Saturday, February 21, 2004

A NATION OF STONECUTTERS. If you're worried that America's low-employment, high-efficiency recovery will leave a lot of citizens out to dry, relax, says Virginia Postrel. You can make stone counter tops -- a lot of people are getting into that, the editor of that industry's trade publication tells her ("the magazine added 2,000 fabricators to its 20,000 subscribers"). And, Postrel adds, "Equipping a fabricating business can cost less than $30,000."

Surely your unemployed friends have 30 large they can sink into stone counter top businesses -- and if that market turns out to be so flooded with budding entrepreneurs (or desperate former wage-earners) that there are not enough yuppie households to support them all, and their businesses fail, well, they can always do nails.

Our incompetent government thinks there are only about 30,000 manicurists in America, but a pair of trade journals shows Postrel that there are tons more, as their subscribers total over 120,000. As we all know, the more workers there are in any given field, the more jobs there are for late entrants.

Of course, Postrel provides these large numbers to show that there are employment opportunities beyond the humdrum ones many family men and women rely upon to pay the bills. When these jobs evaporate -- and Postrel flatly states that "those workers will not be recalled as the economy improves" -- their former holders will have to realize that "value can come as much from intangible pleasures as it can from tangible goods." Of course, when they come to repossess your car, you may feel differently about it.

But try to remain Dynamistic! Prosperity is just around the corner/There's a rainbow in the sky/So let's serve another double latte/and take home a smaller piece of pie.

(P.S. These sentiments are published in the New York Times, and echoed at the Washington Post, just in case you wondered where the Liberal Media stands on the subject.)

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