Structural Unemployment

We really do better when a rising tide lifts all boats, not just the yachts.

The persistence of structural employment lies at the heart of so much of the tragedy in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, yet the news media neglects to cover and analyze it because that would involve a more in-depth discussion of what ails us as a society, and it is not amenable to a 30-second or even 15-minute sound byte.

Many of the advantaged people in our society persist in believing their own efforts, and those efforts alone, contribute to their success. And because many of the “movers and shakers” in our society made it through hard work, they believe if others just acted similarly, the results would be the same.

Structural unemployment, not a difficult concept to master, means some people are trapped by our changing society and are unable to climb out of poverty. Without any money coming in, households become stressed, and the men feel unable to fulfill their most elemental responsibilities: looking after their families. This reality decimates the African-American family structure at the best, and at the worst leads to a life in prison and habitual recidivism.

When people are trapped, they lash out in despair, and incidents similar to the rioting in Baltimore, as counterproductive as it seems, occur with increasing regularity. The effects may seem indirect, but the increasing inequality of wealth distribution in today’s economy, impacts the bottom third of our society with devastating force.

We really do better when a rising tide lifts all boats, not just the yachts.