Some more richsplaining

One of the points in the book Pound Foolish was that financial advice, even if it’s sensible, is a bit of a scam, a way to imply if you’re not getting ahead it must be your own fault.
Case in point, a new post by Megan McArdle telling unemployed 20somethings to take any job they can get, even if it sucks; enjoy hanging out with their parents if they have to live at home; actively hunt jobs; don’t overspend; don’t default on your student loans; do something fun in your spare time; offer to work for free; and trust it will all work out.
Some of this advice is reasonable. Some of it is bullshit (I’ve expressed my view of working for free before). All of it, and the assurance you’ll get a job if you keep plugging away, ignores that sometimes that’s just not true. That student debt can be crushing, that your parents may not be able to give you somewhere to live (I’ve read McArdle’s folks were quite well off, which made it easier for her) or you may not be able to tolerate each other. It ignores that many people are unemployed because there are just no jobs. Not because they suck but because they’ve been outsourced, replaced with computers or because nobody’s hiring because (in the words of the Atlantic) the owners want more for themselves, less for employees (see Steven Pearlstein’s post).
The LGM post above (I didn’t link directly to McArdle) quotes another unrelated post that I think says it well: “You have no idea about student debt, underemployment, life-long renting. “Stop feeling special” is some shitty advice. I don’t feel special or entitled, just poor. The only thing that makes me special is I have more ballooning debt than you. I’ve tempered the hell out of my expectations of work, and I’ve exceeded those expectations crazily to have one interesting, exciting damned career that’s culminated in some leadership roles for national publications. And I’m still poor and in debt and worked beyond the point where it can be managed with my health and my desire to actually see the son I’m helping to raise.

1 Comment

Filed under economics, Politics

One response to “Some more richsplaining

  1. Pingback: Links and punishment | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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