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Slightly Skeptical View on Neoliberal Transformation of University Education

News Neoliberalism and rising inequality Recommended Links Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The value of education
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Information overload Mental Overload Sleep Deprivation Drinking from a firehose Humor Etc


Introduction

Previously education was mostly about "finding yourself" -- developing understanding of the world and yourself, as well as developing those set of abilities that you was gifted most. Andinding what you what to do in the future, Neoliberalism has changed that dramatically. Education now is just in "investment" into your "entrepreneurial self" to increase your value as "human capital" holder and this your value in the "labout market." (Symptomatic Redness -Philip Mirowski - YouTube).  That's bullsh*t, but people already brainwashed by neoliberals from the middle school buy it uncritically.

In the current circumstances education is no longer the answer to rising inequality. Instead of serving as a social lift it, at least in some cases, became more of a social trap. This is connected with neoliberal transformation of education. With the collapse of post-war public funded educational model and privatization of the University education students face a pretty cruel world. World in which they are cows to milk. Now universities became institutions very similar to McDonalds ( or, in less politically correct terms, Bordellos of Higher Learning). Like McDonalds they need to price their services so that to receive nice profit and they to make themselves more attractive to industry they intentionally feed students with overspecialized curriculum instead of concentrating on fundamentals and the developing the ability to understand the world. Which was a hallmark of university education of the past.

Since 1970th Neo-Liberal University model replaced public funded university model (Dewey model). It is now collapsing as there are not that many students, who are able (and now with lower job prospects and persistent tales of graduates working as bartenders) to pay inflated tuition fees. That means that higher education again by-and-large became privilege of the rich and upper middle class.

Lower student enrollment first hit minted during dot-com boom expensive private colleges, who hunt for people with government support (such a former members of Arm forces). It remains viable only in elite universities, which traditionally serve the top 1% and rich foreigners. As David Schultz wrote in his article (Logos, 2012):

Yet the Dewey model began to collapse in middle of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the retrenchment of the SUNY and CUNY systems in New York under Governor Hugh Carey in 1976 that began the end of the democratic university. What caused its retrenchment was the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

The fiscal crisis of the 1970s was born of numerous problems. Inflationary pressures caused by Vietnam and the energy embargoes of the 1970s, and recessionary forces from relative declines in American economic productivity produced significant economic shocks, including to the public sector where many state and local governments edged toward bankruptcy.

Efforts to relieve declining corporate profits and productivity initiated efforts to restructure the economy, including cutting back on government services. The response, first in England under Margaret Thatcher and then in the United States under Ronald Reagan, was an effort to retrench the state by a package that included decreases in government expenditures for social welfare programs, cutbacks on business regulations, resistance to labor rights, and tax cuts. Collectively these proposals are referred to as Neo-liberalism and their aim was to restore profitability and autonomy to free markets with the belief that unfettered by the government that would restore productivity.

Neo-liberalism had a major impact on higher education. First beginning under President Carter and then more so under Ronald Reagan, the federal and state governments cut taxes and public expenditures. The combination of the two meant a halt to the Dewey business model as support for public institutions decreased and federal money dried up.

From a high in the 1960s and early 70s when states and the federal government provided generous funding to expand their public systems to educate the Baby Boomers, state universities now receive only a small percentage of their money from the government. As I pointed out in my 2005 Logos “The Corporate University in American Society” article in 1991, 74% of the funding for public universities came from states, in 2004; it was down to 64%, with state systems in Illinois, Michigan and Virginia down to 25%, 18%, and 8% respectively. Since then, the percentages have shrunk even more, rendering state universities public institutions more in name than in funding.

Higher education under Neo-liberalism needed a new business model and it found it in the corporate university. The corporate university is one where colleges increasingly use corporate structures and management styles to run the university. This includes abandoning the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) shared governance model where faculty had an equal voice in the running of the school, including over curriculum, selection of department chairs, deans, and presidents, and determination of many of the other policies affecting the academy. The corporate university replaced the shared governance model with one more typical of a business corporation.

For the corporate university, many decisions, including increasingly those affecting curriculum, are determined by a top-down pyramid style of authority. University administration often composed not of typical academics but those with business or corporate backgrounds had pre-empted many of the decisions faculty used to make. Under a corporate model, the trustees, increasingly composed of more business leaders than before, select, often with minimal input from the faculty, the president who, in turn, again with minimal or no faculty voice, select the deans, department heads, and other administrative personnel.

In some disciplines such as economics University presidents became way too greedy

Neoliberalism professes the idea the personal greed can serve positive society goals, which is reflected in famous neoliberal slogan "greed is good". And university presidents listen. Now presidents of neoliberal universities do not want to get $100K per year salary, they want one, or better several, million dollar salary of the CEO of major corporation (Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds - NYTimes.com)

At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.

The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.

The co-authors, Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood, found that administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.

“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Ms. Wood said. “But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”

... ... ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual survey of public university presidents’ compensation, also released Sunday, found that nine chief executives earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2012-13, up from four the previous year, and three in 2010-11. The median total compensation of the 256 presidents in the survey was $478,896, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

... ... ...

As in several past years, the highest-compensated president, at $6,057,615 in this period, was E. Gordon Gee, who resigned from Ohio State last summer amid trustee complaints about frequent gaffes. He has since become the president of West Virginia University.

This trick requires dramatic raising of tuition costs. University bureaucracy also got taste for better salaries and all those deans, etc want to be remunerated like vice presidents. So raising the tuition costs became the key existential idea of neoliberal university. Not quality of education, but tuition costs now are the key criteria of success. And if you can charge students $40K per semester it is very, very good. If does not matter that most population get less then $20 an hour.

The same is true for professors, who proved to be no less corruptible. And some of them, such as economic departments, simply serve as prostitutes for financial oligarchy. So they were corrupted even before that rat race for profit. Of course there are exceptions. But they only prove the rule.

As the result university tuition inflation outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds. At some point amount that you pay (and the level of debt after graduation) becomes an important factor in choosing the university. So children of "have" and "have nots" get into different educational institutions and do not meet each other. In a way aristocracy returned via back door.

Job market situation and hidden financial rip offs

Neoliberal university professes "deep specialization" to create "ready for the market" graduates. And that creates another problem: education became more like stock market game and that makes more difficult for you to change you specialization late in the education cycle. But early choice entail typical stock market problem: you might miss the peak of the market or worse get into prolonged slump as graduates in finance learned all too well in 2008. That's why it is important not to accumulate too much debt: this is a kind of "all in" play in poker. You essentially bet that in a particular specialty there will be open positions with high salary, when you graduate. If you lose this bet you are done.

As a result of this "reaction to the market trends" by neoliberal universities, when universities bacem appendixes of HR of large corporations students need to be more aware of real university machinery then students in 50th or 60th of the last century. And first of all assume that it is functioning not to their benefits.

One problem for a student is that there are now way too many variables that you do not control. Among them:

On the deep level neoliberal university is not interested to help you to find specialization and place in life where can unleash your talents. You are just a paying customers much like in McDonalds, and university interests are such they might try to push you in wrong direction or load you with too much debt.

If there is deep mismatch as was with computer science graduates after crash of dot-com boom, or simply bad job market due to economy stagnation and you can't find the job for your new specialty (or if you got "junk" specialty with inherent high level of unemployment among professionals) and you have substantial education debt, then waiting tables or having some other MacJob is a real disaster for you. As with such salaries you simply can't pay it back. So controlling the level of debt is very important and in this sense parents financial help is now necessary. In other words education became more and more "rich kids game".

That does not mean that university education should be avoided for those from families with modest means. On the contrary it provides unique experience and help a person to mature in multiple ways difficult to achieve without it. It is still one of the best ways to get vertical mobility. But unless parents can support you need to try to find the most economical way to obtain it without acquiring too much debt. This is you first university exam. And if you fail it you are in trouble.

For example, computer science education is a great way to learn quite a few things necessary for a modern life. But the price does matter and prestige of the university institution that you attend is just one of the factors you should consider in your evaluation. It should not be the major factor ("vanity fair") unless your parents are rich and can support you. If you are good you can get later a master degree in a prestigious university after graduation from a regular college. Or even Ph.D.

County colleges are greatly underappreciated and generally provide pretty high standard of education, giving ability to students to save money for the first two years before transferring to a four year college. They also smooth the transition as finding yourself among people who are only equal or superior then you (and have access to financial resource that you don't have) is a huge stress. The proverb say that it is better to be first in the village then last in the town has some truth in it. Prestigious universities might provide a career boost (high fly companies usually accept resumes only from Ivy League members), but they cost so much that you need to be a son or daughter of well-to-do parents to feel comfortably in them. Or extremely talented. Also amount of career boost that elite universities provide depends on whom your parents are and what connections they have. It does not depend solely on you and the university. Again, I would like to stress that you should resist "vanity fair" approach to your education: a much better way is to try to obtain BS in a regular university and them try to obtain MS and then, if you are good, PHD, in a prestigious university. Here is a fragment of an interesting discussion that covers this topic (Low Mobility Is Not a Social Tragedy?, Feb 13, 2013 ; I recommend you to read the whole discussion ):

kievite:

I would like to defend Greg Clack.

I think that Greg Clack point is that the number of gifted children is limited and that exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies (story of Alexander Hamilton was really fascinating for me, the story of Mikhail Lomonosov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Lomonosov was another one -- he went from the very bottom to the top of Russian aristocracy just on the strength of his abilities as a scientist). In no way the ability to "hold its own" (typical for rich families kids) against which many here expressed some resentment represents social mobility. But the number of kids who went down is low -- that's actually proves Greg Clack point:

(1) Studies of social mobility using surnames suggest two things. Social mobility rates are much lower than conventionally estimated. And social mobility rates estimated in this way vary little across societies and time periods. Sweden is no more mobile than contemporary England and the USA, or even than medieval England. Social mobility rates seem to be independent of social institutions (see the other studies on China, India, Japan and the USA now linked here).

Francisco Ferreira rejects this interpretation, and restates the idea that there is a strong link between social mobility rates and inequality in his interesting post.

What is wrong with the data Ferreira cites? Conventional estimates of social mobility, which look at just single aspects of social status such as income, are contaminated by noise. If we measure mobility on one aspect of status such as income, it will seem rapid.

But this is because income is a very noisy measure of the underlying status of families. The status of families is a combination of their education, occupation, income, wealth, health, and residence. They will often trade off income for some other aspect of status such as occupation. A child can be as socially successful as a low paid philosophy professor as a high paid car salesman. Thus if we measure just one aspect of status such as income we are going to confuse the random fluctuations of income across generations, influenced by such things as career choices between business and philosophy, with true generalised social mobility.

If these estimates of social mobility were anywhere near correct as indicating true underlying rates of social mobility, then we would not find that the aristocrats of 1700 in Sweden are still overrepresented in all elite occupations of Sweden. Further, the more equal is income in a society, the less signal will income give of the true social status of families. In a society such as Sweden, where the difference in income between bus drivers and philosophy professors is modest, income tells us little about the social status of families. It is contaminated much more by random noise. Thus it will appear if we measure social status just by income that mobility is much greater in Sweden than in the USA, because in the USA income is a much better indicator of the true overall status of families.

The last two paragraphs of Greg Clark article cited by Mark Thoma are badly written and actually are somewhat disconnected with his line of thinking as I understand it as well as with the general line of argumentation of the paper.

Again, I would like to stress that a low intergenerational mobility includes the ability of kids with silver spoon in their mouth to keep a status close to their parent. The fact that they a have different starting point then kids from lower strata of society does not change that.

I think that the key argument that needs testing is that the number of challengers from lower strata of the society is always pretty low and is to a large extent accommodated by the societies we know (of course some societies are better then others).

Actually it would be interesting to look at the social mobility data of the USSR from this point of view.

But in no way, say, Mark Thoma was a regular kid, although circumstances for vertical mobility at this time were definitely better then now. He did possessed some qualities which made possible his upward move although his choice of economics was probably a mistake ;-).

Whether those qualities were enough in more restrictive environments we simply don't know, but circumstances for him were difficult enough as they were.

EC -> kievite...

"the number of gifted children is limited"

I stopped reading after that. I teach at a high school in a town with a real mix of highly elite families, working class families, and poor families, and I can tell you that the children of affluent parents are not obviously more gifted than the children of poor families. They do, however, have a lot more social capital, and they have vastly more success. But the limitations on being "gifted" are irrelevant.

According to an extensive study (Turkheimer et al., 2003) of 50,000 pregnant women and the children they went on to have (including enough sets of twins to be able to study the role of innate genetic differences), variation in IQ among the affluent seems to be largely genetic.

Among the poor, however, IQ has very little to do with genes -- probably because the genetic differences are swamped and suppressed by the environmental differences, as few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances.

kievite -> EC...

All you said is true. I completely agree that "...few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances." So there are losses here and we should openly talk about them.

Also it goes without saying that social capital is extremely important for a child. That's why downward mobility of children from upper classes is suppressed, despite the fact that some of them are plain vanilla stupid.

But how this disproves the point made that "exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies"? I think you just jumped the gun...

mrrunangun:

The early boomers benefitted from the happy confluence of the postwar boom, LBJ's Great Society efforts toward financial assistance for those seeking to advance their educations, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act which opened opportunities for marginalized social groups in institutions largely closed to them under the prewar social customs in the US.

