### Unemployment

Via Rhymes with Cars and Girls, an interesting article and comments about the "Prideful Worker" effect; i.e., the worker who's above taking the work that's available.

My parents and their siblings came of age in the Depression, when there was no such thing as this.  It was root, hog, er die; the "hunger" issue that's so casually thrown about in modern America was quite real for them.  My generation is more inclined to be picky, which it's possible to be if you have another source of income:  a family member with a job, government benefits, or independent means from savings or inheritance.

The article touches on the "Non-relocating Worker," too--someone who could find work in booming North Dakota but won't move there for whatever reason.  A commenter noted that moving isn't always an option for someone with a family member with a good job.  It's a dilemma that can't be grappled with effectively unless the whole family considers itself a unit, and is really up against it economically.  Our ancestors uprooted themselves, sometimes leaving behind part or all of their families if necessary, and took big chances on a new world.  Would they have done it if they'd had unemployment checks to live on?  I doubt I would have.  It takes the wolf at the door to get me to work at anything but crochet and Project Gutenberg.

Anonymous said...

My aunt and uncle packed their clothes and their kids in the car, and drove from San Antonio to New Orleans, where my uncle started a dirt-moving business.

That's the richest branch of the family.

Other members of the family are scattered across this country. And yet, I have encountered many people who say they "can't" move. To me, the difference between "don't want to" and "can't" is the difference between truth and lie.

Valerie

Eric Blair said...

It is a thorny issue. It is arguably more expensive to move now than it was in the 1930's, and North Dakota is the ass-end of the world, so I don't necessarily blame people for not moving there. But you'd see a lot more movement if there weren't unemployment benefits as you note, but I can't see how that's going to get unwound, short of some economic collapse that keeps the government from actually issuing the checks.

E Hines said...

North Dakota is the ass-end of the world, so I don't necessarily blame people for not moving there.

If the ass-end of the world is where the work is that I need to support my family, I'll move there in a heartbeat.

I may or may not bring my family with me, depending on that new environment. When I was reassigned to Manila, I sent my family home because the Philippine schools didn't teach anything, and the International School only taught the drug trade--hands on. I considered that inadequate for my 3rd grade daughter.

I don't see the inconvenience of work location as much of an excuse for anything other than laziness or a lack of understanding of personal capabilities or a lack of understanding of morality.

Eric Hines

DL Sly said...

"North Dakota is the ass-end of the world,..."

Nice. Out of respect for Grim, T99 and the other Hall members, I'll leave my four-letter response at the door. However, I would take living anywhere in North Dakota over any place on the east coast - especially the slurry pond that is called Washington, DC - or Coliformico.

As to the teeth-gnashing regarding the two year unemployment benefits ending.....all I can say is, "REALLY?" Two years of getting paid to sit on your butt wasn't enough? If someone has to say it, I will - Get a haircut. Get a job. I think it was Powerline this morning with stats about job openings in Atlanta numbering in the 700's, Philly in the 900's, etc. Yes, they were probably lower-wage jobs, but they were jobs. While, in the meantime, the cuts to military retiree's and disabled vet's COLA slides under the radar. Apparently they haven't done a damn thing to deserve the largesse of a full one and a half percent raise in order to keep up with the extra costs that are about to rain down upon them this year.

Grim said...

I've heard good things about the Dakotas, Sly, though I haven't been there.

Let's say I wanted to go to North Dakota and make my fortune there. How would I go about it? Is it as easy as climbing on my motorcycle and riding seventeen hundred miles into the teeth of winter? Or do I need to already have some skills when I show up? If so, how do I get those? How do I even know what they are? I hear people talk about this stuff, but I don't have the faintest idea how I would go about actually doing it. If I don't know how to start -- being a modestly well-educated man comfortable with internet research -- I'm not sure how many people would know how to begin. It's not like the frontier period, when you could go out West with a mule and a pan and find a likely river.

Umnnhhhh...the 'prideful worker' thing has other manifestations.

I'm acquainted with a fellow who has not worked for several years; he's an IT guy who is convinced that he's worth $125K/year. Unfortunately, that was a rate he was paid by Big Blue, one of the most generous companies in the world. And his skills are now worth around$40K on the open market. His solution? Liquidate savings and assets (his house is next and last on the list). God only knows what's next for him, but it won't be pretty.

Texan99 said...

Blame people for not moving to North Dakota? I don't. I'm just not interested in supporting them so they can stay\in Michigan. If they can find the means to avoid starving in Michigan, good for them.

From what I've seen of the state of the economy in North Dakota, it's exactly as easy as showing up and expressing a willingness to work: they truly are that desperate for warm bodies to fulfill every single ordinary function of the economy, from car-wash attendant to dog groomer. That's nearly the case for the Eagle Ford shale region of Texas, too.

So I'd say the real ass-end of the world is someplace people have so lost sight of how responsible adults interact with a free economy that they think the government is the answer, and that welfare is a reasonable long-term alternative to finding a new place to live. Once that tipping point is reached, the area is just waiting for the next natural disaster to finish it off.

DL Sly said...

Grim, it's as easy as showing up with a strong will to work and the body to handle it. Not sure I'd take that beautiful bike, though. It is a boom town area with all the attendant ups and downs good money brings -- crime, drugs and the seedy side of humanity. My neighbor two doors up the street works three weeks on two weeks off in the Bakken oil fields. To say their "motorized toy" collection has increased would be an understatement. He typically rides Amtrak back and forth. Our local station has installed a regular route just for those workers.

Gringo said...

"North Dakota is the ass-end of the world,..."

I don't know North Dakota, but a cousin and her family relocated to the Montana plains -land very similar to North Dakota- decades ago. They love it. When my cousin's husband got laid off, they could have used this as an opportunity to go back home, but they stayed. And stayed.
Theodore Roosevelt loved his time in North Dakota, but he was also realistic about it.

When the days have dwindled to their shortest, and the nights seem never ending, then all the great northern plains are changed into an abode of iron desolation. Sometimes furious gales blow out of the north, driving before them the clouds of blinding snowdust, wrapping the mantle of death round every unsheltered being that faces their unshackled anger. They roar in a thunderous bass as they sweep across the prairie or whirl through the naked cañons; they shiver the great brittle cottonwoods, and beneath their rough touch the icy limbs of the pines that cluster in the gorges sing like the chords of an Aolian harp. Again, in the coldest midwinter weather, not a breath of wind may stir; and then the still, merciless, terrible cold that broods over the earth like the shadow of silent death seems even more dreadful in its gloomy rigor than is the lawless madness of the storms. All the land is like granite; the great rivers stand still in their beds, as if turned to frosted steel. In the long nights there is no sound to break the lifeless silence. Under the ceaseless, shifting play of the Northern Lights, or lighted only by the wintry brilliance of the stars, the snow-clad plains stretch out into dead and endless wastes of glimmering white.

Edmund Morris quoted this passage in the first volume of his biography of Theodore Roosevelt.