Nick Hanauer suggests an incredibly intriguing (albeit controversial) alternative view of economic growth and job growth: the consumers provide the driving force that causes job creation, not the suppliers of the goods or services the workers create/do.
A man with a lot of experience in starting companies, Hanauer makes a simple argument that has stuck with me:
I have started or helped start dozens of companies and initially hired lots of people but if there was no one around who could afford to buy what we had to sell, all those companies and all those jobs would have evaporated. That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs nor do businesses large or small - jobs are a consequence of a circle-of-life-like feedback loop between customers and businesses. Only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary consumer is more of a job creator than a capitalist, like me.
He solidifies this further:
Hiring more people is a course of last resort for capitalist. […] In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous.
Wow. Take a listen to his talk.