St. Louis evening skyline

Harvard economist and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Edward Glaeser will speak at St. Louis University on May 9. As part of the Show-Me Institute’s Speakers Series, Professor Glaeser will address what he describes as the great domestic crisis of the 21st century: “the flight from work” by prime-age men. 

While other unemployment statistics seem to be trending positively, 15 percent of men who should otherwise be working (according to historical standards) now “seem to have left the labor force permanently,” no longer even bothering to look for work. The consequences of these numbers go beyond their effect on national economic output; they threaten the national spirit.  The saying, “idle hands are the devil's workshop” is backed by data, including a huge drop in happiness associated with unemployment. Research also links joblessness and disability with America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

Glaeser asserts that a governmental “war on work” is driving this problem.  He points to a series of programs incentivizing joblessness such as food stamps and housing voucher payments.

To solve this crisis, Glaeser argues that we must educate, reform social services, empower entrepreneurs, and even subsidize incentivize employment. That is an ambitious—but promising—agenda for ending the war on work before it consumes a generation of Americans.

I hope you can come hear him lay out that agenda on Wednesday, May 9 at St. Louis University. The lecture will begin at 6:00 p.m.