Why don’t people want to work?

Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape”

According to Reuters, “U.S. worker productivity in the second quarter fell at its steepest pace on an annual basis since 1948 when the Labor Department began tracking it” Growth in unit labor costs have accelerated, which means wage pressures will keep inflation going. Nonfarm productivity (the hourly output per worker) has been on a fast downward slide.

Employers are having real difficulty filling open positions. This is unprecedented, something that’s never happened coming out of a recession. The GOP-allied media blames Biden. And the welfare state.

The incentives that we’ve constructed in this country over a long period of time, to be fair, but accelerating recently have a very specific effect. Those policies reward people who don’t want a job and they punish people who do want a job. What they do is they degrade work. They strip it of its inherent meaning. And that’s a problem in a country that is running out of things that have inherent meaning. They’re telling you that your religion means nothing. Your patriotism means nothing. Your family means nothing. Now they’re telling you your work means nothing? What does mean anything? And how long can a society continue that doesn’t have meaning and that doesn’t revere work?

Tucker Carlson, Fox News

The Democrat-allied media, replacing the word “lockdowns” with “the pandemic”, blames employers and work in general:

The pandemic changed the way people view work. Many are rethinking what work means and how they spend their time … Employers are reporting difficulty filling open positions, something that’s never happened coming out of a recession. Many blame the extra $300 a week in unemployment insurance included in federal COVID-19 relief bills. More than two dozen states, including Arizona, agree and declined the extra money.

Statistics and anecdotal evidence, however, suggest more is at play. Americans are less interested in holding any job. They want a quality job.

Like the worldwide lockdowns, this employment situation is unprecedented. So, it makes sense to believe that one unprecedented event (lockdowns) would lead to many others.

In prisons and POW camps, lockdowns and social distancing were used to intimate prisoners and torture them into submission. The goal was to make them cooperative and institutionalized. In March 2020, in the name of ‘fighting COVID’, our governments created a worldwide POW camp. When the whole world becomes a prison, there is no Great Escape. Unless you wanted to swim to Sweden.

Previously productive cities like NYC ground to a halt. Bustling streets were emptied for months. Small businesses were destroyed. The people who owned them and worked for them were told that they were ‘non-essential’ — like prisoners, a burden to the taxpayer. When these cities finally ‘opened up’, restrictions still remained. Many couldn’t work or enter certain areas without showing their vaccine ‘papers’.

Mid-afternoon in Midtown, NYC (April 27, 2020)

The point of prison lockdowns is to enforce compliance. That was also the point of the government / media’s fear campaigns. Compliance.

Shuttered, ruined businesses, NYC (April 27, 2020)

… the state may actively want to instill fear in the population, thereby contributing to the making of mass hysteria. Illustrating this point is the leakage of an internal paper of the German Department of the Interior during the first weeks of the COVID-19 crisis. In the paper, the state experts recommended that the government should instill fear in the German population.

In order to spread fear, the paper endorsed three communication strategies. First, the state authorities should stress the breathing problems of COVID-19 patients because human beings have a primordial fear of death by suffocation, which can easily trigger panic.

Second, the experts emphasized that fear should also be instilled in children, even though there is next to no risk to children´s own health. However, children could get easily infected by meeting and playing with other children. According to the report, children should be told that when they infect their parents and grandparents in turn, they could suffer a distressful death at home. This communication advice intended to invoke anxiety and feelings of guilt. Instilling guilt is another measure used by governments to make the population more supportive. The recommended message instills fear of being responsible for infecting others who die a distressful death.

Third, the German government was advised to mention the possibility of unknown long-term irreversible health damage caused by a SARS-CoV-2 infection and the possibility of a sudden and unexpected death of people who were infected.

All these communication recommendations were intended to increase fear in the population. Fear, at the end, is an important foundation of a government’s power. As Henry H. Mencken put it: “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” The overreaction of government to a perceived threat then fosters anxiety.

It lies in the interests of a government to emphasize citizens’ vulnerability to external and internal threats, because the state´s legitimacy and power rest on the narrative that it protects its citizens against such dangers.

from ‘COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria’

It worked. But now we’re facing the unintended consequences of centralized, authoritarian actions.

The Democrats and the GOP were both responsible for the destruction these policies wrought on America. It’s not surprising that they’re looking to deflect the blame. But that won’t solve the problem. People are doing what they were forced to do. Complying. Expecting them to respond to their own needs and wants is too much to ask. They aren’t going back to work or being productive because no one has given them specific orders to do so. They’re waiting for their wardens to tell them what to do.

If governments want this compliant population to act in a certain way, they’re going to have to spell it out. Or mandate it.