Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Labor Markets’ Category

Male nurses in the NY Times

with 92 comments

People in the blog comments keep talking about how men should go into trades like plumbing or HVAC.

WRONG! Nursing is the best career for men without white-collar career ambitions seeking a safe middle-class job. It’s a guaranteed middle-class salary.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 7, 2018 at EST am

Secret to success in the arts

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-secret-recipe-for-success-in-the-arts/#!

The woman who wrote this article (and a previous article) has some valuable observations that most people are unaware of (although people who read this blog will not be surprised).

If you meet someone who appears to be “successful” in an artistic field, it’s probably because they have rich parents, or a spouse who makes enough money that they don’t mind that their marriage partner isn’t contributing anything economically to the marriage.

A college degree in art is a pretty crappy deal. After spending $150,000 to $250,000 to get a degree, you wind up making $25,000/year as an artist, if you are lucky.

So in conclusion, does the author recommend that people major in something practical like computer programming or HVAC? Nope, instead she demands that society change its ways so that people who don’t have rich parents can still have a career as artists:

• universal healthcare;
• universal care for children, seniors, and those with special needs;
• free education and vocational programs for all, from preschool through graduate school;
• affordable housing for all;
• redistribution of wealth through taxation, reparations, and universal basic incomes;

Back when I was a libertarian, I would have been outraged. But now that I realize that robots are replacing human workers, and we have a post-scarcity economy, so I just have minor nitpicks. Such as:

Affordable housing: Housing is very affordable if you want to live in a mobile home on the outskirts of a prole city in flyover country. But because there’s a zero sum game of people wanting to live in the most desirable neighborhoods (including artsy neighborhoods like Chelsea or Williamsburg if we are talking about the NYC area), those neighborhoods are never going to be affordable. Someone should establish a mobile home coop for artists in a place like Reno, Nevada.

But since a basic income and free college is definitely not going to happen during the next decade, it would be good advice for young people whose parents aren’t rich to not spend a lot of money for college and to major in something practical. Someone needs to say “sorry, if your parents aren’t rich, then you can’t do something cool and fun with your life.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 8, 2017 at EST pm

Why hire women at all?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rep-trent-franks-of-arizona-is-expected-to-resign/2017/12/07/479d156a-db9f-11e7-b859-fb0995360725_story.html

In this story, the Congressman in question:

Did not have sex with any staffers
Did not inappropriately touch any staffers
Did not ask any staffers to have sex with him, at least not directly, and I honestly don’t think it’s what he meant
Did not threaten any staffers with career consequences or any consequences at all

But somehow he has still done something wrong.

Seems to me like you are better off only hiring men. Then you don’t have to worry that you might accidentally say the wrong thing and get sued and have to resign from Congress.

* * *

gothamette writes:

Why hire women?

Because you can hire them for less.

A friend once told me about a clever solo practitioner atty/accountant, one of those Orthodox Jewish high IQ autistic men, who hired only highly intelligent, obese women. He figured correctly that they would be excellent, loyal employees, because they could not stand the humiliation of job interviews, and would be forever pathetically grateful.

I don’t believe that women can actually be hired for less, not women who can do the same quality work as a man.

Except maybe for the older ugly women. In fact, hiring ugly people of both sexes is probably a good hiring strategy, because ugly people are discriminated against so you can pick them up for less money and they will be more loyal employees.

On the other hand, pretty young women are the WORST type of employees to have.

* * *

Magnavox writes:

You shouldn’t enjoy watching men get persecuted and purged because they belong to the other, equally stupid political party. Don’t be a cuck and put your own interests above those of the party you happen to vote for.

This purge only applies to men in politics and media/entertainment. It has nothing to do with regular cubicle workers who have already had these rules applied to them for a long time.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 8, 2017 at EST am

Return to farming?

I am almost sure that, some time ago, I wrote a post predicting that people would have to return to farming and living off the land because automation will be taking away all of the jobs (although I have been unable to find the post, so maybe I just imagined it, although I remember commenters disagreeing with me).