The US Supreme Court is made up of only Jews and Catholics as of this writing, a circumstance inconceivable in the prewar America. Catholics were largely relegated to separate and unequal institutions. Jews' opportunities were limited by quotas and had a separate set of institutions of their own where their numbers could support such. Where their numbers were not sufficient, they were often relegated to second rate institutions.

Jewish doctors frequently became the leading men in the Catholic hospitals in Midwestern industrial towns where they were unwelcome in the towns' main hospitals. Schools, clubs, hospitals, professional and commercial organizations often had quota or exclusionary policies. Meritocracy has its drawbacks, but we've seen worse in living memory.

The cruel world of neoliberal university

Of course bad things that happened to you during your university years are soon forgotten and nostalgia colors everything in role tones, but the truth is that the modern university is a very cruel world. Now more then ever. Here are some random observations of the subject (See also my Diploma Mills page about high education sharks for which sucking you dry financially is the main goal ):

Lysenkoism and petty, greedy pseudo-scientific scum as professors and teachers

Most teachers and Professors in the university are good, honest people who are trying to make some contribution to science and teach students (difficult things to mix). But not all. One of the most dangerous feature of neoliberal university are influx of people who represent a toxic mix of teacher, snake oil seller, careerist and cult follower. They are not teachers but brainwashers, hired guns -- propagandists masquerading as University professors. That is why we have witnessed such a corruption and politicization of science and rising proportion of research and theories taught at the universities that are fraudulent.

Previously teacher was a person somewhat similar to a monk. A person who consciously traded the ability to work in science to the possibility of acquiring material wealth, at least excessive material wealth. As Ernest Rutherford once reminded Pyotr Kapitsa "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

But in neoliberal university way too many teachers/researchers took Faustian bargain when one trades the academic independence for above average personal wealth, influence, for the power grab. And despite popular image of scientists and university professors they proved to be as corruptible by money as Wall Street traders ;-). This is because the sponsors of their research such as big business, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government vie to publish reports and results that put the sponsors in the best light. Good example is relations of pharmaceutical industry and academia

“The answer to that question is at once both predictable and shocking: For the past two decades, medical research has been quietly corrupted by cash from private industry. Most doctors and academic researchers aren't corrupt in the sense of intending to defraud the public or harm patients, but rather, more insidiously, guilty of allowing the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to manipulate medical science through financial relationships, in effect tainting the system that is supposed to further the understanding of disease and protect patients from ineffective or dangerous drugs. More than 60 percent of clinical studies--those involving human subjects--are now funded not by the federal government, but by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. That means that the studies published in scientific journals like Nature and The New England Journal of Medicine--those critical reference points for thousands of clinicians deciding what drugs to prescribe patients, as well as for individuals trying to educate themselves about conditions and science reporters from the popular media who will publicize the findings--are increasingly likely to be designed, controlled, and sometimes even ghost-written by marketing departments, rather than academic scientists. Companies routinely delay or prevent the publication of data that show their drugs are ineffective.

...

“ Novartis, stepped in and provided additional funding for development. In 1984, private companies contributed a mere $26 million to university research budgets. By 2000, they were ponying up $2.3 billion, an increase of 9000 percent that provided much needed funds to universities at a time when the cost of doing medical research was skyrocketing.”

Historically the scientific community is held together through its joint acceptance of the same fundamental principles of conducting research (and teaching those results) and ethics. Scientific research is best practiced in a voluntary, honest and free atmosphere. But this idyllic arrangement as well as scientific ethics now belongs to the past ( The Corruption of Science )

“It’s a long-standing and crucial question that, as yet, remains unanswered: just how common is scientific misconduct? In the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh reports the first meta-analysis of surveys questioning scientists about their misbehaviours. The results suggest that altering or making up data is more frequent than previously estimated and might be particularly high in medical research.

...There is immense pressure on scientists to produce results, to publish, to seek glory, or just to get tenure. Scientists are human beings, after all, and sometimes they approach their field with preconceptions or biases. Politics certainly comes into play; consider eugenics in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, or eugenics in Nazi Germany.

Now we can talk only about the level of political and economical pressure and corresponding level of corruption on professors and scientists, not so much about presence or absence of corruption in science and education. What really matters for students is that when they feel that a professor is a scum, they nevertheless try to imitate. See for example Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.

Historically the situation started to change even before neoliberal university became a dominant educational institution. Previously, despite the fact that money for science were in short supply, scientists maintained a self-discipline. That changed after WWII. Prior to World War II there was little government financial support for science. A graduate student working on a Ph.D. degree was expected to make a new discovery to earn that degree. And if somebody else came first he needed to find a new theme and to restart his work.

But with the advent of NSF scientists started to "propose" directions of research to get funding. And be sure this instill atmosphere of sycophantism and political correctness. This process accelerated dramatically since 1980th with the ascendance of neoliberalism as a dominant USA ideology, when greed became playing significant role in US universities. It should be understood that now the university professor is no longer is a teacher and a scientist, but predominantly "grants provider" for the university and that means that he/she is in the first place a political agent, a manipulator on a mission from the external agent (typically the state via NSF or other agency, see The Corruption of Science in America -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net)

For the unwashed masses University professor career still represents the ultimate carrier of truth for a given discipline, so his opinion have a distinct political weight. And the architects of our neoliberal world fully use this "superstition". Like we can see with neoclassical economics, economists have turned into an instrument of cognitive manipulation, when under the guise of science financial oligarchy promote beneficial to itself but false and simplistic picture of the world, using University professors to brainwash the masses into "correct" thinking.

Professors literally became a religious figures, and cult members or even cult leaders. The first sign of this dangerous disease of the modern university was probably Lysenkoism in the USSR. In this sense one can say that Lysenkoism represented a natural side effect of shrinking of freedom of the scientific community and growing influence of political power on science. As by Frederick Seitz noted in his The Present Danger To Science and Society

Everyone knows that the scientific community faces financial problems at the present time. If that were its only problem, some form of restructuring and allocation of funds, perhaps along lines well tested in Europe and modified in characteristic American ways, might provide solutions that would lead to stability and balance well into the next century. Unfortunately, the situation is more complex, made so by the fact that the scientific establishment has become the object of controversy from both outside and inside its special domain. The most important aspects of the controversy are of a new kind and direct attention away from matters that are sufficiently urgent to be the focus of a great deal of the community's attention.

The assaults on science from the outside arise from such movements as the ugly form of "political correctness" that has taken root in important portions of our academic community. There are to be found, in addition, certain tendencies toward a home-grown variant of the anti-intellectual Lysenkoism that afflicted science in the Stalinist Soviet Union. So-called fraud cases are being dealt with in new, bureaucratic ways that cut across the traditional methods of arriving at truth in science. From inside the scientific community, meanwhile, there are challenges that go far beyond those that arise from the intense competition for the limited funds that are available to nourish the country's scientific endeavor.

The critical issue of arriving at a balanced approach to funding for science is being subordinated to issues made to seem urgent by unhealthy alliances of scientists and bureaucrats. Science and the integrity of its practitioners are under attack and, increasingly, legislators and bureaucrats shape the decisions that determine which paths scientific research should take. There is, in addition, a sinister tendency, especially in environmental affairs, toward considering the undertaking of expensive projects that are proposed by some scientists to remedy worst-case formulations of problems before the radical and expensive remedies are proven to be needed. They are viewed seriously though they are based on the advice of opportunistic alarmists in science who leap ahead of what is learned from solid research to encourage support for the expensive remedies they perceive to be necessary. The potential for very great damage to science and society is real.

Textbook racket is a part of neoliberal transformation of university education

Unfortunately a large part of the textbook market in the USA has all signs of corrupted monopoly infested with cronyism and incompetence to the extent that Standard Oil practices looks pretty benign in comparison. As the site MakeTextbooksAffordable.com states on its font page:

The report found that even though students already pay $900 year for textbooks, textbook publishers artificially inflate the price of textbooks by adding bells and whistles to the current texts, and forcing cheaper used books off the market by producing expensive new editions of textbooks that are barely different from the previous edition.

And some university professors are part of these scheme. Congressmen David Wu sites the opinion of the publisher in his letter "If a student is paying hundreds of dollars for a book, it's because the professor has ordered the Cadillac edition". But that might be true only for CS where any professor can easily find a cheaper high quality substitute from publishers like O'Reilly (and students can do this too, see Softpanorama Bookshelf actually about finding the best CS book (and some other) at reasonable prices. In other disciplines like mathematics situation is a real racket: The cost of a common calculus textbook is over $100 in the USA. This is a blatant, open rip-off. Economics is probably even worse with some useless junk selling for almost $300 per book.

In the meantime, enterprising students have many ways to cut the cost of buying textbooks.

But here one needs to see a bigger picture: low quality of recommended textbooks and, especially, the quality of university instruction makes it necessary buying additional textbooks. Also the ownership of best textbooks often makes the difference between success and failure in the particular course. In this sense additional $100 spending for books for each course makes economic sense as the common alternative is to drop the course, which often means $1K of more loss.

There are several ways to save on additional textbooks that hopefully can somewhat compensate for the low quality of tuition in a typical university. With some effort a student can often save approximately 50% of the cover price. Again my Links2bookstores page contains more information.

At the same time if the instructor is weak, or, worse, belongs to "fundamentalists", a category of instructors that does not distinguish between important and unimportant things and overloads the course with "useless overcomplexity" additional books are one of few countermeasures against this typical university-style rip-off. Dropping the course is a difficult maneuver that requires perfect timing and problems with instructor and the course content usually do not surface during the first month of the study when you can still do it for free or with minimal damage.

College textbook publishing became a racket with the growth of neoliberalism. And it is pretty dirty racket with willing accomplishes in form of so called professors like Greg Mankiw. For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200. An interesting discussion of this problem can be found at Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks'

Tim Taylor on why textbooks cost so much:

Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks: High textbook prices are a pebble in the shoe of many college students. Sure, it's not the biggest financial issue they face, But it's a real and nagging annoyance that for hinders performance for many students. ...
David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein at National Public Radio took up this question recently on one of their "Planet Money" podcasts. ... For economists, a highlight is that they converse with Greg Mankiw, author of what is currently the best-selling introductory economics textbook, which as they point out is selling for $286 on Amazon. Maybe this is a good place to point out that I am not a neutral observer in this argument: The third edition of my own Principles of Economics textbook is available through Textbook Media. The pricing varies from $25 for online access to the book, up through $60 for both a paper copy (soft-cover, black and white) and online access.

Several explanations for high textbook prices are on offer. The standard arguments are that textbook companies are marketing selling to professors, not to students, and professors are not necessarily very sensitive to textbook prices. (Indeed, one can argue that before the rapid rise in textbook prices in the last couple of decades, it made sense for professors not to focus too much on textbook prices.) Competition in the textbook market is limited, and the big publishers load up their books with features that might appeal to professors: multi-colored hardcover books, with DVDs and online access, together with test banks that allow professors to give quizzes and tests that can be machine-graded. At many colleges and universities, the intro econ class is taught in a large lecture format, which can include hundreds or even several thousand students, as well as a flock of teaching assistants, so some form of computerized grading and feedback is almost a necessity. Some of the marketing by textbook companies involves paying professors for reviewing chapters--of course in the hope that such reviewers will adopt the book.

The NPR show casts much of this dynamic as a "principal-agent problem," the name for a situation in which one person (the "principal") wants another person (the "agent") to act on their behalf, but lacks the ability to observe or evaluate the actions of the agent in a complete way. Principal-agent analysis is often used, for example, to think about the problem of a manager motivating employees. But it can also be used to consider the issue of students (the "principals") wanting the professor (the "agent") to choose the book that will best suit the needs of the students, with all factors of price and quality duly taken into account. The NPR reporters quote one expert saying that the profit margin for high school textbooks is 5-10%, because those books decisions are made by school districts and states that negotiate hard. However, profit margins on college textbooks--where the textbook choice is often made by a professor who may not even know the price that students will pay--are more like 20%.

The NPR report suggests this principal-agent framework to Greg Mankiw, author of the top-selling $286 economic textbook. Mankiw points out that principal-agent problems are in no way nefarious, but come up in many contexts. For example, when you get an operation, you rely on the doctor to make choices that involve costs; when you get your car fixed, you rely on a mechanic to make choices that involve costs; when you are having home repairs done, you rely on a repair person or a contractor to make choices that involve costs. Mankiw argues that professors, acting as the agents of students, have legitimate reason to be concerned about tradeoffs of time and money. As he notes, a high quality book is more important "than saving them a few dollars"--and he suggests that saving $30 isn't worth it for a low-quality book.

But of course, in the real world there are more choices than a high-quality $286 book and a low-quality $256 book. The PIRG student surveys suggest that up to two-thirds of students are avoiding buying textbooks at all, even though they fear it will hurt their grade, or are shifting to other classes with lower textbook costs. If a student is working 10 hours a week at a part-time job, making $8/hour after taxes, then the difference between $286 book and a $60 book is 28.25 hours--nearly three weeks of part-time work. I am unaware of any evidence in which students were randomly assigned different textbooks but otherwise taught and evaluated in the same way, and kept time diaries, which would show that higher-priced books save time or improve academic performance. It is by no means obvious that a lower-cost book (yes, like my own) works less well for students than a higher-cost book from a big publisher. Some would put that point more strongly.

