Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Stategies for Survival

Taken from here

Living at home for longer
Moving out of the family home as a young adult, going it alone costs money. In 2007 over 1.6 new households were formed, which was more or less in line with the average of 1.5 million over the previous decade. Last year, however, only 357,000 new households emerged, “down 78% from 2007 and down 76% from the prior 10-year average.” New households being formed has hit its lowest level in 40 years. Young college grads, facing dismal job prospects, are also being forced to move back in with their parents in increasing numbers. According to CNN, “a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May,” a rate that has “steadily risen from 67% in 2006.”

Sharing and taking a lodger
Facing layoffs and pay cuts more people have turned to shared housing to help make ends meet. Agencies that match landlords looking to rent out a room with tenants eager to find affordable digs are overwhelmed. Dennis Torres, a professor of real estate at Pepperdine University, said that this is probably the beginning of a long-term trend. "People who lost their jobs are renting out rooms in a last-ditch effort to save their property from foreclosure"

Second Jobs
With wages stagnant, more Americans are taking a second job to make ends meet. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. residents who said they had two jobs because of tight financial times was 7.3 million in 2010, up from 4.5 million in 2007, the year the recession began. Twelve percent of workers plan to take a second job this year, according to a survey by Nor should we over-look the over-time and the extra hours many workers are now engaging in.

Living on credit
Households are again running up the credit cards, taking out lines of credit and sinking deeper into the red. “Consumers, particularly in the lower-income end, are being forced to use their credit cards for everyday spending like gas and food,” said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president at First Data, the largest credit card processor. “That’s because there’s been no other positive catalyst, like an increase in wages, to offset higher prices. It’s a cash-flow problem.”

DIY, now known as "insourcing", is doing yourself what you once gladly paid others to do. Sales of starter sewing kits have shot up by 30 percent. Landscaping companies have suffered a 7 percent drop in revenue over the past year. More Americans are also growing their own food. Forty-three million American households planned to grow at least some of their own food in 2009, a 19 percent increase from the estimated 36 million who did the year before. Sales of vegetables seeds and starter plants have jumped substantially with 30 percent growth in 2009 and another 15-20 percent last year

But people have a lot of needs that can't be addressed with a second job or a home garden. The Socialist Party doesn't presume to tell workers (including even our own members) what strategy to adopt to survive under capitalism—beyond, of course , urging them to fight back against downward pressures via trade unions, tenants associations and the like. We maintain with confidence that capitalism will not be able to resolve the problems it causes and it is the task of socialists to help create the arguments that keeps socialism relevant.

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

"In order for this generation to survive, people are having to work longer hours, accept less pay and fewer benefits, and draw down on savings or borrow to the hilt to get by. By 2007, the typical US household owed 138 per cent of its after-tax income. And between 2002 and 2007, American households had withdrawn and spent $2-3tn (£1.2-1.8tn) in equity tied up in their homes."