Friday, March 17, 2006

Gen Debt France

I have been watching with much interest the youth protests going on in France because of the new job law. It's definitely a Gen Debt thing:

With nearly 1-in-4 French youths and young adults unemployed, many fret about how they will find work, make their first down payment on an apartment, afford to start a family.

They study, earn diplomas, but often are resigned to finding nothing more rewarding after graduation than unpaid internships. The most disenfranchised -- immigrant youths in depressed neighborhoods that went up in flames during riots last fall -- don't even expect those.


Ron Garrett said...

Hi Anya:

The same fate is not far off for American students. US universities are focused more than ever on insourcing foreign students as Americans increasingly have difficulty paying the costs. As those unable to pay for college seek jobs available without a college degree, they will find those jobs occupied by immigrant labor. If they do go to college and major in sciences and engineering, upon graduation they will find those jobs being given preferentially to H1B visa holders, despite vague language in the law for hiring qualified Americans first, because the federal government in fact has never taken H1B enforcement action against any employer (or if they have there's no public record of it that I can find).

This problem is reflective first of a complete absence of any notion of “corporate citizenship” and, secondarily, an indication of congressional willingness to be bought off on importing labor specifically to drive down wages.

This is why I want to cry and curse at the Bush team crying “unpatriotic” every time someone gets in their way. For crony capitalists in the White House national allegiance is a marketing slogan as proved by the DPW deal. And no, the Democrats are no different in any sense. Try finding a Democrat anywhere willing to take a stand against H1B visa expansion. Quite the opposite.

Back when the Jekyll Island boys decided to start endowing universities and libraries, and used their clout to push public education, the nation's wealth and power was concentrated in a very narrow owner class. Today, wealth and power is concentrated in the CEO class, and CEOs are not building their own railroads or steel empires for the future of their families. They are freebooters in for the quick kill at one company, and then move on quickly to loot another set of shareholders at another company. Long term thinking is not their strong suit. Thinking about American workers scarcely occurs to any of them.

Unless Americans demonstrate their willingness to remove politicians who won't commit to ending H1B, and their willingness to remove polticians who allow off-shoring companies perks and bennies and contracts, and elect politicians who believe subsidizing education is more important to America's security than subsidizing Halliburton and Pfizer, it won't be long before we find the only job our kids can get is tending the lawn of the Chinese and Indian H1Bs that work at Lenovo. I don't see much hope of change given that the corporations who benefit directly from undermining US labor are the ones paying for the campaigns, golf trips, dinners, vacations, yachts, mistresses....

Ron Garrett

Anonymous said...

"...but complaints about economic inequality grate a little coming from someone whose parents covered a four-year education at Yale. Nor is it easy to muster much pity for a twenty-something journalist who has already published a book -- Generation Debt is based on her work for the Village Voice -- when she laments that no employer has offered her a job with benefits."

Ron Garrett said...

And most all the twenty-something's I know whose parents could afford to send them to Duke and Meredith are working diligently on accessorizing their wardrobes and screening boyfriends. So I think this lady is being extraordinarily responsible with the opportunity shes been given and is trying to contribute to an important discussion. Appreciate the rarity if nothing else.

big dog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
big dog said...

I saw you on C-SPAN today. I'm so impress with your knowlege of the US Education sytems.
I have two year Degree in Broadcasting I Curently work in the television Industry as Mater Control Operator.