A final dynamic that may be contributing to higher-prices textbooks is a sort of vicious circle related to the textbook resale market. The NPR report says that when selling a textbook over a three-year edition, a typical pattern was that sales fell by half after the first year and again by half after the second year, as students who had bought the first edition resold the book to later students. Of course, this dynamic also means that many students who bought the book new are not really paying full-price, but instead paying the original price minus the resale price. The argument is that as textbooks have increased in price, the resale market has become ever-more active, so that sales of a textbook in later years have dwindled much more quickly. Textbook companies react to this process by charging more for the new textbook, which of course only spurs more activity in the resale market.

A big question for the future of textbooks is how and in what ways they migrate to electronic forms. On one side, the hope is that electronic textbooks will offer expanded functionality, as well as being cheaper. But this future is not foreordained. At least at present, my sense is that the functionality of reading and taking notes in online textbooks hasn't yet caught up to the ease of reading on paper. Technology and better screens may well shift this balance over time. But even setting aside questions of reading for long periods of time on screen, or taking notes on screen, at present it remains harder to skip around in a computerized text between what you are currently reading and the earlier text that you need to be checking, as well as skipping to various graphs, tables, and definitions. To say it more simply, in a number of subjects it may still be harder to study an on-line text than to study a paper text.

Moreover, as textbook manufacturers shift to an on-line world, they will bring with them their full bag of tricks for getting paid. The Senack report notes:

Today’s marketplace offers more digital textbook options to the student consumer than ever. “Etextbooks” are digitized texts that students read on a laptop or tablet. Similar to PDF documents, e-textbooks enable students to annotate, highlight and search. The cost may be 40-50 percent of the print retail price, and access expires after 180 days. Publishers have introduced e-textbooks for nearly all their traditional textbook offerings. In addition, the emergence of the ereader like the Kindle and iPad, as well as the emergence of many e-textbook rental programs, all seemed to indicate that the e-textbook will alter the college textbook landscape for the better.

However, despite this shift, users of e-textbooks are subject to expiration dates, on-line codes that only work once, page printing limits, and other tactics that only serve to restrict use and increase cost.

Unfortunately for students, the publishing companies’ venture into e-textbooks is a continuation of the practices they use to monopolize the print market.

JohnH:

My understanding is that there are cases where the professor requires the textbook he wrote and for which he receives royalties...

In such cases, the publisher and the professor's interests align against the student, who pays through the teeth.

djb:

good article but i have a real problem with introductory texts on economics

they are completely biased, mostly towards supply side of the debate

meaning, of course, they are wrong

if they just contained that which is undeniably true then ok, or if they presented it as this school of thought says this and that school of thought says the other, ok,

The Raven:

A general rule of thumb: half the selling price of a book is spent before the first impression is made on paper. Speaking as a very small publisher, I think the main problem is that the texts are expensive to produce.

They take a lot of editorial and design effort, so the fixed costs of textbook production are high, the production costs are often high, and textbook bestsellers are not common, so they don't usually make it up on volume.

Now, one could, for standard freshman and sophomore texts, aim at lower costs and higher volumes, but that's not academic publishing, and nothing is going to help with upper-level texts; the market is just not that big.

pgl -> to The Raven...

Excellent! With a high elasticity of demand, the increase in quantity beats the drop in price. Unless the marginal cost of printing books is higher than I suspect it is, Mankiw's publisher is not a profit maximizing monopolist. I'm telling you the best economics is right here and we don't charge $286!

The Raven -> to pgl...

Thanks.

You'd have to market a book *hard* to get that increase in demand, though. It's not a student-by-student sale decision; the professors have to be marketed. The other thing about publishing economics that people outside the industry don't realize: most books don't make much money, so publishers rely on the good-sellers and the best-sellers for much of their profits. If you've got something you're pretty sure is going to be in demand, *you mark it up,* because in William Golding's immortal phrase, "Nobody knows anything."

Over the past 25 or so years, the consolidation of publishing has put the money types more and more in control of the business. And the money types always want to only market best sellers. This is sort of like Germany saying that everyone should make money exporting. "That trick never works."

Now, if anyone wanted to bring the price of an Econ 101 book down, one could do a no-frills book, small, soft-covered, and strictly monochrome, or perhaps an ebook. (But watch out—only some ebook readers support mathematics well.) It might cost $50 or so (I'm guessing—I'm not a textbook publisher.) It would not look impressive, and this might make a problem for marketing, but students could still learn from it. And—who knows?—it might even sell.

T.J.:

The issue is that textbook publishers release new editions every couple of years. For many subjects, including economics, this is absurd. Sciences don't change that quickly.

For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200.

Has principles of microeconomics changed that much over the course of 6 years? No, but textbook companies make a few changes on the margin and charge you hundreds of dollars for a new edition. Many times, professors require online access codes to supplement their lecture. Therefore, the student is forced into the newer edition, in which often there is no substantial differences or major improvements in presenting the material.

When you have that sort of market power, it is easy to achieve economic rents.

pgl -> to T.J....

"Sciences don't change that quickly". One would hope those freshwater books changed after their utter failures to predict the most recent recession. But they likely haven't.

cm -> to T.J....

There are errata, and some content that the author has in mind doesn't make it into the first edition, or not at the intended quality/depth. Most people who have never published something substantial have no idea how much work it is to get non-fiction scientific/technical stuff publication ready. Not only on the author's part but also editing and proofreading/giving feedback at a collegial level. (Not meaning to knock down fiction, that's a different set of challenges.)

Bill Ellis:

Two Ideas I would like to see combined. A period of Universal public service that earns a free higher and or tech education. Something like the GI bill for all.

I think making universal public service a right of passage could help us be a more unified society. If we have kids from inner city Detroit, rural West Virginia, suburban San Francisco and the oil fields of Oklahoma working side by side it would open their eyes to each other in ways that are never experienced by most American kids who are living in communities of institutional self-segregation.

Having said that.. free education is a no brainer no matter what.
To cover everyone's tuition it would only cost us about forty billion more than the feds already spend on higher ed. That's a rounding error in terms of our total budget.

We subsidize big oil and gas to the tune of about 50 billion a year.

The maddening thing is that the national debate is not even close to taking Free Ed seriously. Instead Liz Warren is portrayed some kind of wild eyed radical for proposing a modest cut in interest rates on student loans and some narrow way to get some forgiveness of debt.

John Cummings:

It is part of the educational industrial complex (which include vouchers and government backed private school industrial complex)

Educational industrial complex
Military industrial complex
Medical industrial complex
Prison industrial complex

Fred C. Dobbs:

(Evidently, 'It’s Economics 101'.)

Higher education: Why textbooks cost so much http://econ.st/1yzDU5Z via @TheEconomist - Aug 16th 2014

Students can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics”—even if they don’t read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteen fold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation (see chart, at link).

Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves. The 20m post-secondary students in America often have little choice in the matter. Small wonder textbooks generate megabucks.

But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but can’t be resold. And if all else fails, there is always the library.

Related: How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up http://t.usnews.com/a2B567 via @usnews - Aug 28, 2012

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

(A bunch of experts discuss the matter.)

Room for Debate: The Real Cost of College Textbooks http://nyti.ms/1qEHasX - July 2010

(Including a couple of economists!)

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

How to Cut Your Textbook Costs in Half -- or More-Kiplinger http://po.st/nCZsxY - August 2014

(By renting e-books, donchaknow.)

(Turns out Mankiw's Econ textbook, which
currently costs $289 in hardcover from
Amazon, can be rented in Kindle format
for a mere $173 - for 180 days.)

(Hardcover rental is $70, however.)

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

(Wait a second. The Federales fixed
this problem back in 2008...)

Advocates say a new set of federal provisions, aimed at driving down the cost of college textbooks, should help students this fall. On July 1, (2010) these rules took effect:

Publishers must give professors detailed information about textbook prices, revision histories and a list of alternate formats.

Publishers have to sell materials typically bundled with textbooks -- such as CDs, DVDs and workbooks -- separately so students don't have to buy them.

Colleges have to include in-course schedules with required textbooks for each class, including the book's price and International Standard Book Number, an identifying tool.

The protections, included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, are an attempt to lessen student debt, said U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., on Wednesday.

"The cost of education is of concern not only to students and families but to the nation," Durbin said, explaining why the government got involved in textbook prices. "Students are emerging with more and more debt."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/22/97931_new-federal-rules-take-aim-at.html?rh=1

Charles Peterson:

A $289 econ text is only marked up 20% ???

I'm not sure how to account for this, but I believe a full account of markup should include royalties if they have become outrageous economic rent.

Jim Harrison:

Textbooks have been outrageously expensive for a long time, though some of the prices quoted in this article were astonishing to me and I used to be in the business. Nothing much has changed. The complaints and the defenses sound very familiar. Even in the 70s and 80s, publishers groused about how the used trade hurt their sales and the suggestion was repeatedly made that one way around the trap was to produce much cheaper texts and make up the difference on volume. Unfortunately, the numbers never add up for that business plan since the major textbook publishers have huge sunk costs in the big sales forces needed to support the current model. Anyhow, good cheap books have long been available for many big undergrad courses if profs want to assign them and don't mind producing their own tests and other teaching aids. A handful of profs do just that and were already doing it thirty years ago, but they are a distinct minority.

About the revision racket: the funny thing is that old editions of textbooks are often better than more recent editions. Market research makes good books worse in much the same way that it eventually screws up software by the relentless addition of bells and whistles. I'm a technical writer these days and keep copies of several old classics at hand when I need to brush up: Feynman's lectures on physics; the first edition of Freeman, Pisani, and Purves on Statistics; the 2nd edition of Linus Pauling's Intro Chem text; Goldstein on Thermo; and a real museum piece, Sylvaner Thomas' Calculus Made Easy. Many of these books have been reprinted by Dover and are available for peanuts.

To be fair, the high price for textbooks makes more sense in some fields than in others. The three or four year revision cycle is absurd for math books since the math remains the same decade after decade, but texts in areas like molecular biology really do have to be revised frequently and substantively, a very labor-intensive task. Which is why I give a pass to the Biology editors and the folks who struggle to update the Intermediate Accounting books with the latest FASB standards.

cm -> to Jim Harrison...

Can you elaborate on the revision "paradox"? Surely not only in very new fields, the state of the art progresses, or textbook authors see a need or opportunity to include new material (I suspect somebody setting out to write a comprehensive text has more ideas what to write about than can be finished at the required quality in the required time, for the first edition).

How would the subsequent editions be worse, if the new content is driven by the author and not by external marketing considerations, unless the new material is at the expense of older material (e.g. #pages limit)?

From my very limited experience, authors who are not in it for making a profit, and who write for a small market (selling up to a few thousand copies per year is a small market) run into substantial overhead costs for editing, marketing (i.e. making the existence of the book known to the target audience), and distribution, and basically have to do the work for free. Some, and perhaps most, certainly academic, publishers have "charity" programs where they publish small editions where they at best break even or even cross-subsidize them out of "full rate" publications. Then people complain about excessive prices for the latter.

Leading Edge Boomer:

Jeebus, $286 for a textbook, from an author who is often wrong lately? I co-authored a graduate computer science text (low volume = higher cost) that retailed in the low two digits.

cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...

I will not comment on the author's merit or lack thereof, but $286 is really in "WTF" territory, for any textbook.

cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...

I once contributed to a book, and the authors/editors decided to collectively waive their royalties to hit an affordable price (and I suspect it was still a charity deal on the part of the largely academic publisher). But I got my free copy.

Jim Harrison:

At least for big market textbooks, the motive for revisions is generally financial and that's as true for the authors as the publishers. In fact, the authors are often the ones who push for new editions as their royalty checks steadily diminish. In cases where it's the authors who are reluctant to revise for whatever reason, publishers often sweeten the deal with advances, grants, or other goodies.

I don't mean to be completely cynical. Authors and editors certainly try to produce a better product when they put out new editions, and it very often happens that the second edition is better than the first. Especially in later cycles, however, the changes are usually pretty cosmetic. The editor in charge of the project solicits advice from users and potential users and comes up with a list of "improvements" in a process not entirely different than what happens when various interests in Washington get their pet provisions put in a bill. If you think that professor X is likely to adopt the text if you go along with his ideas and plug his contributions in the acknowledgements, the idea is very likely to be irresistible.

The sales force also weighs in. They want feature they can tout; but since real improvements are hard to come by, that usually means more and more pedagogy: boxes, pictures, computer programs, and umpteen forms of emphasis. Let me assure you it takes desperate ingenuity to come up with something new to add to an Intermediate Algebra textbook. "Now with a new way to factor trinomials" isn't exactly a memorable pitch. Meanwhile, after three or four editions, the author, who presumably would be the best source of serious innovation for a new edition, is generally bored to death with the project.

