Several months ago I did a post on automation and it’s elimination of “good jobs.” I wondered then,” …frankly I don’t know what to do about the problem of people being rendered permanently unemployable.” I still don’t, but it’s been an observation of mine that Europe is about 20 years ahead of us in all of the bad indicators, and a permanent unemployed class is one of those indicators. So once again, from France, an idea whose time may soon be coming to the United States; fake companies for the unemployed.
From the New York Times:
Sabine de Buyzer, working in the accounting department, leaned into her computer and scanned a row of numbers. Candelia was doing well. Its revenue that week was outpacing expenses, even counting taxes and salaries. “We have to be profitable,” Ms. de Buyzer said. “Everyone’s working all out to make sure we succeed.”
This was a sentiment any boss would like to hear, but in this case the entire business is fake. So are Candelia’s customers and suppliers, from the companies ordering the furniture to the trucking operators that make deliveries. Even the bank where Candelia gets its loans is not real.
More than 100 Potemkin companies like Candelia are operating today in France, and there are thousands more across Europe. In Seine-St.-Denis, outside Paris, a pet business called Animal Kingdom sells products like dog food and frogs. ArtLim, a company in Limoges, peddles fine porcelain. Prestige Cosmetique in Orleans deals in perfumes. All these companies’ wares are imaginary
The whole concept of fake companies is mind boggling. The idea that you can set up a parallel economy of fake companies that produce nothing, but can’t figure out a way to make that capital and manpower do something useful and profitable is stunning.
As a training concept, which these were apparently originally set up for, a fake company isn’t a bad idea. It certainly seems to beat the American government version of job training, which has devolved into one failure after another. However these have gone from training programs to place holders for the unemployed. I suppose from a Keynesian viewpoint, at least the modern Obama era view; there isn’t any difference between a fake company and a real one. It employs people and provides them an income to buy goods and services. In real economic terms, that’s pointless, but heh, we’ve passed real economics a long time ago.
Convicts manage to make real goods so I don’t understand why fake companies couldn’t do the same, but this is a concept I expect to see more of as our permanent unemployable underclass grows and grows, and we scratch our heads trying to figure out what to do with them.