Proper Work For Idle Hands

The cry in Egypt, America, and in the rest of the world … “We want jobs!”

“It’s not just in Egypt,” writes Professor Sam Hamod, ” but in America and around the world, people want jobs. When Egyptians were asked what they most wanted, the vast majority said they wanted jobs – they wanted Hosni Mubarak out so that they could change the economy because many said they had no jobs and no food.

“Most countries have gone into a capitalist system, and with this, came the necessity of having a job at all times in order to pay for shelter, food and other human needs. In Egypt and in many countries in the Middle East, Africa and South America, as well as in America, the unemployment rates are at record highs. For some time, the people were sold on the idea of ‘education’ as the cure-all. But as many Americans have found out, even with MBA, IT, Ph.D. degrees, there just aren’t that many jobs, and many of the jobs that are available do not pay a decent wage, a wage that can help a person pay for shelter and food. Egypt is not alone in this situation, but because it is now at center stage with its revolt against Mubarak, it appears that it is an Egyptian problem.

“But, as many of the youths say, yes, they want Mubarak out, but they want a way to survive in the world, and at this time, most of those interviewed on CNN, MSNBC and other networks have made clear, the lack of jobs is a large part of the problem. Thus, it was interesting to find out that of the $ 1.5 billion dollars America gives to Egypt, that $ 1.3 billion goes to military spending, with the little left going to other areas of Egypt. I had a kind of dark-humor reaction to Hilary Clinton and Obama threatening their financial aid to Egypt, when so little of it goes to the people. It was almost like a bad joke but I’m sure neither Hilary nor Obama realized what a faux pas it was, because the Egyptian people could care less since they get so little of the money, and most of them know that what is left often goes into the pockets of the other oligarchs who run Egypt, and as in America, little filters down to the people.

“With this in mind, we cannot simply focus on Egypt, but we must all think of alternate ways to help people throughout the world to find a way to make a living and to lead a life of dignity with shelter, food and medical care. If we don’t succeed at this, then chaos will be the future for all countries of the world, and this includes America because the pot is already boiling here. That is why there are so many seats lost in the Senate and House in this election – the people in the U.S. are fed up, but are not at the dire level that has been reached in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and elsewhere. Yet.

“We must also not be led down the garden path by people who jump onto politicians’ words and say, ‘We cannot do this, because it sounds like socialism, or welfare.’ On the other hand, the ‘trickle down’ system that is supposed to work in capitalism is no longer working as we have more automation and robotics, and the outsourcing of jobs to lower and lower paying countries, while the costs of living in many more developed countries continues to rise, with more and more homeless, unemployed, and with food banks running out of food and charities failing because donations are down so low.

“Sadly, hour after hour on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, FOX, NPR, ABC and other media, there is a repetition of the problems in Egypt, but few if any of the talking heads really realize that the problems of jobs and anger that is building in Egypt is not limited to Egypt, but the same problems exist – not to the degree at this time – in America, and in many Western, African, South American and Middle East countries, and no one is addressing them in a strong and intelligent way. Too often the people in power say, like so many have said in times past, ‘Don’t worry, the problems were solved using our old system, it will work – it always has.’

“Unfortunately, some commentators like Bill Moyers, Helen Thomas, Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings aren’t around to speak the truth, and some of those who are around either do not know the truth or perhaps are afraid to speak it for the sake of keeping their jobs in a capitalist job situation where some of the oligarchs in our society want the people to keep believing ‘the system is working, and we’re coming out of our jobless and financial disaster.’

“The truth is that the system is not working in most of the world, and there are few of those in power who are addressing the problem in a serious manner. In this sense, it was interesting that both Obama and Hilary Clinton kept saying that the government of Egypt should be partners with the people of Egypt. Yet the people of America have spoken by polls against further wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but our government is not listening. Billions are spent every day on these wars, while social welfare and medical services are being cut in America, and there is even talk of privatizing Social Security or even cutting it. No, even in America, the government is not listening to the people, not just in Egypt. Thus, although hypnotized by the news from Egypt, we too in America must get our heads out of the sand before it is too late.

“Egypt is but a harbinger that is like the canary in the coal mine that warns when the poisonous gases have reached a danger point. The gases are here and expanding, let us hope that people in power in the world will awaken in time and find solutions, no matter how radical they may seem, before more explosions occur and more people have to suffer.” –

But what’s happening in Egypt and Tunisia isn’t the beginning of a world backlash. On May 1st, 2009, (Vol. XIX, Art. 15), we covered a Reuters story from Istanbul:

“May Day protesters clashed with police in Germany, Turkey and Greece on Friday while thousands angry at the governments’ responses to the global crisis took to the streets in France and Spain … Greek police said they fired tear gas in a clash with 300 people at Athens Polytechnic. Elsewhere in Athens, nearly 6,000 protesters, mostly members of a communist trade union, gathered under the watchful eyes of 4,000 police. Many were angry at bank bailouts. ‘We won’t pay for their crisis,’ read banners from the country’s main trade union …”

And on Dec. 16th, 2009, (Vol. XXI, Art. 34), Lloyd’s David Osler’s advice was to make sure we find the “proper work for idle hands to do, otherwise we subcontract work to the devil.”

We’ve made it obvious that only a revitalized U.S. shipbuilding industry employing millions of Americans can avert a worldwide revolution, and we ended our May 1st, 2009 commentary like this:
[And if that doesn’t happen soon, we’ll be smelling pepper spray and tear gas on Main Street, USA.]