As I said above, there are textbooks that really do need perpetually revision for substantive reasons; but in most fields what Freshmen and Sophomores need to learn has been known for a long time. My remarks on revisions also don't apply very well to upper level texts in smaller markets, in part because students tend to hang on to serious books in their majors so the companies have less incentive to beat the used book market with new editions.

reason:

From what I remember of my university days (in the long distant past), we didn't have text books (that was for school kids). We had lectures and lists of reading materials (that if we were lucky we could find in the library and photocopy relvant sections). I did have a copy of Samualson (relatively cheap). But the emphasis was on a reading a variety of sources. What has changed, and why?

reason:

P.S. Not have text books would have the advantage of ensuring that the students attended lectures and stayed awake during them.

Jay:

No mention of the cost for this textbook...

http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Paul-Krugman/dp/1429251638/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413545846&sr=8-2&keywords=krugman+wells

grizzled:

My own biggest peeve concerns calculus textbooks, especially introductory calculus textbooks. The material hasn't changed in at least 60 years, if not longer. If it weren't for the current ridiculously long copyright terms people could just use old ones.

The last time I took the subject our professor went to some lengths to let us use the previous edition, which was available used. The only real change in the next edition was in the problems. That is, if a student was assigned "problem 8 in section xxx" having the most recent edition was the only way to know what the problem was.

I don't see any redeeming value in this.

Bloix:

My son took an intro geology course a few years ago. The textbook price at the school bookstore was about $125. He purchased the gray market (legal) "international edition" - word for word, page for page the same, but with a different picture on the cover - over the internet for about $50.

It's my understanding that this sort of price-differential is common. Mankiw's book appears to be available in the "international edition" for $60 (soft cover).

http://www.abebooks.com/9781285165875/Principles-Economics-7th-Edition-Mankiw-128516587X/plp

Please don't tell me that publishers and authors are not making money when they sell their books for US$50 or 60 in Australia.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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[Oct 11, 2017] The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations

Notable quotes:
"... The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison! ..."
"... Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The elites "have no credibility left" by Chris Hedges

...The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

[Oct 09, 2017] Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy

Chris Hedges published this book eight years ago and the things he predicted have sadly been realized
Notable quotes:
"... his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall. ..."
"... He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes. ..."
"... One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs. ..."
"... Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

H. I. on May 13, 2011

This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!

Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.

Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.

As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.

Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.

Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.

The truth shall set us free.

[Oct 03, 2017] Silicon Valley companies have placed lowering wages and flooding the labor market with cheaper labor near the top of their goals and as a business model.

Notable quotes:
"... That's Silicon Valley's dirty secret. Most tech workers in Palo Alto make about as much as the high school teachers who teach their kids. And these are the top coders in the country! ..."
"... I don't see why more Americans would want to be coders. These companies want to drive down wages for workers here and then also ship jobs offshore... ..."
"... Silicon Valley companies have placed lowering wages and flooding the labor market with cheaper labor near the top of their goals and as a business model. ..."
"... There are quite a few highly qualified American software engineers who lose their jobs to foreign engineers who will work for much lower salaries and benefits. This is a major ingredient of the libertarian virus that has engulfed and contaminating the Valley, going hand to hand with assembling products in China by slave labor ..."
"... If you want a high tech executive to suffer a stroke, mention the words "labor unions". ..."
"... India isn't being hired for the quality, they're being hired for cheap labor. ..."
"... Enough people have had their hands burnt by now with shit companies like TCS (Tata) that they are starting to look closer to home again... ..."
"... Globalisation is the reason, and trying to force wages up in one country simply moves the jobs elsewhere. The only way I can think of to limit this happening is to keep the company and coders working at the cutting edge of technology. ..."
"... I'd be much more impressed if I saw that the hordes of young male engineers here in SF expressing a semblance of basic common sense, basic self awareness and basic life skills. I'd say 91.3% are oblivious, idiotic children. ..."
"... Not maybe. Too late. American corporations objective is to low ball wages here in US. In India they spoon feed these pupils with affordable cutting edge IT training for next to nothing ruppees. These pupils then exaggerate their CVs and ship them out en mass to the western world to dominate the IT industry. I've seen it with my own eyes in action. Those in charge will anything/everything to maintain their grip on power. No brag. Just fact. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | profile.theguardian.com
Terryl Dorian , 21 Sep 2017 13:26
That's Silicon Valley's dirty secret. Most tech workers in Palo Alto make about as much as the high school teachers who teach their kids. And these are the top coders in the country!
Ray D Wright -> RogTheDodge , , 21 Sep 2017 14:52
I don't see why more Americans would want to be coders. These companies want to drive down wages for workers here and then also ship jobs offshore...
Richard Livingstone -> KatieL , , 21 Sep 2017 14:50
+++1 to all of that.

Automated coding just pushes the level of coding further up the development food chain, rather than gets rid of it. It is the wrong approach for current tech. AI that is smart enough to model new problems and create their own descriptive and runnable language - hopefully after my lifetime but coming sometime.

Arne Babenhauserheide -> Evelita , , 21 Sep 2017 14:48
What coding does not teach is how to improve our non-code infrastructure and how to keep it running (that's the stuff which actually moves things). Code can optimize stuff, but it needs actual actuators to affect reality.

Sometimes these actuators are actual people walking on top of a roof while fixing it.

WyntonK , 21 Sep 2017 14:47
Silicon Valley companies have placed lowering wages and flooding the labor market with cheaper labor near the top of their goals and as a business model.

There are quite a few highly qualified American software engineers who lose their jobs to foreign engineers who will work for much lower salaries and benefits. This is a major ingredient of the libertarian virus that has engulfed and contaminating the Valley, going hand to hand with assembling products in China by slave labor .

If you want a high tech executive to suffer a stroke, mention the words "labor unions".

TheEgg -> UncommonTruthiness , , 21 Sep 2017 14:43

The ship has sailed on this activity as a career.

Nope. Married to a highly-technical skillset, you can still make big bucks. I say this as someone involved in this kind of thing academically and our Masters grads have to beat the banks and fintech companies away with dog shits on sticks. You're right that you can teach anyone to potter around and throw up a webpage but at the prohibitively difficult maths-y end of the scale, someone suitably qualified will never want for a job.

Mike_Dexter -> Evelita , , 21 Sep 2017 14:43
In a similar vein, if you accept the argument that it does drive down wages, wouldn't the culprit actually be the multitudes of online and offline courses and tutorials available to an existing workforce?
Terryl Dorian -> CountDooku , , 21 Sep 2017 14:42
Funny you should pick medicine, law, engineering... 3 fields that are *not* taught in high school. The writer is simply adding "coding" to your list. So it seems you agree with his "garbage" argument after all.
anticapitalist -> RogTheDodge , , 21 Sep 2017 14:42
Key word is "good". Teaching everyone is just going to increase the pool of programmers code I need to fix. India isn't being hired for the quality, they're being hired for cheap labor. As for women sure I wouldn't mind more women around but why does no one say their needs to be more equality in garbage collection or plumbing? (And yes plumbers are a high paid professional).

In the end I don't care what the person is, I just want to hire and work with the best and not someone I have to correct their work because they were hired by quota. If women only graduate at 15% why should IT contain more than that? And let's be a bit honest with the facts, of those 15% how many spend their high school years staying up all night hacking? Very few. Now the few that did are some of the better developers I work with but that pool isn't going to increase by forcing every child to program... just like sports aren't better by making everyone take gym class.

WithoutPurpose , 21 Sep 2017 14:42
I ran a development team for 10 years and I never had any trouble hiring programmers - we just had to pay them enough. Every job would have at least 10 good applicants.

Two years ago I decided to scale back a bit and go into programming (I can code real-time low latency financial apps in 4 languages) and I had four interviews in six months with stupidly low salaries. I'm lucky in that I can bounce between tech and the business side so I got a decent job out of tech.

My entirely anecdotal conclusion is that there is no shortage of good programmers just a shortage of companies willing to pay them.

oddbubble -> Tori Turner , , 21 Sep 2017 14:41
I've worn many hats so far, I started out as a started out as a sysadmin, then I moved on to web development, then back end and now I'm doing test automation because I am on almost the same money for half the effort.
peter nelson -> raffine , , 21 Sep 2017 14:38
But the concepts won't. Good programming requires the ability to break down a task, organise the steps in performing it, identify parts of the process that are common or repetitive so they can be bundled together, handed-off or delegated, etc.

These concepts can be applied to any programming language, and indeed to many non-software activities.

Oliver Jones -> Trumbledon , , 21 Sep 2017 14:37
In the city maybe with a financial background, the exception.
anticapitalist -> Ethan Hawkins , 21 Sep 2017 14:32
Well to his point sort of... either everything will go php or all those entry level php developers will be on the street. A good Java or C developer is hard to come by. And to the others, being a being a developer, especially a good one, is nothing like reading and writing. The industry is already saturated with poor coders just doing it for a paycheck.
peter nelson -> Tori Turner , 21 Sep 2017 14:31
I'm just going to say this once: not everyone with a computer science degree is a coder.

And vice versa. I'm retiring from a 40-year career as a software engineer. Some of the best software engineers I ever met did not have CS degrees.

KatieL -> Mishal Almohaimeed , 21 Sep 2017 14:30
"already developing automated coding scripts. "

Pretty much the entire history of the software industry since FORAST was developed for the ORDVAC has been about desperately trying to make software development in some way possible without driving everyone bonkers.

The gulf between FORAST and today's IDE-written, type-inferring high level languages, compilers, abstracted run-time environments, hypervisors, multi-computer architectures and general tech-world flavour-of-2017-ness is truly immense[1].

And yet software is still fucking hard to write. There's no sign it's getting easier despite all that work.

Automated coding was promised as the solution in the 1980s as well. In fact, somewhere in my archives, I've got paper journals which include adverts for automated systems that would programmers completely redundant by writing all your database code for you. These days, we'd think of those tools as automated ORM generators and they don't fix the problem; they just make a new one -- ORM impedance mismatch -- which needs more engineering on top to fix...

The tools don't change the need for the humans, they just change what's possible for the humans to do.

[1] FORAST executed in about 20,000 bytes of memory without even an OS. The compile artifacts for the map-reduce system I built today are an astonishing hundred million bytes... and don't include the necessary mapreduce environment, management interface, node operating system and distributed filesystem...

raffine , 21 Sep 2017 14:29
Whatever they are taught today will be obsolete tomorrow.
yannick95 -> savingUK , , 21 Sep 2017 14:27
"There are already top quality coders in China and India"

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *rolls on the floor laughting* Yes........ 1%... and 99% of incredibly bad, incompetent, untalented one that produce cost 50% of a good developer but produce only 5% in comparison. And I'm talking with a LOT of practical experience through more than a dozen corporations all over the world which have been outsourcing to India... all have been disasters for the companies (but good for the execs who pocketed big bonuses and left the company before the disaster blows up in their face)

Wiretrip -> mcharts , , 21 Sep 2017 14:25
Enough people have had their hands burnt by now with shit companies like TCS (Tata) that they are starting to look closer to home again...
TomRoche , 21 Sep 2017 14:11

Tech executives have pursued [the goal of suppressing workers' compensation] in a variety of ways. One is collusion – companies conspiring to prevent their employees from earning more by switching jobs. The prevalence of this practice in Silicon Valley triggered a justice department antitrust complaint in 2010, along with a class action suit that culminated in a $415m settlement.

Folks interested in the story of the Techtopus (less drily presented than in the links in this article) should check out Mark Ames' reporting, esp this overview article and this focus on the egregious Steve Jobs (whose canonization by the US corporate-funded media is just one more impeachment of their moral bankruptcy).

Another, more sophisticated method is importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program. These workers earn less than their American counterparts, and possess little bargaining power because they must remain employed to keep their status.

Folks interested in H-1B and US technical visas more generally should head to Norm Matloff 's summary page , and then to his blog on the subject .

Olympus68 , 21 Sep 2017 13:49

I have watched as schools run by trade unions have done the opposite for the 5 decades. By limiting the number of graduates, they were able to help maintain living wages and benefits. This has been stopped in my area due to the pressure of owners run "trade associations".

During that same time period I have witnessed trade associations controlled by company owners, while publicising their support of the average employee, invest enormous amounts of membership fees in creating alliances with public institutions. Their goal has been that of flooding the labor market and thus keeping wages low. A double hit for the average worker because membership fees were paid by employees as well as those in control.

And so it goes....

savingUK , 21 Sep 2017 13:38
Coding jobs are just as susceptible to being moved to lower cost areas of the world as hardware jobs already have. It's already happening. There are already top quality coders in China and India. There is a much larger pool to chose from and they are just as good as their western counterparts and work harder for much less money.

Globalisation is the reason, and trying to force wages up in one country simply moves the jobs elsewhere. The only way I can think of to limit this happening is to keep the company and coders working at the cutting edge of technology.

whitehawk66 , 21 Sep 2017 15:18

I'd be much more impressed if I saw that the hordes of young male engineers here in SF expressing a semblance of basic common sense, basic self awareness and basic life skills. I'd say 91.3% are oblivious, idiotic children.

They would definitely not survive the zombie apocalypse.

P.S. not every kid wants or needs to have their soul sucked out of them sitting in front of a screen full of code for some idiotic service that some other douchbro thinks is the next iteration of sliced bread.

UncommonTruthiness , 21 Sep 2017 14:10
The demonization of Silicon Valley is clearly the next place to put all blame. Look what "they" did to us: computers, smart phones, HD television, world-wide internet, on and on. Get a rope!

