More and more people are telecommuting and finding a new freedom in doing so. A New York Times story on telecommuting captured (subscription required) this sense of freedom:
Back in 2007, during a weekly check-in, my wife’s manager delivered some unexpected good news: “You don’t have to be in the office to do this job,” she said. “You could work from wherever you want.” A fast six months later, we left hot, crowded Austin, Tex., and moved into an apartment on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Me., with a commanding view of Casco Bay only steps away.
Walter Russell Mead in an editorial in The American Interest suggests that telecommuting may be sounding the death knell for what he calls "the blue model." He writes:
But [telecommuting] also represents the death of the political philosophy and economic system that the Times is otherwise prepared to defend to the last: the blue social model. If this revolution continues—and it will—fewer and fewer people will be stuck in big, high tax, over-regulated cities. While some will still choose to live there, many, especially those raising children, will not.
In the long run, people who live and work the way that the subject of the Times article does will simply not support the cumbersome procedures and institutions of the bureaucratic state as we know it.
The butterfly of an information society is struggling to escape from the industrial age cocoon. The future is not the “return” of manufacturing jobs but the development of new, more human-centered and more rewarding kinds of work.
To make this possible we have to stop thinking that defending the blue model status quo is somehow “progressive.”
The progressives are not going to like this, but shouldit happen, we should also then try to make sure that the workplace becomes better for people who work in more traditional jobs. They, too, would befit from shucking high taxes and excessive regulation.