According to this report, jobless recovery is disproportionately hurting people relying on blue collar jobs: “Research by Andrew Sum, a labor economist at Boston’s Northeastern University, shows that the ratio of unemployed persons to job openings has widened in America to 5.7 to 1 in August of this year from 1.2 to 1 in December of 2000. For construction workers the ratio is an eye-popping 22.1 to one, while for manufacturing it is 13 to 1. In December of 2000 these same ratios were 3.5 and 1.7 respectively. … Sum, using Department of Labor statistics, said the mismatch between labor supply and demand probably had not been this wide since the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
All this while the US public infrastructure decays. This is one more reason for a basic income. If more people felt confident in their free time, and had access to materials, they could make their own communities into better places with their time and energy, rather than risk falling into personal despair through frustration and inaction.
Even without a paying job, and with one’s personal economic world crashing around one, it is still possible to reach out and help others. As is quoted here: “You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness. (Author Unknown)”
It may not bring in cash income, but one can still bring in psychic income with blue collar skills by doing volunteer work, which many non-profits and other places desperately need. For those with time on their hands, and who know how to use their hands to build and fix things, here is a place to look for volunteer opportunities that at least will help one preserve one’s sense of making a caring contribution to the world.
From: “CARING: a sermon by The Reverend Diana Jordan Allende; Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship“:
Here’s what Mayeroff says of caring as a way of life: “In the context of a person’s life, caring has a way ordering other values and activities around it. When this ordering is comprehensive, because of the inclusiveness of one’s carings, there is a basic stability in one’s life; one is ‘in-place’ in the world, instead of being out of place. Through caring for certain others, by serving them through caring, a person lives the meaning of his or her own life. In the sense in which a person can ever be said to be at home in the world, he or she is at home not through dominating, or explaining, or appreciating, but through caring and being cared for.”
Rather than sit around at home in front of the TV or even the internet, volunteerism at least gets somebody good with their hands out in the world doing positive things.