I moved there in 1978 and watched the orchards and trailer parks on North 1st St. of San Jose transform into a concrete jungle. There used to be quite a bit of semiconductor equipment and device manufacturing in SV during the 80s and 90s. Now quite a few buildings have the same name : AVAILABLE. Most equipment and device manufacturing has moved to Asia.

Programming started with binary, then machine code (hexadecimal or octal) and moved to assembler as a compiled and linked structure. More compiled languages like FORTRAN, BASIC, PL-1, COBOL, PASCAL, C (and all its "+'s") followed making programming easier for the less talented. Now the script based languages (HTML, JAVA, etc.) are even higher level and accessible to nearly all. Programming has become a commodity and will be priced like milk, wheat, corn, non-unionized workers and the like. The ship has sailed on this activity as a career.

William Fitch III , 21 Sep 2017 13:52
Hi: As I have said many times before, there is no shortage of people who fully understand the problem and can see all the connections.

However, they all fall on their faces when it comes to the solution. To cut to the chase, Concentrated Wealth needs to go, permanently. Of course the challenge is how to best accomplish this.....

.....Bill

MostlyHarmlessD , , 21 Sep 2017 13:16

Damn engineers and their black and white world view, if they weren't so inept they would've unionized instead of being trampled again and again in the name of capitalism.
mcharts -> Aldous0rwell , , 21 Sep 2017 13:07
Not maybe. Too late. American corporations objective is to low ball wages here in US. In India they spoon feed these pupils with affordable cutting edge IT training for next to nothing ruppees. These pupils then exaggerate their CVs and ship them out en mass to the western world to dominate the IT industry. I've seen it with my own eyes in action. Those in charge will anything/everything to maintain their grip on power. No brag. Just fact.

Woe to our children and grandchildren.

Where's Bernie Sanders when we need him.

[Oct 03, 2017] The dream of coding automation remain illusive... Very illusive...

Oct 03, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Livingstone -> Mishal Almohaimeed , 21 Sep 2017 14:46

Wrong again, that approach has been tried since the 80s and will keep failing only because software development is still more akin to a technical craft than an engineering discipline. The number of elements required to assemble a working non trivial system is way beyond scriptable.
freeandfair -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 14:26
> That's some crystal ball you have there. English teachers will need to know how to code? Same with plumbers? Same with janitors, CEOs, and anyone working in the service industry?

You don't believe there will be robots to do plumbing and cleaning? The cleaner's job will be to program robots to do what they need.
CEOs? Absolutely.

English teachers? Both of my kids have school laptops and everything is being done on the computers. The teachers use software and create websites and what not. Yes, even English teachers.

Not knowing / understanding how to code will be the same as not knowing how to use Word/ Excel. I am assuming there are people who don't, but I don't know any above the age of 6.

Wiretrip -> Mishal Almohaimeed , 21 Sep 2017 14:20
We've had 'automated coding scripts' for years for small tasks. However, anyone who says they're going to obviate programmers, analysts and designers doesn't understand the software development process.
Ethan Hawkins -> David McCaul , 21 Sep 2017 13:22
Even if expert systems (an 80's concept, BTW) could code, we'd still have a huge need for managers. The hard part of software isn't even the coding. It's determining the requirements and working with clients. It will require general intelligence to do 90% of what we do right now. The 10% we could automate right now, mostly gets in the way. I agree it will change, but it's going to take another 20-30 years to really happen.
Mishal Almohaimeed -> PolydentateBrigand , , 21 Sep 2017 13:17
wrong, software companies are already developing automated coding scripts. You'll get a bunch of door to door knives salespeople once the dust settles that's what you'll get.
freeandfair -> rgilyead , , 21 Sep 2017 14:22
> In 20 years time AI will be doing the coding

Possible, but your still have to understand how AI operates and what it can and cannot do.

[Oct 03, 2017] Coding and carpentry are not so distant, are they ?

Thw user "imipak" views are pretty common misconceptions. They are all wrong.
Notable quotes:
"... I was about to take offence on behalf of programmers, but then I realized that would be snobbish and insulting to carpenters too. Many people can code, but only a few can code well, and fewer still become the masters of the profession. Many people can learn carpentry, but few become joiners, and fewer still become cabinetmakers. ..."
"... Many people can write, but few become journalists, and fewer still become real authors. ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

imipak, 21 Sep 2017 15:13

Coding has little or nothing to do with Silicon Valley. They may or may not have ulterior motives, but ultimately they are nothing in the scheme of things.

I disagree with teaching coding as a discrete subject. I think it should be combined with home economics and woodworking because 90% of these subjects consist of transferable skills that exist in all of them. Only a tiny residual is actually topic-specific.

In the case of coding, the residual consists of drawing skills and typing skills. Programming language skills? Irrelevant. You should choose the tools to fit the problem. Neither of these needs a computer. You should only ever approach the computer at the very end, after you've designed and written the program.

Is cooking so very different? Do you decide on the ingredients before or after you start? Do you go shopping half-way through cooking an omelette?

With woodwork, do you measure first or cut first? Do you have a plan or do you randomly assemble bits until it does something useful?

Real coding, taught correctly, is barely taught at all. You teach the transferable skills. ONCE. You then apply those skills in each area in which they apply.

What other transferable skills apply? Top-down design, bottom-up implementation. The correct methodology in all forms of engineering. Proper testing strategies, also common across all forms of engineering. However, since these tests are against logic, they're a test of reasoning. A good thing to have in the sciences and philosophy.

Technical writing is the art of explaining things to idiots. Whether you're designing a board game, explaining what you like about a house, writing a travelogue or just seeing if your wild ideas hold water, you need to be able to put those ideas down on paper in a way that exposes all the inconsistencies and errors. It doesn't take much to clean it up to be readable by humans. But once it is cleaned up, it'll remain free of errors.

So I would teach a foundation course that teaches top-down reasoning, bottom-up design, flowcharts, critical path analysis and symbolic logic. Probably aimed at age 7. But I'd not do so wholly in the abstract. I'd have it thoroughly mixed in with one field, probably cooking as most kids do that and it lacks stigma at that age.

I'd then build courses on various crafts and engineering subjects on top of that, building further hierarchies where possible. Eliminate duplication and severely reduce the fictions we call disciplines.

oldzealand, 21 Sep 2017 14:58
I used to employ 200 computer scientists in my business and now teach children so I'm apparently as guilty as hell. To be compared with a carpenter is, however, a true compliment, if you mean those that create elegant, aesthetically-pleasing, functional, adaptable and long-lasting bespoke furniture, because our crafts of problem-solving using limited resources in confined environments to create working, life-improving artifacts both exemplify great human ingenuity in action. Capitalism or no.
peter nelson, 21 Sep 2017 14:29
"But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry."

But some people do it much better than others. Just like journalism. This article is complete nonsense, as I discuss in another comment. The author might want to consider a career in carpentry.

Fanastril, 21 Sep 2017 14:13
"But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry."

It is a way of thinking. Perhaps carpentry is too, but the arrogance of the above statement shows a soul who is done thinking.

NDReader, 21 Sep 2017 14:12
"But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry."

I was about to take offence on behalf of programmers, but then I realized that would be snobbish and insulting to carpenters too. Many people can code, but only a few can code well, and fewer still become the masters of the profession. Many people can learn carpentry, but few become joiners, and fewer still become cabinetmakers.

Many people can write, but few become journalists, and fewer still become real authors.

MostlyHarmlessD, 21 Sep 2017 13:08
A carpenter!? Good to know that engineers are still thought of as jumped up tradesmen.

[Oct 02, 2017] Programming vs coding

This idiotic US term "coder" is complete baloney.
Notable quotes:
"... You can learn to code, but that doesn't mean you'll be good at it. There will be a few who excel but most will not. This isn't a reflection on them but rather the reality of the situation. In any given area some will do poorly, more will do fairly, and a few will excel. The same applies in any field. ..."
"... Oh no, there's loads of people who say they're coders, who have on their CV that they're coders, that have been paid to be coders. Loads of them. Amazingly, about 9 out of 10 of them, experienced coders all, spent ages doing it, not a problem to do it, definitely a coder, not a problem being "hands on"... can't actually write working code when we actually ask them to. ..."
"... I feel for your brother, and I've experienced the exact same BS "test" that you're describing. However, when I said "rudimentary coding exam", I wasn't talking about classic fiz-buz questions, Fibonacci problems, whiteboard tests, or anything of the sort. We simply ask people to write a small amount of code that will solve a simple real world problem. Something that they would be asked to do if they got hired. We let them take a long time to do it. We let them use Google to look things up if they need. You would be shocked how many "qualified applicants" can't do it. ..."
"... "...coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. " I think that is a severe underestimation of the level of expertise required to conceptualise and deliver robust and maintainable code. The complexity of integrating software is more equivalent to constructing an entire building with components of different materials. If you think teaching coding is enough to enable software design and delivery then good luck. ..."
"... Being able to write code and being able to program are two very different skills. In language terms its the difference between being able to read and write (say) English and being able to write literature; obviously you need a grasp of the language to write literature but just knowing the language is not the same as being able to assemble and marshal thought into a coherent pattern prior to setting it down. ..."
"... What a dumpster argument. I am not a programmer or even close, but a basic understanding of coding has been important to my professional life. Coding isn't just about writing software. Understanding how algorithms work, even simple ones, is a general skill on par with algebra. ..."
"... Never mind that a good education is clearly one of the most important things you can do for a person to improve their quality of life wherever they live in the world. It's "neoliberal," so we better hate it. ..."
"... A lot of resumes come across my desk that look qualified on paper, but that's not the same thing as being able to do the job. Secondarily, while I agree that one day our field might be replaced by automation, there's a level of creativity involved with good software engineering that makes your carpenter comparison a bit flawed. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | profile.theguardian.com
Wiretrip -> Mark Mauvais , 21 Sep 2017 14:23
Yes, 'engineers' (and particularly mathematicians) write appalling code.
Trumbledon , 21 Sep 2017 14:23
A good developer can easily earn £600-800 per day, which suggests to me that they are in high demand, and society needs more of them.
Wiretrip -> KatieL , 21 Sep 2017 14:22
Agreed, to many people 'coding' consists of copying other people's JavaScript snippets from StackOverflow... I tire of the many frauds in the business...
stratplaya , 21 Sep 2017 14:21
You can learn to code, but that doesn't mean you'll be good at it. There will be a few who excel but most will not. This isn't a reflection on them but rather the reality of the situation. In any given area some will do poorly, more will do fairly, and a few will excel. The same applies in any field.
peter nelson -> UncommonTruthiness , 21 Sep 2017 14:21

The ship has sailed on this activity as a career.

Oh, rubbish. I'm in the process of retiring from my job as an Android software designer so I'm tasked with hiring a replacement for my organisation. It pays extremely well, the work is interesting, and the company is successful and serves an important worldwide industry.

Still, finding highly-qualified people is hard and they get snatched up in mid-interview because the demand is high. Not only that but at these pay scales, we can pretty much expect the Guardian will do yet another article about the unconscionable gap between what rich, privileged techies like software engineers make and everyone else.

Really, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. If tech workers are well-paid we're castigated for gentrifying neighbourhoods and living large, and yet anything that threatens to lower what we're paid produces conspiracy-theory articles like this one.

Fanastril -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 14:17
I learned to cook in school. Was there a shortage of cooks? No. Did I become a professional cook? No. but I sure as hell would not have missed the skills I learned for the world, and I use them every day.
KatieL -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 14:13
Oh no, there's loads of people who say they're coders, who have on their CV that they're coders, that have been paid to be coders. Loads of them. Amazingly, about 9 out of 10 of them, experienced coders all, spent ages doing it, not a problem to do it, definitely a coder, not a problem being "hands on"... can't actually write working code when we actually ask them to.
youngsteveo -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 14:12
I feel for your brother, and I've experienced the exact same BS "test" that you're describing. However, when I said "rudimentary coding exam", I wasn't talking about classic fiz-buz questions, Fibonacci problems, whiteboard tests, or anything of the sort. We simply ask people to write a small amount of code that will solve a simple real world problem. Something that they would be asked to do if they got hired. We let them take a long time to do it. We let them use Google to look things up if they need. You would be shocked how many "qualified applicants" can't do it.
Fanastril -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 14:11
It is not zero-sum: If you teach something empowering, like programming, motivating is a lot easier, and they will learn more.
UncommonTruthiness , 21 Sep 2017 14:10
The demonization of Silicon Valley is clearly the next place to put all blame. Look what "they" did to us: computers, smart phones, HD television, world-wide internet, on and on. Get a rope!

I moved there in 1978 and watched the orchards and trailer parks on North 1st St. of San Jose transform into a concrete jungle. There used to be quite a bit of semiconductor equipment and device manufacturing in SV during the 80s and 90s. Now quite a few buildings have the same name : AVAILABLE. Most equipment and device manufacturing has moved to Asia.

Programming started with binary, then machine code (hexadecimal or octal) and moved to assembler as a compiled and linked structure. More compiled languages like FORTRAN, BASIC, PL-1, COBOL, PASCAL, C (and all its "+'s") followed making programming easier for the less talented.

