus.

The jobs of the future will depend on the evolution of new concepts of settlement, zoning and service.

We are moving from an “institutional” society to a more community or neighborhood-oriented one. We are also moving to a more security-conscious one and one which will place a premium on safe and person-friendly environments. Scale is the key. Adequate density. Current metrosprawl densities are impossible economically.

It is the market itself that is making the continuation of an automotive, metrosprawl world less and less sustainable.

The change that is coming will happen as folk free up their mental and financial resources to rebuild our society physically, conceptually and with a more personal face.


Connecting Dots on Jobs

Getting tired of simplistic laments about losing jobs, especially from the liberal Ed Show side. The fact of the matter is that many car jobs and defense jobs and other jobs that have to do with the 20th Century are not gonna be restored.

At least if the President is successful in minimizing wasteful defense spending and ending the tyranny of oil.

The laments will be sounding loud and clear over coming weeks and our response should be:

Be honest about it. Talk about the green economy. Talk about new professions that will deal with the coming aging of the population and the need to start building communities that do not get washed or blown away whenever the weather acts up. Talk about the new jobs that would come into being if we really did preventive health care. Talk about new modes of teaching if we really did move more toward a culture which offered more than one route toward becoming qualified.

The jobs we associate with Detroit are going away and any effort to resuscitate the automobile economy that we have known is throwing the future down the drain.

The underlying political controversy now is between the predatory and the civilized. Between those who would turn the US into the New Barbarians and those who would move us gently toward something like a Civilization where people are not ashamed to be civil, not ashamed to tolerate, not ashamed to do things that celebrate life.

We have the Cheneys of the world wishing for a nice attack to reignite the paranoia and fear around 9/11. And we have the Obamas of the world going for a new synthesis in which smartness counts for something in creating security and hope is not subject to the cynical Cheney sneer.

All we have to remember from our past is that the Cheneys of the world are no strangers my code phrase “jaws of hell”. Hit the tag for more. And that the Obama’s of the world are aware of this underside but smart enough to contain it and ward off its worst expressions.


pattern language, politics

How To Get The Jobs Back

I have more than once insisted that things are working reasonably well considering. I assume the untold story now is the number of entrepreneurial and visionary sorts who are completely content with the fact that the jobs that are vanishing need not come back.

The first things they think about are values. What in god’s name will people pay for these days? People will pay for comfort and health but these are no longer to be identified with houses and cars. They are identified with new forms of dwelling and new forms of transportation. It will be hit or miss for a while but a transition from ownership to renting is a hint in the right direction.

Values — what people want is a chance to enjoy public space without being placed in an interminable line, subject to mayhem and hassling and feeling lost in a crowd. Where are the visionaries and entrepreneurs who will put this value into practice by advocating for and creating decent new public spaces where people can sit in some security and enjoy the passing scene?

I have pattern language posts here with tons of specific ideas that suggest new products and economies, but all I am hearing is restarting so we can have more of the same — cars and single homes scattered from here to the far reaches of Mongolia. We are not in a credit crisis. We are in an idea crisis.


We get the jobs back by letting go and putting our minds to work. We acknowledge that there are already people working to create a new way of living. We give up cautious capitalism for adventurous investment in real things that are on the ground. We acknowledge that the market is working fine. When we say no, it means that we want something else. People cannot spend for what is not being offered. Where there is no vision people perish.

We give up on the idea that we just need to get credit flowing. What we need to get flowing is ideas and visions. Let’s stop living on credit and live on new values that raise us from lemming status to something a trifle more dignified.

Please read Our Crisis Is Not Economic for context.