The meaning of the term pro-business, Nobel Prizes, and further thoughts on Prop 23

In  a recent essay, Seth Godin muses on the meaning of the term pro-business. Meanwhile, shareholders in some of the oil companies that contributed to Proposition 23 seem to be asking the same question.

The recent Nobel prize for economics went to a team of academics examining search theory and market friction, particularly as it applies to the job market. Loosely translated, this is an attempt to systematically answer a highly non-academic question from a lot of Americans: companies are hiring, have been hiring, say they desperately want to hire, sometime for a long period of time. So how come I can’t find a job?

Maybe part of what is going on is this: the jobs that are most find-able are ones where there are a lot of them and they are easy to define. Steelworker in Detroit. Telemarketer.

A lot of emerging job markets in the US – in the clean tech sector and elsewhere – are harder to find through normal flows of information in the conventional market because 1) they haven’t existed until recently (see: sustainability director) or2) they don’t exist until you make them up, or 3) they require a weird and diverse mix of skill sets, and/or 4) there’s a lot of them out there… but less that are alike.

If it’s hard to quantify the green jobs just yet – and if it’s hard to know for sure their role in turning the California economy around –  maybe it’s because they don’t look like what jobs used to look like. Guess what: neither does the rest of the workforce.


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