Thursday, April 19, 2018
Where a Little "Job Churn" Might Be a Good Idea
It's all about job security. Who can forget when Cap'n Comfortable, Trudeau's quite wealthy finance minister, that Morneau guy, told Canadians they would have to accept future of "job churn," hopping from one uncertain and short term job to another, like a polar bear leaping from one shrinking ice floe to another. Both, by the way, conjure dystopian outcomes.
It would have been nicer if Morneau had accounted some government initiative to bolster job security in the private sector, perhaps giving useful employers a bit of a tax break coupled with an extra tax or two for gig market employers, something anyway, instead of telling Canada's young people, "That's your future. You're fucked. Sucks to be you. Now, go away, I have Higher Purpose People who deserve my time."
The fact is job churn might, in rare cases, be helpful. I have one example in mind: Canadian journalism.
As our corporate media cartel arose, newsrooms across the country were gutted. Why pay people in each province to write an editorial when you can pay one person toiling at some Hamilton strip mall to write that editorial. And, sure enough, owners and editors began sacking redundant journalists and columnists with abandon. The problem is their approach. They did it from the bottom up. They slaughtered the ranks of the newbies and left the tired old hacks to pump up the same old stale bromides on and on and on.
The tired old hacks, and we all know them, got into lifeboat survival mode. More and more they began writing garbage that sounded like it was dictated from the boardroom, not the newsroom. They also wrote in an old man's voice, predictable stuff. Who wants to pay for that? Apparently, damn few.
Coyne, Gunter, Ivison and, yeah, Walkom too. Let's not forget Rex Murphy either. They're all old hacks. When they write about the future they haven't got any skin in the game. What do they care? They're not out to shake up anybody. They just want that next paycheque, maybe some juicy speaking fees along the way, and that cushy pension at the end of the road.
A lot of us seem comfortable with those borderline geriatrics. They're more or less of our own vintage. They tend to see things from our advanced perspective. They're like an old boot. Too much like an old boot. They're like the old guy on the porch in his rocker yelling at the future to get the fuck off his lawn.
I suspect they're a major factor in the national myopia. When you read their stuff you're not hearing the voice of 20 and 30 year old Canadians, our youth, who face a considerably more daunting future than these atrophied hacks ever knew or ever will.
Canadian journalism would be better if only we had some means to phase out these geezers to make way for new - and, yes, better - voices. Put the geezer generation out to pasture. 20 years and out. That's still time for them to scrounge up another career, perhaps as an honest hack, a PR guy. That's not that far a reach from what some of them have already become only without the illusion of editorial integrity.
Canada is at a point where we need a much better informed electorate. We've had decades of corporate-friendly messaging masquerading as news and corporate-friendly opinion writing. Those corporations can look after themselves.