Saturday, March 19, 2016

Manufacturing Jobs Are NOT Coming Back

Speaking at the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) Conference, Vivek Wadhwa said:

 "we need to understand innovation so we aren't focused on solving yesterday's problems"...

Are schools set up to challenge yesterday's problems or tomorrows?

If they are worried about  segregating, ordering, rating, separating, grading, competing, rewarding some and disciplining others - I think it's clear which it's focused on.

Two other pieces get to the same point:
Five Thirty Eight - Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back

"Here’s the problem: Whether or not those manufacturing jobs could have been saved, they aren’t coming back, at least not most of them. How do we know? Because in recent years, factories have been coming back, but the jobs haven’t. Because of rising wages in China, the need for shorter supply chains and other factors, a small but growing group of companies are shifting production back to the U.S. But the factories they build here are heavily automated, employing a small fraction of the workers they would have a generation ago." ...

Washington Post: Factory jobs trickle back to the U.S., giving hope to a once-booming mill town

"In 1994 there were 3.5 million more Americans working in manufacturing than in retail. Today, those numbers have almost exactly reversed, and the gap is widening. More than 80 percent of all private jobs are now in the service sector."

Every community college, especially those in rural areas, are ramping up for the pending manufacturing revival... training people for yesterday's problems. Every high school, especially those in rural areas, are focused on developing dual-enrollment programs so there students can earn practical, hands on skills to get "practical" jobs, at these returning companies.  The logic appears to be that some companies are just looking for people with the "right skills" to adopt and take care of for the next 35 years, at which point they'll give the employee their leave with a nice bonus and encourage them to move to Boca... it's a beautiful fairy tale, one which our parents bought hook, line, and sinker some 50 years ago...

And most challenging, it's the fantasy that Donald Trump is selling million's of people, that there is just a silver bullet fix that can return everything to they way they mis-remember them.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Full of Doubts, Full of Confidence

Attributed to Charles Bukowski:
“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

 (Click HERE to learn more about Bukowski)

Attributed to Bertrand Russell:
 “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

 "Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality." 
  (Click HERE to learn more about Russell)

Attributed to William Butler Yeats:
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity."
 (Click HERE for more from Yeats)

For the curious all quotes investigated by the Quote Investigator - here 

As I read these quotes, Donald Trump and his supporters come instantly to mind... as does this:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
Read more at:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
Read more at:

Looking for Superman, Finding Scapegoats

Four Really Good Pieces about the Trump candidacy:

David Corn in Mother Jones - How the Republican Elite Created Frankentrump  
Charles Pierce in Esquire - There Is Only One Way to Stop Donald Trump Now
Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone – How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable
David Brooks in the NYTimes - The Governing Cancer of Our Time

Brooks in the NYTimes piece - 

 "Trump’s supporters aren’t looking for a political process to address their needs. They are looking for a superhero."

 We see this same thing at the local/state/federal level in economic development, education, workforce development, etc.   Everyone’s looking for someone to blame and someone to “fix” “it”.  Among the ‘fix it’ folks, their erroneous assumption, I think, is that with the right moves by a superhero, we’ll come out of “it” and everything will be ‘back to normal’.   But, we’re in the middle of a fundamental transformation of the economy, rather than simply coming out of a recession.  We’re looking for (perhaps looking at) our new normal.   And people are scared to death, because they don’t see clear pathways, they can’t see around the corner, etc.

Add to it a reality t.v. show culture, prosperity theology and this guy may be the next president.

Chris Sacca is a successful VC, like the Donald he’s got a billion or so dollars.  His comments on Tim Ferriss' podcast in Jan are, I think, related to the Trump phenomenon:

Chris Sacca on Tim Ferriss Podcast- 1/15/16
“… one of you asked a question that postulated that in the future 30% will have it good and 70% will have it bad.  I actually think on this current path it’s going to be way worse than that.   There will be way fewer people who have it good and the rest will struggle.  In the old economy where people used to have careers, pensions, and benefits that doesn’t exist anymore, it’s been replaced by people who are called associates, who are hourly, who don’t qualify for benefits, who don’t really have a safety net and there is scary implications to that.  I saw a prophetic comment on twitter where the future will be 10 trillionaires and the rest of us will be taking turns serving vente expressos to each other and driving around in each other’s ubers.  Obviously that’s intensively dystopian but there is a trend line pointed in that direction…”
“You’ve got a huge group of people in the United States who have basically lost control of their own destiny.  The small businesses they used to run have gone away.  They’ve lost their farms, they’ve lost their houses, they’ve lost the ability to plot their own future.  When they get up in the morning committed to work hard, they don’t necessarily know that’s it’s going to work out for them.  If that were you, you’d probably be looking for scapegoats too.  Now, I think some of those scapegoats are misplaced and the blame is placed in the wrong place, but...”