In today’s Washington Post: A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 25, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Labor Markets, Robots

Intelligence not valued by employers

From an article at Quartz, among six factors hiring managers were asked about, intelligence was ranked at the very bottom.

There’s the real reason that IQ tests are not used by employers. Why test for something that’s not valued in employees?

And that’s also one of the reasons we see that IQ doesn’t have the correlation with income that people(people who read HBD blogs) think it does. If it’s not valued by employers, then it’s not going to help increase your income.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 15, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Biology, Labor Markets

The last time I hired a computer programmer

Our junior programmer (or whatever his title was, I forgot) was let go because he failed his “Public Trust” investigation, which we believe was because he admitted on his application that he had used marijuana in the past.

“Dude, don’t you know that you’re supposed to lie about that? You just don’t list anyone you did drugs with as a reference.” Being his supervisor for a year, I am pretty confident that he was a good honest kid and no danger to our national security.

Because we had a consulting contract with a security agency, we were only allowed to hire American citizens for the position. It turns out that it’s really difficult to find computer people in the DC area who are American citizens (and this was 14 years ago). The HR department kept giving me these resumes of people who weren’t American citizens. I told the HR person (a nice black girl who you would never think was black based on talking to her on the telephone) that all the resumes were from people who weren’t American citizens, and she said “you can’t decide that from the resume, I have to interview them.” Of course, I was 100% accurate on calling out who was an American citizen and who was not. Everyone in the DC area who had a foreign-sounding name knew the value of being an American citizen and would put it on their resume if they were.

“Why can’t you please put in the ad that only American citizens are allowed for the job?” She insisted that she couldn’t. From a legal perspective, she was wrong about that, it is allowed if it’s a job requirement, but I can understand how little appetite there is by HR to push the envelope on anything, even if the push is within very clear legal boundaries.

Once we found someone who was (1) an American citizen; and (2) willing to interview for an entry-level low-paid computer programming job, I would give them the coding test. I put them down in front of a computer, with Visual Studio.NET loaded, gave them the option of using either VB.NET or C#, and gave them what I thought was a very simple programming task. And they had complete access to the help text, so it didn’t require memorization of any arcane functions. (The ability to recite back arcane stuff is typical of most of the computer programming tests they give to job applicants, but my philosophy is that people should be allowed to demonstrate competence by doing rather than by reciting. People hiring computer programmers are obviously not influenced by the Supreme Court’s alleged prohibition on testing job applicants, and no one has ever gotten in legal trouble for such tests, as far as I know.)

One of the applicants was this pretty girl. With a nice body because she was a part-time exercise instructor. Believe me, she would have been hired instantly if only she could have passed the coding test. But she stared at the computer for nearly two hours, unable to do the simple assignment. Finally, feeling very sorry for her, I said some consoling words and walked her out.

The guy we did hire, a nerdy white guy, completed the assignment in five minutes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 8, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Labor Markets

Libertarians are wrong about taxation

Libertarians believe that if Lazy Farmer works in his fields for 6 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer works in his fields 12 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer consequently grows twice as many crops, that it’s not fair to assign a higher tax rate to Industrious Farmer because that would punish him for his hard work in creating value.

If we still had an 18th century agrarian economy, I too would be a libertarian economist! But that’s not how our modern economy works. People aren’t rich because they put in more hours tilling the fields. They are rich because they own monopolies. They are rich because they have the right degrees, the right contacts, the right personality, to get into the high-paying career tracks. Wealth has become divorced from actual value creation. The people doing the real value-creating work, like the engineers (many of whom are from foreign countries because value-creation is work that Americans don’t want to do), are paid salaries on the high-end of middle-class but they are not wealthy.

Another libertarian talking point I see a lot is that high taxes suppress value creation because people will choose not to work. But all empirical evidence from the real economy shows this argument is bogus. The people most likely to be sitting home playing videogames are those who would have had the lowest tax rates had they been working in the labor force. Those putting in the most hours, like BIGLAW partners and investment bankers, have extremely high hourly incomes (and thus the highest tax rates). And the argument assumes that these rich people create value in the first place. There’s a case to be made that our nation would be better off if BIGLAW partners and investment bankers worked fewer hours instead of more hours.