Now the script based languages (HTML, JAVA, etc.) are even higher level and accessible to nearly all. Programming has become a commodity and will be priced like milk, wheat, corn, non-unionized workers and the like. The ship has sailed on this activity as a career.

KatieL -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 14:10
"intelligence, creativity, diligence, communication ability, or anything else that a job"

None of those are any use if, when asked to turn your intelligent, creative, diligent, communicated idea into some software, you perform as well as most candidates do at simple coding assessments... and write stuff that doesn't work.

peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 14:09

At its root, the campaign for code education isn't about giving the next generation a shot at earning the salary of a Facebook engineer. It's about ensuring those salaries no longer exist, by creating a source of cheap labor for the tech industry.

Of course the writer does not offer the slightest shred of evidence to support the idea that this is the actual goal of these programs. So it appears that the tinfoil-hat conspiracy brigade on the Guardian is operating not only below the line, but above it, too.

The fact is that few of these students will ever become software engineers (which, incidentally, is my profession) but programming skills are essential in many professions for writing little scripts to automate various tasks, or to just understand 21st century technology.

kcrane , 21 Sep 2017 14:07
Sadly this is another article by a partial journalist who knows nothing about the software industry, but hopes to subvert what he had read somewhere to support a position he had already assumed. As others had said, understanding coding had already become akin to being able to use a pencil. It is a basic requirement of many higher level roles.

But knowing which end of a pencil to put on the paper (the equivalent of the level of coding taught in schools) isn't the same as being an artist. Moreover anyone who knows the field recognises that top coders are gifted, they embody genius. There are coding Caravaggio's out there, but few have the experience to know that. No amount of teaching will produce high level coders from average humans, there is an intangible something needed, as there is in music and art, to elevate the merely good to genius.

All to say, however many are taught the basics, it won't push down the value of the most talented coders, and so won't reduce the costs of the technology industry in any meaningful way as it is an industry, like art, that relies on the few not the many.

DebuggingLife , 21 Sep 2017 14:06
Not all of those children will want to become programmers but at least the barrier to entry, - for more to at least experience it - will be lower.

Teaching music to only the children whose parents can afford music tuition means than society misses out on a greater potential for some incredible gifted musicians to shine through.

Moreover, learning to code really means learning how to wrangle with the practical application of abstract concepts, algorithms, numerical skills, logic, reasoning, etc. which are all transferrable skills some of which are not in the scope of other classes, certainly practically.
Like music, sport, literature etc. programming a computer, a website, a device, a smartphone is an endeavour that can be truly rewarding as merely a pastime, and similarly is limited only by ones imagination.

rgilyead , 21 Sep 2017 14:01
"...coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. " I think that is a severe underestimation of the level of expertise required to conceptualise and deliver robust and maintainable code. The complexity of integrating software is more equivalent to constructing an entire building with components of different materials. If you think teaching coding is enough to enable software design and delivery then good luck.
Taylor Dotson -> cwblackwell , 21 Sep 2017 14:00
Yeah, but mania over coding skills inevitably pushes over skills out of the curriculum (or deemphasizes it). Education is zero-sum in that there's only so much time and energy to devote to it. Hence, you need more than vague appeals to "enhancement," especially given the risks pointed out by the author.
Taylor Dotson -> PolydentateBrigand , 21 Sep 2017 13:57
"Talented coders will start new tech businesses and create more jobs."

That could be argued for any skill set, including those found in the humanities and social sciences likely to pushed out by the mania over coding ability. Education is zero-sum: Time spent on one subject is time that invariably can't be spent learning something else.

Taylor Dotson -> WumpieJr , 21 Sep 2017 13:49
"If they can't literally fix everything let's just get rid of them, right?"

That's a strawman. His point is rooted in the recognition that we only have so much time, energy, and money to invest in solutions. One's that feel good but may not do anything distract us for the deeper structural issues in our economy. The probably with thinking "education" will fix everything is that it leaves the status quo unquestioned.

martinusher , 21 Sep 2017 13:31
Being able to write code and being able to program are two very different skills. In language terms its the difference between being able to read and write (say) English and being able to write literature; obviously you need a grasp of the language to write literature but just knowing the language is not the same as being able to assemble and marshal thought into a coherent pattern prior to setting it down.

To confuse things further there's various levels of skill that all look the same to the untutored eye. Suppose you wished to bridge a waterway. If that waterway was a narrow ditch then you could just throw a plank across. As the distance to be spanned got larger and larger eventually you'd have to abandon intuition for engineering and experience. Exactly the same issues happen with software but they're less tangible; anyone can build a small program but a complex system requires a lot of other knowledge (in my field, that's engineering knowledge -- coding is almost an afterthought).

Its a good idea to teach young people to code but I wouldn't raise their expectations of huge salaries too much. For children educating them in wider, more general, fields and abstract activities such as music will pay off huge dividends, far more than just teaching them whatever the fashionable language du jour is. (...which should be Logo but its too subtle and abstract, it doesn't look "real world" enough!).

freeandfair , 21 Sep 2017 13:30
I don't see this is an issue. Sure, there could be ulterior motives there, but anyone who wants to still be employed in 20 years has to know how to code . It is not that everyone will be a coder, but their jobs will either include part-time coding or will require understanding of software and what it can and cannot do. AI is going to be everywhere.
WumpieJr , 21 Sep 2017 13:23
What a dumpster argument. I am not a programmer or even close, but a basic understanding of coding has been important to my professional life. Coding isn't just about writing software. Understanding how algorithms work, even simple ones, is a general skill on par with algebra.

But is isn't just about coding for Tarnoff. He seems to hold education in contempt generally. "The far-fetched premise of neoliberal school reform is that education can mend our disintegrating social fabric." If they can't literally fix everything let's just get rid of them, right?

Never mind that a good education is clearly one of the most important things you can do for a person to improve their quality of life wherever they live in the world. It's "neoliberal," so we better hate it.

youngsteveo , 21 Sep 2017 13:16
I'm not going to argue that the goal of mass education isn't to drive down wages, but the idea that the skills gap is a myth doesn't hold water in my experience. I'm a software engineer and manager at a company that pays well over the national average, with great benefits, and it is downright difficult to find a qualified applicant who can pass a rudimentary coding exam.

A lot of resumes come across my desk that look qualified on paper, but that's not the same thing as being able to do the job. Secondarily, while I agree that one day our field might be replaced by automation, there's a level of creativity involved with good software engineering that makes your carpenter comparison a bit flawed.

[Oct 02, 2017] Does programming provides a new path to the middle class? Probably no longer, unless you are really talanted. In the latter case it is not that different from any other fields, but the pressure from H1B makes is harder for programmers. The neoliberal USA have a real problem with the social mobility

Notable quotes:
"... I do think it's peculiar that Silicon Valley requires so many H1B visas... 'we can't find the talent here' is the main excuse ..."
"... This is interesting. Indeed, I do think there is excess supply of software programmers. ..."
"... Well, it is either that or the kids themselves who have to pay for it and they are even less prepared to do so. Ideally, college education should be tax payer paid but this is not the case in the US. And the employer ideally should pay for the job related training, but again, it is not the case in the US. ..."
"... Plenty of people care about the arts but people can't survive on what the arts pay. That was pretty much the case all through human history. ..."
"... I was laid off at your age in the depths of the recent recession and I got a job. ..."
"... The great thing about software , as opposed to many other jobs, is that it can be done at home which you're laid off. Write mobile (IOS or Android) apps or work on open source projects and get stuff up on github. I've been to many job interviews with my apps loaded on mobile devices so I could show them what I've done. ..."
"... Schools really can't win. Don't teach coding, and you're raising a generation of button-pushers. Teach it, and you're pandering to employers looking for cheap labour. Unions in London objected to children being taught carpentry in the twenties and thirties, so it had to be renamed "manual instruction" to get round it. Denying children useful skills is indefensible. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com
swelle , 21 Sep 2017 17:36
I do think it's peculiar that Silicon Valley requires so many H1B visas... 'we can't find the talent here' is the main excuse, though many 'older' (read: over 40) native-born tech workers will tell your that's plenty of talent here already, but even with the immigration hassles, H1B workers will be cheaper overall...

Julian Williams , 21 Sep 2017 18:06

This is interesting. Indeed, I do think there is excess supply of software programmers. There is only a modest number of decent jobs, say as an algorithms developer in finance, general architecture of complex systems or to some extent in systems security. However, these jobs are usually occupied and the incumbents are not likely to move on quickly. Road blocks are also put up by creating sub networks of engineers who ensure that some knowledge is not ubiquitous.

Most very high paying jobs in the technology sector are in the same standard upper management roles as in every other industry.

Still, the ability to write a computer program in an enabler, knowing how it works means you have an ability to imagine something and make it real. To me it is a bit like language, some people can use language to make more money than others, but it is still important to be able to have a basic level of understanding.

FabBlondie -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 17:42
And yet I know a lot of people that has happened to. Better to replace a $125K a year programmer with one who will do the same, or even less, job for $50K.

JMColwill , 21 Sep 2017 18:17

This could backfire if the programmers don't find the work or pay to match their expectations... Programmers, after all tend to make very good hackers if their minds are turned to it.

freeandfair -> FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 18:23

> While I like your idea of what designing a computer program involves, in my nearly 40 years experience as a programmer I have rarely seen this done.

Well, I am a software architect and what he says sounds correct for a certain type of applications. Maybe you do a different type of programming.

peter nelson -> FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 18:23

While I like your idea of what designing a computer program involves, in my nearly 40 years experience as a programmer I have rarely seen this done.

How else can you do it?

Java is popular because it's a very versatile language - On this list it's the most popular general-purpose programming language. (Above it javascript is just a scripting language and HTML/CSS aren't even programming languages) https://fossbytes.com/most-used-popular-programming-languages/ ... and below it you have to go down to C# at 20% to come to another general-purpose language, and even that's a Microsoft house language.

Also the "correct" choice of programming languages is also based on how many people in the shop know it so they maintain code that's written in it by someone else.

freeandfair -> FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 18:22
> job-specific training is completely different. What a joke to persuade public school districts to pick up the tab on job training.

Well, it is either that or the kids themselves who have to pay for it and they are even less prepared to do so. Ideally, college education should be tax payer paid but this is not the case in the US. And the employer ideally should pay for the job related training, but again, it is not the case in the US.

freeandfair -> mlzarathustra , 21 Sep 2017 18:20
> The bigger problem is that nobody cares about the arts, and as expensive as education is, nobody wants to carry around a debt on a skill that won't bring in the buck

Plenty of people care about the arts but people can't survive on what the arts pay. That was pretty much the case all through human history.

theindyisbetter -> Game Cabbage , 21 Sep 2017 18:18
No. The amount of work is not a fixed sum. That's the lump of labour fallacy. We are not tied to the land.
ConBrio , 21 Sep 2017 18:10
Since newspaper are consolidating and cutting jobs gotta clamp down on colleges offering BA degrees, particularly in English Literature and journalism.

And then... and...then...and...

LMichelle -> chillisauce , 21 Sep 2017 18:03
This article focuses on the US schools, but I can imagine it's the same in the UK. I don't think these courses are going to be about creating great programmers capable of new innovations as much as having a work force that can be their own IT Help Desk.

They'll learn just enough in these classes to do that.

Then most companies will be hiring for other jobs, but want to make sure you have the IT skills to serve as your own "help desk" (although they will get no salary for their IT work).

edmundberk -> FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 17:57
I find that quite remarkable - 40 years ago you must have been using assembler and with hardly any memory to work with. If you blitzed through that without applying the thought processes described, well...I'm surprised.
James Dey , 21 Sep 2017 17:55
Funny. Every day in the Brexit articles, I read that increasing the supply of workers has negligible effect on wages.
peter nelson -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 17:54
I was laid off at your age in the depths of the recent recession and I got a job. As I said in another posting, it usually comes down to fresh skills and good personal references who will vouch for your work-habits and how well you get on with other members of your team.

The great thing about software , as opposed to many other jobs, is that it can be done at home which you're laid off. Write mobile (IOS or Android) apps or work on open source projects and get stuff up on github. I've been to many job interviews with my apps loaded on mobile devices so I could show them what I've done.

Game Cabbage -> theindyisbetter , 21 Sep 2017 17:52
The situation has a direct comparison to today. It has nothing to do with land. There was a certain amount of profit making work and not enough labour to satisfy demand. There is currently a certain amount of profit making work and in many situations (especially unskilled low paid work) too much labour.
edmundberk , 21 Sep 2017 17:52
So, is teaching people English or arithmetic all about reducing wages for the literate and numerate?

Or is this the most obtuse argument yet for avoiding what everyone in tech knows - even more blatantly than in many other industries, wages are curtailed by offshoring; and in the US, by having offshoring centres on US soil.

chillisauce , 21 Sep 2017 17:48
Well, speaking as someone who spends a lot of time trying to find really good programmers... frankly there aren't that many about. We take most of ours from Eastern Europe and SE Asia, which is quite expensive, given the relocation costs to the UK. But worth it.

So, yes, if more British kids learnt about coding, it might help a bit. But not much; the real problem is that few kids want to study IT in the first place, and that the tuition standards in most UK universities are quite low, even if they get there.

