The Fifth Column (A Podcast)
The Fifth Column
376 “All the (Unemployed) Young Dudes”

376 “All the (Unemployed) Young Dudes”

A conversation with "Men Without Work" author Nicholas Eberstadt

I am usually among the most allergic to broad, immutable-characteristic-based analyses along the lines of “The Crisis of Men and Boys.” Some of this is the usual self-loathing—Screw guys, especially if they’re 54-year-old baseball fanatics from California!, etc. But also, probably due to the extended influence of the man formerly known as Casanova Brown, I have seen too often the fact-bending, anti-individualist and too often punitive ideological temptations of sorting humans into various pens and making grand statements about the resulting statistics.

However! When tasked during a recent media appearance to have comments on The Trouble With Males, I stumbled across a stunning (to me) chart at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that the employment rate for dudes between 2001 and 2021 was down in every age bracket younger than 55, and up in every cohort after 55. Dramatic numbers, too—16-19-year-old males went from 50% to 36%; 20-24s from 82% to 73%, and so on. If we’re getting to the point where half of men have never worked before the age of 25, that’s a profoundly different America than some of us old farts grew up in.

So when I received a publicist email saying that the Bradley Prize-winning American Enterprise Institute economist Nicholas Eberstadt had just come out with a brand new post-pandemic edition of his groundbreaking 2016 study Men Without Work, I leaped at the chance to talk to him about this subject that I cared not at all about just one month ago. Hoo-ray for the on-the-job learning!

Eberstadt, as you will soon hear, has a more interesting pedigree than your average math professor, with a wife who writes about the sexual revolution and identity politics, a sister who was in Warhol’s Factory, one grandfather who was Ogden Nash, and another who co-founded the CIA. And don’t worry, we also talk a bit about commies.

-- The myth of “full employment”

-- NILFs

-- “There is absolutely nothing good that comes out of this trend”

-- “Uncannily, weirdly, eerily regular”

-- “There's no country in the rich world that has had such a steep radical and continuing drop as the U.S.A.”

-- The Lost Decade, and the New Misery

-- Wealth without growth

-- The populist reaction

-- “They don’t do civil society”

-- Immigrants get the job done

-- California vs. Texas on immigrant welfare

-- Schmancy Bobbleman vs. the feminists

-- The ex-felon factor

-- They’re all on disability

-- We just did a national UBI experiment

-- Get a job, teens!

-- Does this also explain woke/cancel stuff?

-- We weren’t gonna let that Warhol connection slide

-- Nor the CIA grandpa

-- Charles Murray, Tim Carney, J.D. Vance

-- North Korea’s role in Russia’s failing war

The Fifth Column (A Podcast)
The Fifth Column
Your weekly rhetorical assault on the on the news cycle, the people who make it, and occasionally ourselves. Kmele Foster (Freethink), Michael Moynihan (Vice), and Matt Welch (Reason) talk and laugh and drink their way to at least quasi-sanity in a world gone mad, often with the aid of clean and articulate guests. Weekly Members Only subscription edition often comes with listener mail and professional-quality (if inappropriate) singing. Analysis. Commentary. Sedition.