So I’m readying National Geographic and there’s a great article called “The Ship Breakers”.
The story is about what happens to large cargo ships once they reach their end-of-life (which is approximately 30 years FYI).
The short version of the story is this:
- Ship is sent to Bangladesh
- Ship is beached
- Men and kids desperate to work take ships apart
- This is extremely hard work
- This is extremely dangerous work
- This is extremely hazardous work
- The conditions are miserable
There is no shortage of men and children who line up to do this work for very little pay.
The we have our great USA where the labor participation rate from 1990 (randomly chosen) to 2008 was about 66% give or take.
My initial impression is, that stinks. Are you seriously trying to tell me that 33% of Americans just don’t need to work?
Fast forward to the present and we see that rate drop to about 63%.
Why do we have people in Bangladesh clamoring to work in hideous conditions, yet almost 40% of Americans just don’t work?
I get it that there will always be some number of folk that are not able to work, but there is something seriously wrong when the participation rate is this bad. And if you look at the BLS page referenced above, you’ll see since 2008 the rate just keeps going down.