Baobab73 , 21 Sep 2017 17:48
True......
peter nelson -> rebel7 , 21 Sep 2017 17:47
There was recently an programme/podcast on ABC/RN about the HUGE shortage in Australia of techies with specialized security skills.
peter nelson -> jigen , 21 Sep 2017 17:46
Robots, or AI, are already making us more productive. I can write programs today in an afternoon that would have taken me a week a decade or two ago.

I can create a class and the IDE will take care of all the accessors, dependencies, enforce our style-guide compliance, stub-in the documentation ,even most test cases, etc, and all I have to write is very-specific stuff required by my application - the other 90% is generated for me. Same with UI/UX - stubs in relevant event handlers, bindings, dependencies, etc.

Programmers are a zillion times more productive than in the past, yet the demand keeps growing because so much more stuff in our lives has processors and code. Your car has dozens of processors running lots of software; your TV, your home appliances, your watch, etc.

Quaestor , 21 Sep 2017 17:43

Schools really can't win. Don't teach coding, and you're raising a generation of button-pushers. Teach it, and you're pandering to employers looking for cheap labour. Unions in London objected to children being taught carpentry in the twenties and thirties, so it had to be renamed "manual instruction" to get round it. Denying children useful skills is indefensible.

jamesupton , 21 Sep 2017 17:42
Getting children to learn how to write code, as part of core education, will be the first step to the long overdue revolution. The rest of us will still have to stick to burning buildings down and stringing up the aristocracy.
cjenk415 -> LMichelle , 21 Sep 2017 17:40
did you misread? it seemed like he was emphasizing that learning to code, like learning art (and sports and languages), will help them develop skills that benefit them in whatever profession they choose.
FabBlondie -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 17:40
While I like your idea of what designing a computer program involves, in my nearly 40 years experience as a programmer I have rarely seen this done. And, FWIW, IMHO choosing the tool (programming language) might reasonably be expected to follow designing a solution, in practice this rarely happens. No, these days it's Java all the way, from day one.
theindyisbetter -> Game Cabbage , 21 Sep 2017 17:40
There was a fixed supply of land and a reduced supply of labour to work the land.

Nothing like then situation in a modern economy.

LMichelle , 21 Sep 2017 17:39
I'd advise parents that the classes they need to make sure their kids excel in are acting/drama. There is no better way to getting that promotion or increasing your pay like being a skilled actor in the job market. It's a fake it till you make it deal.
theindyisbetter , 21 Sep 2017 17:36
What a ludicrous argument.

Let's not teach maths or science or literacy either - then anyone with those skills will earn more.

SheriffFatman -> Game Cabbage , 21 Sep 2017 17:36

After the Black Death in the middle ages there was a huge under supply of labour. It produced a consistent rise in wages and conditions

It also produced wage-control legislation (which admittedly failed to work).

peter nelson -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 17:32
if there were truly a shortage i wouldn't be unemployed

I've heard that before but when I've dug deeper I've usually found someone who either let their skills go stale, or who had some work issues.

LMichelle -> loveyy , 21 Sep 2017 17:26
Really? You think they are going to emphasize things like the importance of privacy and consumer rights?
loveyy , 21 Sep 2017 17:25
This really has to be one of the silliest articles I read here in a very long time.
People, let your children learn to code. Even more, educate yourselves and start to code just for the fun of it - look at it like a game.
The more people know how to code the less likely they are to understand how stuff works. If you were ever frustrated by how impossible it seems to shop on certain websites, learn to code and you will be frustrated no more. You will understand the intent behind the process.
Even more, you will understand the inherent limitations and what is the meaning of safety. You will be able to better protect yourself in a real time connected world.

Learning to code won't turn your kid into a programmer, just like ballet or piano classes won't mean they'll ever choose art as their livelihood. So let the children learn to code and learn along with them

Game Cabbage , 21 Sep 2017 17:24
Tipping power to employers in any profession by oversupply of labour is not a good thing. Bit of a macabre example here but...After the Black Death in the middle ages there was a huge under supply of labour. It produced a consistent rise in wages and conditions and economic development for hundreds of years after this. Not suggesting a massive depopulation. But you can achieve the same effects by altering the power balance. With decades of Neoliberalism, the employers side of the power see-saw is sitting firmly in the mud and is producing very undesired results for the vast majority of people.
Zuffle -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 17:23
Perhaps you're just not very good. I've been a developer for 20 years and I've never had more than 1 week of unemployment.
Kevin P Brown -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 17:20
" at 55 finding it impossible to get a job"

I am 59, and it is not just the age aspect it is the money aspect. They know you have experience and expectations, and yet they believe hiring someone half the age and half the price, times 2 will replace your knowledge. I have been contracting in IT for 30 years, and now it is obvious it is over. Experience at some point no longer mitigates age. I think I am at that point now.

TheLane82 , 21 Sep 2017 17:20
Completely true! What needs to happen instead is to teach the real valuable subjects.

Gender studies. Islamic studies. Black studies. All important issues that need to be addressed.

peter nelson -> mlzarathustra , 21 Sep 2017 17:06
Dear, dear, I know, I know, young people today . . . just not as good as we were. Everything is just going down the loo . . . Just have a nice cuppa camomile (or chamomile if you're a Yank) and try to relax ... " hey you kids, get offa my lawn !"
FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 17:06
There are good reasons to teach coding. Too many of today's computer users are amazingly unaware of the technology that allows them to send and receive emails, use their smart phones, and use websites. Few understand the basic issues involved in computer security, especially as it relates to their personal privacy. Hopefully some introductory computer classes could begin to remedy this, and the younger the students the better.

Security problems are not strictly a matter of coding.

Security issues persist in tech. Clearly that is not a function of the size of the workforce. I propose that it is a function of poor management and design skills. These are not taught in any programming class I ever took. I learned these on the job and in an MBA program, and because I was determined.

Don't confuse basic workforce training with an effective application of tech to authentic needs.

How can the "disruption" so prized in today's Big Tech do anything but aggravate our social problems? Tech's disruption begins with a blatant ignorance of and disregard for causes, and believes to its bones that a high tech app will truly solve a problem it cannot even describe.

Kool Aid anyone?

peterainbow -> brady , 21 Sep 2017 17:05
indeed that idea has been around as long as cobol and in practice has just made things worse, the fact that many people outside of software engineering don;t seem to realise is that the coding itself is a relatively small part of the job
FabBlondie -> imipak , 21 Sep 2017 17:04
Hurrah.
peterainbow -> rebel7 , 21 Sep 2017 17:04
so how many female and old software engineers are there who are unable to get a job, i'm one of them at 55 finding it impossible to get a job and unlike many 'developers' i know what i'm doing
peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 17:02
meanwhile the age and sex discrimination in IT goes on, if there were truly a shortage i wouldn't be unemployed
Jared Hall -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 17:01
Training more people for an occupation will result in more people becoming qualified to perform that occupation, irregardless of the fact that many will perform poorly at it. A CS degree is no guarantee of competency, but it is one of the best indicators of general qualification we have at the moment. If you can provide a better metric for analyzing the underlying qualifications of the labor force, I'd love to hear it.

Regarding your anecdote, while interesting, it poor evidence when compared to the aggregate statistical data analyzed in the EPI study.

peter nelson -> FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 17:00

Job-specific training is completely different.

Good grief. It's not job-specific training. You sound like someone who knows nothing about computer programming.

Designing a computer program requires analysing the task; breaking it down into its components, prioritising them and identifying interdependencies, and figuring out which parts of it can be broken out and done separately. Expressing all this in some programming language like Java, C, or C++ is quite secondary.

So once you learn to organise a task properly you can apply it to anything - remodeling a house, planning a vacation, repairing a car, starting a business, or administering a (non-software) project at work.

[Oct 02, 2017] Evaluation of potential job candidates for programming job should include evaluation of thier previous projects and code written

Notable quotes:
"... Thank you. The kids that spend high school researching independently and spend their nights hacking just for the love of it and getting a job without college are some of the most competent I've ever worked with. Passionless college grads that just want a paycheck are some of the worst. ..."
"... how about how new labor tried to sign away IT access in England to India in exchange for banking access there, how about the huge loopholes in bringing in cheap IT workers from elsewhere in the world, not conspiracies, but facts ..."
"... And I've never recommended hiring anyone right out of school who could not point me to a project they did on their own, i.e., not just grades and test scores. I'd like to see an IOS or Android app, or a open-source component, or utility or program of theirs on GitHub, or something like that. ..."
"... most of what software designers do is not coding. It requires domain knowledge and that's where the "smart" IDEs and AI coding wizards fall down. It will be a long time before we get where you describe. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

peter nelson -> c mm , 21 Sep 2017 19:49

Instant feedback is one of the things I really like about programming, but it's also the thing that some people can't handle. As I'm developing a program all day long the compiler is telling me about build errors or warnings or when I go to execute it it crashes or produces unexpected output, etc. Software engineers are bombarded all day with negative feedback and little failures. You have to be thick-skinned for this work.
peter nelson -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 19:42
How is it shallow and lazy? I'm hiring for the real world so I want to see some real world accomplishments. If the candidate is fresh out of university they can't point to work projects in industry because they don't have any. But they CAN point to stuff they've done on their own. That shows both motivation and the ability to finish something. Why do you object to it?
anticapitalist -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 14:47
Thank you. The kids that spend high school researching independently and spend their nights hacking just for the love of it and getting a job without college are some of the most competent I've ever worked with. Passionless college grads that just want a paycheck are some of the worst.
John Kendall , 21 Sep 2017 19:42
There is a big difference between "coding" and programming. Coding for a smart phone app is a matter of calling functions that are built into the device. For example, there are functions for the GPS or for creating buttons or for simulating motion in a game. These are what we used to call subroutines. The difference is that whereas we had to write our own subroutines, now they are just preprogrammed functions. How those functions are written is of little or no importance to today's coders.

Nor are they able to program on that level. Real programming requires not only a knowledge of programming languages, but also a knowledge of the underlying algorithms that make up actual programs. I suspect that "coding" classes operate on a quite superficial level.

Game Cabbage -> theindyisbetter , 21 Sep 2017 19:40
Its not about the amount of work or the amount of labor. Its about the comparative availability of both and how that affects the balance of power, and that in turn affects the overall quality of life for the 'majority' of people.
c mm -> Ed209 , 21 Sep 2017 19:39
Most of this is not true. Peter Nelson gets it right by talking about breaking steps down and thinking rationally. The reason you can't just teach the theory, however, is that humans learn much better with feedback. Think about trying to learn how to build a fast car, but you never get in and test its speed. That would be silly. Programming languages take the system of logic that has been developed for centuries and gives instant feedback on the results. It's a language of rationality.
peter nelson -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 19:37
This article is about the US. The tech industry in the EU is entirely different, and basically moribund. Where is the EU's Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Oracle, Intel, Facebook, etc, etc? The opportunities for exciting interesting work, plus the time and schedule pressures that force companies to overlook stuff like age because they need a particular skill Right Now, don't exist in the EU. I've done very well as a software engineer in my 60's in the US; I cannot imagine that would be the case in the EU.
peterainbow -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 19:37
sorry but that's just not true, i doubt you are really programming still, or quasi programmer but really a manager who like to keep their hand in, you certainly aren't busy as you've been posting all over this cif. also why would you try and hire someone with such disparate skillsets, makes no sense at all

oh and you'd be correct that i do have workplace issues, ie i have a disability and i also suffer from depression, but that shouldn't bar me from employment and again regarding my skills going stale, that again contradicts your statement that it's about planning/analysis/algorithms etc that you said above ( which to some extent i agree with )

c mm -> peterainbow , 21 Sep 2017 19:36
Not at all, it's really egalitarian. If I want to hire someone to paint my portrait, the best way to know if they're any good is to see their previous work. If they've never painted a portrait before then I may want to go with the girl who has
c mm -> ragingbull , 21 Sep 2017 19:34
There is definitely not an excess. Just look at projected jobs for computer science on the Bureau of Labor statistics.
c mm -> perble conk , 21 Sep 2017 19:32
Right? It's ridiculous. "Hey, there's this industry you can train for that is super valuable to society and pays really well!"
Then Ben Tarnoff, "Don't do it! If you do you'll drive down wages for everyone else in the industry. Build your fire starting and rock breaking skills instead."
peterainbow -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 19:29
how about how new labor tried to sign away IT access in England to India in exchange for banking access there, how about the huge loopholes in bringing in cheap IT workers from elsewhere in the world, not conspiracies, but facts
peter nelson -> eirsatz , 21 Sep 2017 19:25
I think the difference between gifted and not is motivation. But I agree it's not innate. The kid who stayed up all night in high school hacking into the school server to fake his coding class grade is probably more gifted than the one who spent 4 years in college getting a BS in CS because someone told him he could get a job when he got out.

I've done some hiring in my life and I always ask them to tell me about stuff they did on their own.

peter nelson -> TheBananaBender , 21 Sep 2017 19:20

Most coding jobs are bug fixing.

The only bugs I have to fix are the ones I make.

peter nelson -> Ed209 , 21 Sep 2017 19:19
As several people have pointed out, writing a computer program requires analyzing and breaking down a task into steps, identifying interdependencies, prioritizing the order, figuring out what parts can be organized into separate tasks that be done separately, etc.

