The great nagging worry for all of us is unemployment. I’ve been thinking (and I’ll bet you have been, too) about what would make an employer hire more employees and – you know what? – I can’t come up with any thoughts, great or even less than. I suspect that the federal government has the same problem, don’t you?
What would make an employer – now used to making the same number of widgets, or providing the same dollar value of services with far fewer employees – hire more workers? It’s a conundrum. It’s axiomatic that employers will produce goods where labor is cheap, and it now seems equally certain that employers will continue to produce the same amount of goods or services with fewer workers. After all, fewer workers and the same sales number is equal to greater profit, maybe even far greater profit.
Maybe if someone comes up with a battery-powered personal airplane that doubles as a car and only costs $5,000, there will many new hires. What we need is a new version of Henry Ford, creating a product that can be mass-produced here in the U.S.
Wait! What about a four-day workweek? If each of us who is working cuts his or her workweek by 20%, that should create a great demand for employees to replace us for our extra days off; it might even get us to full employment. It could cut unemployment in half. Do you want Fridays or Mondays off? Me? I have not decided. (Some of us may not be too happy about a 20% cut in pay.)