I just completed getting really excited over a significantly paid online writing position only to find that, yet again, I fall below the required minimum age for employment. (We bloggers at the Times of Israel aren’t “employed.”) Over and over again I find jobs that I, as an educated, well read person unable to travel much (Remember, I’m young) could do quite well. However, besides the few outlets who have thankfully given me an opportunity to write unpaid, all of the opportunities have turned out that I am too young, or too inexperienced.
“Too inexperienced” leads me to the other problem besides age. Sure, plenty of jobs need plenty of experience, but the jobs that do not naturally require experience are fewer and farther between. Nice jobs, like the proverbial shop on the corner paying teenagers the modern equivalent of a few dollars an hour- sadly, they are mostly gone.
Teenage unemployment is on the extreme rise around the world. In the United States as a whole, the rate is around 14-16%. For some Southern regions of the US, the rate is almost twice the previous number, nearly the same as France, at 23.6%. (In Israel, the 2012 rate was 12.2%.) I am unemployed, and I have looked all over the place for work. What on earth is wrong? Where have all the jobs gone?
Young people are forced to make a decision. School or work? Work or “nothing at all”? When work is the option that is so much harder than every other option, because the jobs are all gone, what will be the young person’s default choice? Every other option. The behaviors commonly characterized as “unproductive” and a “drain on society” will (did and do!) be so very high.
Forget society. Young people will customarily have little basis for personal fulfillment and the self development that comes with feeling like you are really “getting everything out of life.” If there are things that are clearly separate from you, than why should you desire them? But, if there is a goal, like work, that seems to have no logical basis whatsoever for it to be separate from you, then you struggle with hopelessness. Youth today struggle with hopelessness. Why shouldn’t “I” as a youth be able to work? No work leaves a void.
When not working is made even easier, and when work is penalized, unemployment goes up even more and the jobs go away even faster. Massive welfare benefits make not working even easier. Welfare in theory is great- sort of. The point is that there are unintended consequences to welfare, like the natural entrepreneurial spirit of man being worn down.
By the way, programs like American Social Security and Medicare that the individual forcibly pays into early in life in order to receive benefits later- those programs aren’t actually welfare. But that’s a different story…
Work is penalized, and therefore made less, by mechanisms like those that make not working easier. Heavy burdens on employers, like complicated centralized safety regulations, forced employer provided medical insurance, and minimum wage make working more difficult.
Suddenly, it is insanely hard to actually do anything. The same applies to any employer, including self- employers. Some regulators said that some bacteria was found in milk, so raw milk can’t be sold. (Those who do sell it for human consumption in America are arrested.) Vegetables- you can’t call them organic, or you’re heavily prosecuted. Organic must be certified as such. You can’t dig, you can’t build, you can’t demolish, you can’t sell, of our own accord, anything having anything to do with medicine. (I’m talking from an American perspective.)
Minimum wage and forced employer provided insurance make the cost of persons much more difficult to sustain. For example, in America, the average cost per employee per year in regulatory compliance alone for small businesses is around $10,000. Relying on such unsustainable mechanisms for sustainable security for the everyman is unthinkable.
Israel today is largely so great in worldly terms because of the culture of the start-up. People can actually do something! People want to do something! That “something” is a part of real, fulfilling, and productive existence. When that something, when the potential for the culture of the start-up is squashed, people are negatively impacted. We want to work, but around the world, and in America, we, the young, up and coming, potential start-up founders, can’t. We still want to anyway.