(2011-07-20) Job Creation Vs Free Agent

WW at The Economist thinks there's something that bothers me slightly about this whole "JobCreation" discussion. The implicit idea seems to be that policy should aim to increase employer demand for employees. But it occurs to me that perhaps some of the long-term unemployed want remunerative work, but are a bit sick of "employment"... I am convinced that autonomy is profoundly important to most of us, and that the sort of self-rental involved in the employment relation is regularly experienced as a lamentable loss of autonomy, if not humiliating subjection. I think a lot of us would rather not work for somebody else. It's not necessarily that we're burgeoning entrepreneurs eager to start small businesses. It just sucks to have a boss... It could be that an economic shock like the one we've recently suffered will lead to a resurgence of the sort of economic Insecurity behind our grandparents' comparatively materialist values. But it could also be that our culture's transition to post-materialism has been sufficiently thorough to have altered how even relatively low-skilled workers are inclined to respond to UnEmployment... We need to stimulate the prospects for employment, but we also need to make it easier for people to just work in ways that may not show up in the official unemployment stats. You can think of this as tearing down barriers to "SelfEmployment", if you must. (Free Agent)

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