Coding is the future of work. This is not a drill. It’s time to get with the program, because your children are already on it. Sewing machines are also important instruments of change, but they’ve been around for a lot longer than coding classes have. It just goes to show that there are technologies that can help us achieve our visions in spite of their antiquity. Style Cluse says, the Industrial Revolution was powered by steam engines, but it wasn’t until the ball bearings were invented that steam power could be realized for its full potential. The sewing machine was conceptualized in the 13 th Century, but it wasn’t until Elias Howe patented the lockstitch sewing machine that anything useful came into existence. Near zero interest rates are currently being imposed by central banks, but millennials are still living at home with mum and dad.
Probably because millennials -and everybody else- are lazy bastards who want everything done for them. If you want to understand how this is going to change, you have to understand why it’s happening now. Millennials are, without doubt, the poorest generation in American history. They are also the most urbanised generation in American history. Millennials can’t afford to move out of their parents’ homes, because they aren’t getting any jobs that pay enough for them to do so.
Millennials are also the first generation to have access to an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. One of the most important aspects of this information is that it is available to us 24/7.
Everything from our banking details to our Netflix subscription lives on our smartphones or tablets, meaning that we have all the time in the world to check it whenever we want. Our parents didn’t have this. They got up to go to work, and they couldn’t check their bank account or their Netflix subscription until they came home.
So what is actually happening here?
The first thing you need to understand is that we -young people in particular- are completely disconnected from the productive economy. Remember: I said we were the poorest generation in US history. So why aren’t we part of it? There are a variety of reasons, but for us here in Australia, our main issues are the cost of living and the lack of available jobs.
Wages in Australia
Wages in Australia don’t keep up with the cost of living. In fact, they don’t even keep up with the cost of living in Sydney. From a supply-side point of view, this is a disastrous situation to be in. This is why we have what look like raging price bubbles all over Australia, and it’s also why Australian wages are going backwards after inflation every single year. We could all get a job that pays enough for us to provide for ourselves forever on minimum wage, but the reality is that minimum wage only pays so much. We can’t support ourselves with forty-hour weeks. We are almost entirely dependent on the capitalist economy for our income, and that’s it.
There are plenty of jobs in Australia, but many of them pay so little that they barely pay anything at all. So what happens when the cost of living shoots up? It’s not likely to be worse in Sydney than it is in Brisbane or Adelaide , so the people trying to move out of Sydney are going to have a hard time if they can’t afford to move up into regional cities. There is also no sector that employs more than 5% of the Australian population that offers wages higher than minimum wage. This suggests that most people are in fact completely unproductive.
Not producing enough
I don’t mean unproductive in the sense that they aren’t producing anything, they are just not producing enough to adequately support themselves or their families. This type of surplus labour is no longer required in the current epoch of extraordinarily low interest rates. The capitalists already have all the labour they need to reproduce capital at their disposal, so what do they need young people for? The capitalists aren’t the only ones who don’t really need young people though.
Remember that low interest rates can be used to make profits in certain sectors of the economy; real estate, for example. Imagine you buy a house in Sydney in 2012 for $1 million.
You sell it five years later in 2015 for $1.5 million, and you have made a great deal of money in the process. This is -in true Keynesian fashion- a wonderful way to stimulate the economy, because demand has been stimulated for capital goods that will only be used to generate more profits. It’s also a great way to entice banks into lending more money to people who need it, which leads us back to the phenomenon of low interest rates and high property prices in Sydney.
So what happens when you don’t make enough money off a property sale?
That’s where interest rates come in. Banks lend money at extremely low interest rates, but be careful about going into debt here. If you go into debt with no way of paying it back, it’s because the bank is lending you money at an interest rate that -in real terms- is less than inflation. If you have a mortgage, they’ll give you a loan at an interest rate of 4%, but they’ll give you a savings account with interest rates of 1%.
This situation is -as I have already mentioned- a disaster for young people, but why? To understand why, we need to know what happens when people have access to cheap credit . During the housing boom in the United States from 2004 to 2007, young Americans had access to cheap credit from banks. The banks were heavily invested in the American housing market as well.