As we move more into a post-scarcity economy, we see jobs being a luxury for the rich rather than the means to create value. Remember my blog post about Toby Milstein? She is an heiress who never needs to work a day in her life, and she lives in the Dakota, but she still has a regular job in “business development” for a tech startup, because not having a job is for the lower classes.

Libertarians say that taxation is “theft.” But as I’ve shown, REALLY rich people voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 3 to 1 margin. Even though it was well known that there would be higher taxes under Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. People don’t vote for theft.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 19, 2017 at EST am

Unemployed men playing videogames, in the New York Times

In the Upshot column in the New York Times: Why Some Men Don’t Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good.

More than ten years ago, I first wrote about how games like World of Warcraft mimic work but provide a better experience because your efforts are always rewarded. I’m so ahead of everyone else, yet I have a crappy job with no career future.

People, especially men, want to feel like they are working to accomplish something, but labor-market work doesn’t give most people that feeling. Especially not those without college degrees and good career tracks.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 6, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Labor Markets

More on the topic of unemployed young men who play video games

Commenter “Simba” provided me a link to this article (or maybe more of an essay than an article) at Reason:

http://reason.com/archives/2017/06/13/young-men-are-playing-video-ga

It’s another take on the topic of young men who are playing video games instead of working.

All of these types of articles are addressing a topic I addressed many years before (I was way ahead of the times.) This is what I wrote in 2006:

In WoW and similar games, your status increases slowly but surely every time you play. After so many hours in the game, you can see exactly how many more experience points you have, maybe your level has increased, maybe you have better armor or weapons than you had before. Unlike the real world, where you can work 40 hours of overtime and not even get paid for it, if you put an extra 40 hours into WoW you will definitely have something to show for it. Your status within the virtual world of WoW will have increased in ways you can clearly ascertain.

* * *

In Overwatch, although your skill rank never goes up, they do give you some consolation prizes like a higher “level” and loot boxes that give you things like “skins” and “victory poses.” But I don’t care about that stuff. I feel like the real game in Overwatch is your competitive skill rank, and therefore Overwatch kind of depresses me because it demonstrates that I’m not even very good at playing video games.

Maybe I should switch to a role playing game (one of many WoW clones) which gives you the illusion that, as long as you keep putting in playtime, you’re becoming more powerful.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 14, 2017 at EST am

The salary taboo

For Yakov, who thinks I’m “trolling” when I write that the people should know how much money other people make. This is something I wrote 11 years ago:

* * *

In America, it’s taboo to talk about your salary.

It’s a pretty strange taboo because most of the other taboos have something to do with sex. The salary taboo seems even stronger than sex taboos. Today, you turn on HBO and see gay men kissing each other on Six Feet Under [10 years later, you see gay men doing a lot worse on Sense8], yet the characters on the show never mention what they get paid, so someone watching the show who is thinking about entering the death care industry has no idea whether it’s economically rewarding.

Because no one knows how much anyone else gets paid, this assymetry of information benefits employers. Employers know exactly what people working for them get paid, and have a pretty good idea of what people at other companies are getting paid. The salary taboo gives employers an unfair bargaining advantage over employees, and employers already have a huge bargaining advantage on account of it being a lot easier for the employer to lose an employee than vice versa.

There has been much talk about how the top 1% is getting all the benefits of the economic expansion. Maybe the salary taboo is a big part of the reason. Because no one talks about salaries, no one realizes that someone with the same job skills received a 10% raise, so they don’t know to ask for one themselves.

If people really want to stick it to The Man, they’d freely and openly tell everyone how much they earn.

Bloggers can therefore do more for equality in America than any government policy. All we have to do is start a new trend in which we tell the world exactly how much money we make. Post it in your blogs, or leave a comment here.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 7, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Labor Markets

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