Mentions — July 16, 2014, 7:00 pm

“The End of Retirement” on MSNBC

Watch Jessica Bruder on MSNBC’s The Cycle

Jessica Bruder, author of our August cover story, “The End of Retirement,” was on MSNBC’s The Cycle this afternoon to discuss the challenges facing Americans who thought they’d be enjoying life after retiring, and instead found themselves part of a vast migrant workforce.

You can watch the video below:

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  • Jay

    What an awful, one-sided article! Obviously, the author didn’t do much research on full-time RVers or workampers! You really don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Greg The

    Well another unbalanced piece about workampers. Your article about destitute poor older people working on the road was very unbalanced and im sure you had to search them out. Are there people like this living in destitution and misery sure but the vast majority of workcampers (People traviling living the RV lifestyle are not). My partner and I were very successful financially selling real estate for many years. We worked 12 hour days to maintain a home, the luxury car and chase the American dream of more is better. After the economic downturn we adjusted our lifestyle accordingly and loved in a modest conventional home. After a very bad car accident and really bad long bout of depression I asked myself is that all there is? After alot of soul searching and planing my partner and I asked each other why are we waiting until tomorrow to retire and travel the states in a RV to enjoy life. Guess what there might not be tomorrow. I am 53 years old my partner is 47 with a collage degree. We sold our modest house and bought a 37 ft motorhome while down sizing crap we had accumulated together for 16 years. We paid cash for the motor home we named the Flying Unicorn FU for short and headed with 4 cats 3 dogs to my partners parents property in the Countryside of Oklahoma. We live with beautiful open views help out aging parents and workamp at a local resort community cleaning rental cabins. We have no other income other then the modest money we make workamping. We do it to substain our modest savings and live simply while meeting more yhsn our needs. You see for us you got the story backwards. We were going broke staying in a home where we felt stuck stressed and trying to work while wondering where the next commission check would come from. We are now debt free live comfortably in our small space can be of service to our aging parents while staying free on thier beautiful property and yes cleaning toilets in rental cabins making money to meet our needs. If we want to pick up and go to another area our home on wheels will do that. Perhaps we might travel to a warmer climate this winter and workamp. Guess what we now live carefree take pride in our simple stress free jobs the depression and stress that was killing me is gone and we live happy joyous and free. Is is conventional no is it for everyone no but we are having a great time enjoying new people and cultures. If you chose to drive to work have a home and stress out to keep your stuff while working for corporate jobs that can can you in a minute without thinking a thing of it go for it. We love our new found freedom there are challanges at time but as I overlook this medow watching deer while I write this I have a big smile on my face and gratitude of freedom that is beyond what I had living a conventional life. Well have to get ready to go clean cabins by the lake now. From a grateful destitute poor soul who lives and works from a 37 ft RV like a vagabond on leather seats in a big box on wheels at 53 years old with his partner whos 47 years old. Happy joyous and free! Living small and simple enjoying the beauty of the country and chating with people with different views and opinions while we all get along living small.

  • Robyn Smith Chilson

    Of course, there is probably some percentage of “Work Campers” who are in this position. That is probably true. What that percentage is, however, is what we’re disputing. Work Campers have been serving private, county, state, and national parks for decades. These people are generally retired or have been laid-off due to employee reductions. They have sold their homes, bought an RV and now work at campgrounds across the country. These folks have come from a cross section of jobs and industries and have good educations, valuable skills, great work ethics, and are great people! They both enjoy their jobs and serve our campers well! Some are called Nomads, and do volunteer work and community service! So this very unbalanced report, makes it sound like every work camper is a person on the verge being homeless, which is not the case with the vast majority of Work Campers. As a campground owner, there’s room for more of them in the field, because many campgrounds are having trouble finding work campers to help them! So, these folks fill an important gap in the outdoor hospitality industry! We need them and they get to move around to different parts of our great country and experience it and they people who live in that region! It’s a win/win. Perhaps the author should have done a titch more research, because many of these fine folks simply enjoy this lifestyle. That doesn’t mean that they are all on the brink of disaster.

  • Fulltimer

    I agree w/Jay in previous comment. Not the situation at all! In addition the age of this profiled woman is, I believe 60 (not even retirement age). Please amend article and not let the public believe this slanted article. No offense, just incorrect.

  • PlantinMoretus

    These are some of the same people who repeatedly voted for politicians who rolled back labour protections. What did they think was going to happen?

  • Michael678

    Economist Michal Kalecki: “The Political aspects of Full Employment” Year 1943

    “Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the ‘sack’ would
    cease to play its role as a ‘disciplinary measure. The social position
    of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and
    class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage
    increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political
    tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full
    employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire,
    and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining
    power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase
    prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But
    ‘discipline in the factories’ and ‘political stability’ are more
    appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct
    tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of
    view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the ‘normal’
    capitalist system.”
    “The fundamentals of capitalist ethics require that ‘you shall earn your
    bread in sweat’ — unless you happen to have private means (wealth).”

  • Michael678

    Michal Kalecki, “Political Aspects of Full Employment, 1943

    Economist Michal Kalecki:

    “Under a laissez-faire system the level of employment depends to a great
    extent on the so-called state of confidence. This gives the wealthy
    a powerful indirect control over government policy:
    Everything which may shake the state of confidence must be
    carefully avoided because it would cause an economic crisis. But once
    the government learns the trick of increasing employment by its own
    purchases, this powerful controlling device loses its effectiveness.
    Hence budget deficits necessary to carry out government intervention
    must be regarded as perilous. The social function of the doctrine of
    ‘sound finance’ is to make the level of employment dependent on the
    state of confidence,” (uncertainty).
    Kalecki stressed that full employment would always be resisted by
    the wealthy because of its upward pressure on wages and consequent
    squeeze on profits. According to Malcom Sawyer, “Kalecki had established
    the lack of effective demand as the major cause of low economic
    activity and unemployment in the early 1930s, and it can be said that he
    did so about three years prior to Keynes.” But Kalecki clearly believed
    that the obstacles to full employment under capitalism were
    significantly political; resistance from business. Kalecki observed
    that full employment also raises the political and economic power of the
    working class which would prompt business to attempt to constrain
    this power by bringing full employment to an abrupt end.

  • erick

    I may soon become a work camper. I am unemployable due to being “over qualified”. I hold a university degree and I am a journeyman steamfitter and a journeyman plumber. 50% of the nations water supply piping needs replacement, yet there are 1/4 million unemployed plumbers and pipefitters that can not find work because they are overqualified for the jobs that are available. I have lived in my van on distant construction jobs, but when you are living in a vehicle in town the police want to Rodney king you and beat your pregnant wife.



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In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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