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The Jobs (and the Intellectuals) of the Future Begin to Appear

With the recent flurry of disappointing reports on employment growth in the U.S. and the increasingly embarrassing wipe out of President Obama’s green jobs initiative, one can hardly help feeling, well, blue.

Luckily, this report from blogger (and New America Foundation fellow) Reihan Salam on a study published by the University of Maryland offers a flicker of hope. Facebook’s ecosystem of “apps” appears to have created somewhere between 182,000 and 235,644 new jobs in the American economy this year — without costing the government a cent in wasteful subsidies.

Facebook is providing one platform for the delivery of niche services and entertainment that are at once providing much-needed employment and making our lives richer and more enjoyable. Unfortunately, as Reihan notes, innovation in this direction in important sectors like health and education is being stifled by excessive bureaucratic red tape, to the detriment of the nation’s budget and its unemployed.

Reihan is a good example of an American intellectual attempting to think creatively about a new way forward for the country in a world that has outgrown the old way of doing things. (Conflict of interest note: although I am a founding board member of the New American Foundation, board members don’t name fellows and I had nothing to do with Salam’s appointment or his future at New America.) The ability of the United States to adapt to these changes faster than everyone else has been a central pillar of national prosperity, and here at Via Meadia we hope slower-moving establishment thinkers will join in on the effort sooner rather than later. There isn’t much time to waste.

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  • Silverviddle

    I know someone who just quit his job with a big company to do just what you describe: Write apps. Other software developers who work for bigger companies do this on the side to make extra money, 99 cents at a time.

    Such opportunities are not just for the high-tech folks. Personalized services, like going shopping for someone, cleaning, waiting for the cable guy so the homeowner can go to work…

    The opportunities are almost endless. Government should be fostering the entrepreneurial spirit, not crushing it beneath tons of bureaucratic sludge.

  • Joe

    Thate there are people who are stunned that jobs can exist without a government subsidy no longer surprises me.

    But then again, I’ve seen a lot of strange intellectual contortions. I used to live in East Germany.

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