Apparently Economics is Really Easy

Pictured: The Governor of the Bank of Canada trying to find his ass with both hands.

Pictured: The Governor of the Bank of Canada trying to find his ass with both hands.

Young Canadians who are facing long-term underemployment (your humble scribe included) will be pleased to learn that Mr. Stephen Poloz has some advice for us:

“When I bump into youths, they ask me, you know, ‘What am I supposed to do in a situation?’ I say, look, having something unpaid on your CV is very worth it because that’s the one thing you can do to counteract this scarring effect. Get some real-life experience even though you’re discouraged, even if it’s for free,” Mr. Poloz told reporters Monday in Ottawa.”

What a coincidence: my father gave me the same advice a few months ago.

Of course, my father, unlike Stephen Poloz, is not the Governor of the Bank of Canada, but I suppose that it’s too much to expect that the person whose four-hundred-and-thirty-thousand-dollar-a-year job it is to oversee the economy would offer unemployed people something beyond paternal advice. I mean, it’s not like he’s in a position to put a dent in the unemployment rate or anything like that. 

He was also a bit mum about a few minor details, such as, for example, what young Canadians are supposed to eat and where they are supposed to sleep while we’re giving our labour away for free over an indefinite period, but I’m sure that he, having a degree in economics, must have some suggestions. Perhaps the Toronto Dominion Bank will generously volunteer to forgive my tuition debts.

Now, this statement isn’t exactly “Let them eat cake” in terms of pithiness, but it’s coming close in terms of sentiment. But what really gets my gall up is the fact that Stephen Poloz, Canada’s top economist, apparently doesn’t even understand basic economics. So what, however many million under- and unemployed Canadians are supposed to start giving their work away for free all at the same time? And this is going to get us all jobs, rather than, for example, driving the unemployment rate up even further since there are apparently millions of people who are willing to work without being paid for it?

Is economics even a real intellectual discipline, or do they just give you degrees and cushy jobs for saying what those in power want to hear? Is there some way I can get in on this scam? Work isn’t working.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
This entry was posted in bullshit, Employment, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Apparently Economics is Really Easy

  1. n8chz says:

    The yuppie Nuremberg Defense: “I’ve got a mortgage”

    The precariat Nuremberg Defense “I need the experience”

    Clearly your central banker is seeking to exploit the population by keeping it on the defensive.

    Please tell me you will not let anyone insult your generation by calling it “entitled.”

    I feel your rage.

    • I am mostly scandalized by the extent to which the baby boomers, as a generation, don’t care about their children, as a generation.

      • n8chz says:

        I wouldn’t know much about that. I’m Generation X and my parents are pre-Silent Generation, so I’m more or less orthogonal to that battleground. The use of the word “generation” in that aspect of pop culture or water cooler fodder is kind of silly. Generational spacing could be anywhere from 20-40 years within the norms of our culture, and anywhere from 15-50 years in theory; maybe even 15-115 for the “patrilineal” side of the generational ledger. I use the term “decadal cohort.” Think of “year cohort” as “high school class of so-and-so” (I’d be 1983 had I not dropped out), whereas decadal cohort is too many syllables, so we just say “generation,” even though it’s inaccurate. So I figure 35-45 for silent, 45-55 for boomers, 55-65 for the inscrutable (to me) “Generation Jones” (which I’m on the trailing cusp of, nevertheless), 65-75 for X, 75-85 for Y and 85-95 for the so-called Millennials. I know, the media use Generation Y and Millennials interchangeably, but for the longest time they lumped GJ in with BB, when obviously the life experience of those cohorts is -radically- different.

        Because decadal cohorts are not generations, I always thought of baby boomers not as an older generation, but as the older siblings I never had. For me, the big letdown with baby boomers wasn’t how they handled parenthood, but how they handled young adulthood—the “yippie to yuppie” transformation (generally mid-1970’s, or my late grade school years). As I said before, I’m on the cusp between Jones and X, but I identify more with X. Certainly in my college years (I’m both a high school dropout and a college graduate) people were remarking (depending on their own biases) about how my age cohort was either remarkably conservative (as young people go) or remarkably cynical. I believe this is because the boomers taught us that switching gears from activism to career will involve a certain amount of “recanting,” or at least reinventing oneself, so why not just skip a step which can only be counterproductive anyway. After graduating from college and settling for a series of temp agency assignments, my cohort had by then obtained the “Generation X” label, along with the “slacker” label. This was the late 1980’s, remember, and corporations were already engaged in a systematic program of dismantling what today are pejoratively called “legacy jobs,” which is to say, permanent full-time jobs with bennies. I had it a hell of a lot better than your age cohort, though, and I know it. I got to go to school on the Pell Grant (a US thing, but I assume you know more or less what is is/was), and while my work life afterwards was consigned to the margins of the workforce (with promotion into grownup jobs generally for only the best and brightest of my cohort, or the most ruthlessambitious), at least I got a paycheck.

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