Working

Work takes a holiday.

Readers know I believe in the redemptive value of work. Men and wormen around the globe elevate themselves when engaged in the production of goods, products and services. Many a person has won back a measure of self-discipline and dignity by returning to work or through advancement.

Work is a good thing.

Here is the US many of us will not be working for the rest of the week due to national holidays. Its the start of the holiday season and we're only too happy to partake.

Others of course – retail, service industries and transportation (airport anyone?) – will in fact become busier as the year winds down. In a funny world as some begin to relax others work even harder.

Yet that's only part of the picture.

Half-full

The truth is in many if not most of our communities less work is occurring than should be: we have too many people out of work.

Many like to blame regulation and restriction as a downward force on the economy in general and job creation in particular. But under and unemployment are too complex to be explained by simple political rhetoric.

Its convenient – and wrong – to confuse politics with public policy. Our challenges are much greater than party politics.

Employment – the dignity of working – is a social contract we are loathe to break. Our communities suffer not just from lost revenue of wages and the related decline in consumer spending, but in countless other ways like increase in demand for health and social services and the decline of property values and resultant tax base shrinkage.

No simple television commercial spot or radio talking head can rationalize the intertwining of so many factors – tax code, education, infratructure and yes regulation – on the unemployment level. Nor can a blog.

But we can start a dialog.

Back to Work

Even as we enjoy a few days' off with the odd game or two on the tube and more turkey than we should eat, there is a lingering question that won't go away: are we doing all we can to put people back to work?

As western economies struggle to regain steam while Asian economies are slowing we have regional strife – think Arab Spring – depressing job growth and creation. If we are part of a global economy the whole of those parts is not healthy.

Job creation and retention are fundamental responsibilities of the private sector and management. And its not a matter of “loosening” regulations to drive job creation: American non-financial firms are sitting on more cash on hand than ever before – over $1.45 Trillion – as of the first quarter of this year [Moody's].

Total quality gurus will tell you its a mistake to go after any one measure in a vacuum, that it creates myopic thought and aberrant behavior. We need counterbalancing measures.

Corporate profits are good. Cash on hand is positive both for credit and weathering economic cycles. Yet job creation and retention is good too. And oft forgotten.

The factors driving competitiveness and production across the globe are complex: yet we have the capacity to address them if we simply have the courage to start the dialog and face them.

As you take time to relax this holiday season, consider the role you can play in that dialog for 2014 and beyond around employment and work.

Work is redemptive. Let's create more.

 

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