Just in case you had failed to notice already how repellent Tim Geithner is, he had an op-ed in the NYT the other day called, of all things, "Welcome to the Recovery," in which he pretends that, well, spring is here and robins are in bloom and the green shoots are chirping away or something. And I'm sure it is, and they are, for him and his over-fed cronies who have worked diligently to destroy the middle-class and are succeeding magnificently. For the rest of us, of course, the nights are drawing in, and for some it's the dead of winter and may never be spring again. Atrios disliked the article so much that he spent a series of posts pointing out the absence of any mention of housing (and foreclosure, and the designed-to-fail HAMP), how this crises means the economy can't recover, and how downright dishonest and nasty it is to claim it's just about training the unemployed to have 21st Century Skillz.
And, honest to gods, I so want to smack people around when they talk about retraining. Some of the most skilled and educated people in America are out of work and will probably never have another job because they are regarded as too old. For the most part, they will have better educations and be more literate and have wider experience than the younger people who come up behind them because they were educated before the Reagan administration set to work destroying our educational system. More of these people than you might imagine are pretty up-to-date with the skills required for modern technology, but even in the wonderful high-tech area, there are only so many jobs to go around. And, in addition to that, an awful lot of modern management is actually uninterested in anything other than mediocrity, because they want to make sure you all know that you are utterly replaceable cogs in their engine. They don't actually like the highly-skilled and would rather have a bunch of people with limited skills around. People who know their place - they think less of themselves, and it's easier to convince them that they are just lucky to have a job, you see. (And, I don't know if you've noticed this, but you seldom get to be Director of the IT department by knowing anything about IT. You usually get there by knowing how to push people around and demoralize them sufficiently that they are afraid to ask for anything - not a particularly modern skill at all.)
Even at the lower levels, it doesn't exactly take all that much training to get up to speed. There was a period back there in the '80s when companies were desperate for programmers and various sorts of hardware people and they were grabbing secretaries and turning them into software designers. Now they won't even grab experienced programmers and let them maintain software. At least, not if they actually want to earn a living at the job. As far as modern corporations are concerned, there is no percentage in providing real products and services; the important industry is figuring out how to cheat you out of a living wage and take away your property. (That last is important. Someone did a study a while back tracking the fortunes of black families in America, and what they found is that the ones that managed to get ahead were those who had managed to buy land. But even our small parcels of land are being clawed back from us by the rich, now. They even managed to get people to remortgage homes they already owned outright in bad deals that are stripping assets they earned the whole of their working lives. And Obama found a clever way to squeeze them even more with HAMP, as Chris Hayes explains.)
The thing is, most of us already have the skills needed for the 21st, an awful lot of which are just minor adjustments on 20th century skills. Thanks to the economic crunch, which has been going on a lot longer than our captured media will admit, innovation in technology has been pretty much down to zero for the last decade. Maybe you need to brush up on the most popular spreadsheet program, but that's the work of about 15 minutes. IOZ is right about this - the whole idea that unemployed workers need to be retrained with higher-order skills is a scam. Go look around at what's on offer in retraining programs - they are offering to train you in skills you already have. Skills that aren't helping you find a new job. In fact, you very often have to try to sound less skilled and educated just to make it as far as an initial interview for the kinds of jobs that are available, most of which are jobs you got an education to avoid having to take.
You've already lost your most intimate persona freedoms, of course. At work they are checking your hair and urine to make sure you don't have any fun off the job, and apparently your "freely entered" contracts allow private companies to give away your private information to other private entities as well as the government, giving you "a far more effective police state than ever existed in East Germany."
Again the drumbeat: Chaos is the Plan.
There are fewer literate much less scientifically literate each year, as the old and useless die.
The useful in the 21st century, mandated perhaps by the same interests whose puppets called for a new Pearl Harbor at the turn of this century, the really good fits in the new world Order, know only enough to bow before the ones they serve, and trample those beneath them.
Such a world is meant to dissolve.
Fifty years from now we are meant, by our betters, to have a post-industrial world, where only the Right Sort of people have the technology, an endless hydraulic empire designed to last as long as those that existed far before the heresy of Galileo.
Hope that whoever answers our radio waves into the deep of space, riding in perhaps near the speed of light, are really more like the Vulcan, and not the Romulan or Klingon, or Kzinti, or Old Ones.
Because as a species, by they time they do arrive, we will be collectively only slightly above the chimpanzee in our technological prowess and sociological understanding.