Job creation is an often mentioned goal of politicians, and is a reason given for such things as industrial or commercial developments, and is often given as a reason for everything from military bases to legalized gambling.

Although in many ways this is an obvious and neccesary goal, since hordes of unemployed people cause obvious social problems, upon closer analysis it seems slightly illogical.

The first reason that a factory or business that provides goods or services exists is to produce. When industrialization became common, in the early 19th century, manufactured goods were still scarce. The economy was based around increasing production, and jobs were created for the purpose of increasing production.

Of course, that was almost 200 years ago. Since the end of World War II in America, and shortly afterwords in Europe and parts of Asia, shortage of manufactred goods has ceased to be a problem. Although I am not denying that America still has a problem with poverty, America also has a gigantic surplus of food, clothing, many manufactred goods and electronics. (Check out the Goodwill Bins or FreeGeek for proof).

Therefore, it would seem that jobs are no longer needed to create goods or even services. What has happened it that the job itself is now the good that people want. Instead of employment being a tool to create goods, goods are an excuse for giving people employment. Although this may seem backwards in a lot of respects, it does have very many practical advantages. Of course, we could just distribute our countries gigantic surplus of chocolate pudding and video games directly to people, but it could be argued that work actually makes people happier than sitting around eating and drinking. But I think politicians perhaps should be more honest about what "job creation" really means, meaning a way to spread around our nations gigantic surplus while still maintaining the self-esteem of the 90% of people who don't directly produce vital goods.

This problem will probably increase as time goes by: within 50 years or so, no one will actually be working in manufactring or farming, and we will have 300 million odd Americans digging holes and filling them back in, or perhaps have to dedicate the entire state of Nebraska to the interpretive dance industry, which will probably be one of the largest employers at that point.