These are completely independent of the language - I've been programming for 40 years in everything from FORTRAN to APL to C to C# to Java and it's all the same. Not only that but they transcend programming - they apply to planning a vacation, remodeling a house, or fixing a car.

peter nelson -> ragingbull , 21 Sep 2017 19:14
Neither coding nor having a bachelor's degree in computer science makes you a suitable job candidate. I've done a lot of recruiting and interviews in my life, and right now I'm trying to hire someone. And I've never recommended hiring anyone right out of school who could not point me to a project they did on their own, i.e., not just grades and test scores. I'd like to see an IOS or Android app, or a open-source component, or utility or program of theirs on GitHub, or something like that.

That's the thing that distinguishes software from many other fields - you can do something real and significant on your own. If you haven't managed to do so in 4 years of college you're not a good candidate.

peter nelson -> nickGregor , 21 Sep 2017 19:07
Within the next year coding will be old news and you will simply be able to describe things in ur native language in such a way that the machine will be able to execute any set of instructions you give it.

In a sense that's already true, as i noted elsewhere. 90% of the code in my projects (Java and C# in their respective IDEs) is machine generated. I do relatively little "coding". But the flaw in your idea is this: most of what software designers do is not coding. It requires domain knowledge and that's where the "smart" IDEs and AI coding wizards fall down. It will be a long time before we get where you describe.

Ricardo111 -> martinusher , 21 Sep 2017 19:03
Completely agree. At the highest levels there is more work that goes into managing complexity and making sure nothing is missed than in making the wheels turn and the beepers beep.
ragingbull , 21 Sep 2017 19:02
Hang on... if the current excess of computer science grads is not driving down wages, why would training more kids to code make any difference?
Ricardo111 -> youngsteveo , 21 Sep 2017 18:59
I've actually interviewed people for very senior technical positions in Investment Banks who had all the fancy talk in the world and yet failed at some very basic "write me a piece of code that does X" tests.

Next hurdle on is people who have learned how to deal with certain situations and yet don't really understand how it works so are unable to figure it out if you change the problem parameters.

That said, the average coder is only slightly beyond this point. The ones who can take in account maintenability and flexibility for future enhancements when developing are already a minority, and those who can understand the why of software development process steps, design software system architectures or do a proper Technical Analysis are very rare.

eirsatz -> Ricardo111 , 21 Sep 2017 18:57
Hubris. It's easy to mistake efficiency born of experience as innate talent. The difference between a 'gifted coder' and a 'non gifted junior coder' is much more likely to be 10 or 15 years sitting at a computer, less if there are good managers and mentors involved.
Ed209 , 21 Sep 2017 18:57
Politicians love the idea of teaching children to 'code', because it sounds so modern, and nobody could possible object... could they? Unfortunately it simply shows up their utter ignorance of technical matters because there isn't a language called 'coding'. Computer programming languages have changed enormously over the years, and continue to evolve. If you learn the wrong language you'll be about as welcome in the IT industry as a lamp-lighter or a comptometer operator.

The pace of change in technology can render skills and qualifications obsolete in a matter of a few years, and only the very best IT employers will bother to retrain their staff - it's much cheaper to dump them. (Most IT posts are outsourced through agencies anyway - those that haven't been off-shored. )

peter nelson -> YEverKnot , 21 Sep 2017 18:54
And this isn't even a good conspiracy theory; it's a bad one. He offers no evidence that there's an actual plan or conspiracy to do this. I'm looking for an account of where the advocates of coding education met to plot this in some castle in Europe or maybe a secret document like "The Protocols of the Elders of Google", or some such.
TheBananaBender , 21 Sep 2017 18:52
Most jobs in IT are shit - desktop support, operations droids. Most coding jobs are bug fixing.
Ricardo111 -> Wiretrip , 21 Sep 2017 18:49
Tool Users Vs Tool Makers. The really good coders actually get why certain things work as they do and can adjust them for different conditions. The mass produced coders are basically code copiers and code gluing specialists.
peter nelson -> AmyInNH , 21 Sep 2017 18:49
People who get Masters and PhD's in computer science are not usually "coders" or software engineers - they're usually involved in obscure, esoteric research for which there really is very little demand. So it doesn't surprise me that they're unemployed. But if someone has a Bachelor's in CS and they're unemployed I would have to wonder what they spent their time at university doing.

The thing about software that distinguishes it from lots of other fields is that you can make something real and significant on your own . I would expect any recent CS major I hire to be able to show me an app or an open-source component or something similar that they made themselves, and not just test scores and grades. If they could not then I wouldn't even think about hiring them.

Ricardo111 , 21 Sep 2017 18:44
Fortunately for those of us who are actually good at coding, the difference in productivity between a gifted coder and a non-gifted junior developer is something like 100-fold. Knowing how to code and actually being efficient at creating software programs and systems are about as far apart as knowing how to write and actually being able to write a bestselling exciting Crime trilogy.
peter nelson -> jamesupton , 21 Sep 2017 18:36

The rest of us will still have to stick to burning buildings down and stringing up the aristocracy.

If you know how to write software you can get a robot to do those things.

peter nelson -> Julian Williams , 21 Sep 2017 18:34
I do think there is excess supply of software programmers. There is only a modest number of decent jobs, say as an algorithms developer in finance, general architecture of complex systems or to some extent in systems security.

This article is about coding; most of those jobs require very little of that.

Most very high paying jobs in the technology sector are in the same standard upper management roles as in every other industry.

How do you define "high paying". Everyone I know (and I know a lot because I've been a sw engineer for 40 years) who is working fulltime as a software engineer is making a high-middle-class salary, and can easily afford a home, travel on holiday, investments, etc.

YEverKnot , 21 Sep 2017 18:32

Tech's push to teach coding isn't about kids' success – it's about cutting wages

Nowt like a good conspiracy theory.
freeandfair -> WithoutPurpose , 21 Sep 2017 18:31
What is a stupidly low salary? 100K?
freeandfair -> AmyInNH , 21 Sep 2017 18:30
> Already there. I take it you skipped right past the employment prospects for US STEM grads - 50% chance of finding STEM work.

That just means 50% of them are no good and need to develop their skills further or try something else.
Not every with a STEM degree from some 3rd rate college is capable of doing complex IT or STEM work.

peter nelson -> edmundberk , 21 Sep 2017 18:30

So, is teaching people English or arithmetic all about reducing wages for the literate and numerate?

Yes. Haven't you noticed how wage growth has flattened? That's because some do-gooders" thought it would be a fine idea to educate the peasants. There was a time when only the well-to do knew how to read and write, and that's why they well-to-do were well-to-do. Education is evil. Stop educating people and then those of us who know how to read and write can charge them for reading and writing letters and email. Better yet, we can have Chinese and Indians do it for us and we just charge a transaction fee.

AmyInNH -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 18:27
Massive amounts of public use cars, it doesn't mean millions need schooling in auto mechanics. Same for software coding. We aren't even using those who have Bachelors, Masters and PhDs in CS.
carlospapafritas , 21 Sep 2017 18:27
"..importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program..."

"skilled" is good. H1B has long ( appx 17 years) been abused and turned into trafficking scheme. One can buy H1B in India. Powerful ethnic networks wheeling & dealing in US & EU selling IT jobs to essentially migrants.

The real IT wages haven't been stagnant but steadily falling from the 90s. It's easy to see why. $82K/year IT wage was about average in the 90s. Comparing the prices of housing (& pretty much everything else) between now gives you the idea.

freeandfair -> whitehawk66 , 21 Sep 2017 18:27
> not every kid wants or needs to have their soul sucked out of them sitting in front of a screen full of code for some idiotic service that some other douchbro thinks is the next iteration of sliced bread

Taking a couple of years of programming are not enough to do this as a job, don't worry.
But learning to code is like learning maths, - it helps to develop logical thinking, which will benefit you in every area of your life.

James Dey , 21 Sep 2017 18:25
We should stop teaching our kids to be journalists, then your wage might go up.
peter nelson -> AmyInNH , 21 Sep 2017 18:23
What does this even mean?

[Oct 02, 2017] Programming is a culturally important skill

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of basic entry level jobs require a good level of Excel skills. ..."
"... Programming is a cultural skill; master it, or even understand it on a simple level, and you understand how the 21st century works, on the machinery level. To bereave the children of this crucial insight is to close off a door to their future. ..."
"... What a dumpster argument. I am not a programmer or even close, but a basic understanding of coding has been important to my professional life. Coding isn't just about writing software. Understanding how algorithms work, even simple ones, is a general skill on par with algebra. ..."
"... Never mind that a good education is clearly one of the most important things you can do for a person to improve their quality of life wherever they live in the world. It's "neoliberal," so we better hate it. ..."
"... We've seen this kind of tactic for some time now. Silicon Valley is turning into a series of micromanaged sweatshops (that's what "agile" is truly all about) with little room for genuine creativity, or even understanding of what that actually means. I've seen how impossible it is to explain to upper level management how crappy cheap developers actually diminish productivity and value. All they see is that the requisition is filled for less money. ..."
"... Libertarianism posits that everyone should be free to sell their labour or negotiate their own arrangements without the state interfering. So if cheaper foreign labour really was undercutting American labout the Libertarians would be thrilled. ..."
"... Not producing enough to fill vacancies or not producing enough to keep wages at Google's preferred rate? Seeing as research shows there is no lack of qualified developers, the latter option seems more likely. ..."
"... We're already using Asia as a source of cheap labor for the tech industry. Why do we need to create cheap labor in the US? ..."
www.moonofalabama.org
David McCaul -> IanMcLzzz , 21 Sep 2017 13:03
There are very few professional Scribes nowadays, a good level of reading & writing is simplely a default even for the lowest paid jobs. A lot of basic entry level jobs require a good level of Excel skills. Several years from now basic coding will be necessary to manipulate basic tools for entry level jobs, especially as increasingly a lot of real code will be generated by expert systems supervised by a tiny number of supervisors. Coding jobs will go the same way that trucking jobs will go when driverless vehicles are perfected.

anticapitalist, 21 Sep 2017 14:25

Offer the class but not mandatory. Just like I could never succeed playing football others will not succeed at coding. The last thing the industry needs is more bad developers showing up for a paycheck.

Fanastril , 21 Sep 2017 14:08

Programming is a cultural skill; master it, or even understand it on a simple level, and you understand how the 21st century works, on the machinery level. To bereave the children of this crucial insight is to close off a door to their future. What's next, keep them off Math, because, you know . .
Taylor Dotson -> freeandfair , 21 Sep 2017 13:59
That's some crystal ball you have there. English teachers will need to know how to code? Same with plumbers? Same with janitors, CEOs, and anyone working in the service industry?
PolydentateBrigand , 21 Sep 2017 12:59
The economy isn't a zero-sum game. Developing a more skilled workforce that can create more value will lead to economic growth and improvement in the general standard of living. Talented coders will start new tech businesses and create more jobs.

WumpieJr , 21 Sep 2017 13:23

What a dumpster argument. I am not a programmer or even close, but a basic understanding of coding has been important to my professional life. Coding isn't just about writing software. Understanding how algorithms work, even simple ones, is a general skill on par with algebra.

But is isn't just about coding for Tarnoff. He seems to hold education in contempt generally. "The far-fetched premise of neoliberal school reform is that education can mend our disintegrating social fabric." If they can't literally fix everything let's just get rid of them, right?

Never mind that a good education is clearly one of the most important things you can do for a person to improve their quality of life wherever they live in the world. It's "neoliberal," so we better hate it.

mlzarathustra , 21 Sep 2017 16:52
I agree with the basic point. We've seen this kind of tactic for some time now. Silicon Valley is turning into a series of micromanaged sweatshops (that's what "agile" is truly all about) with little room for genuine creativity, or even understanding of what that actually means. I've seen how impossible it is to explain to upper level management how crappy cheap developers actually diminish productivity and value. All they see is that the requisition is filled for less money.

The bigger problem is that nobody cares about the arts, and as expensive as education is, nobody wants to carry around a debt on a skill that won't bring in the bucks. And smartphone-obsessed millennials have too short an attention span to fathom how empty their lives are, devoid of the aesthetic depth as they are.

I can't draw a definite link, but I think algorithm fails, which are based on fanatical reliance on programmed routines as the solution to everything, are rooted in the shortage of education and cultivation in the arts.

Economics is a social science, and all this is merely a reflection of shared cultural values. The problem is, people think it's math (it's not) and therefore set in stone.

AmyInNH -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 16:51
Geeze it'd be nice if you'd make an effort.
rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/45960/PDF/1/
https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/46156 /
https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/46207 /
peter nelson -> WyntonK , 21 Sep 2017 16:45
Libertarianism posits that everyone should be free to sell their labour or negotiate their own arrangements without the state interfering. So if cheaper foreign labour really was undercutting American labout the Libertarians would be thrilled.

But it's not. I'm in my 60's and retiring but I've been a software engineer all my life. I've worked for many different companies, and in different industries and I've never had any trouble competing with cheap imported workers. The people I've seen fall behind were ones who did not keep their skills fresh. When I was laid off in 2009 in my mid-50's I made sure my mobile-app skills were bleeding edge (in those days ANYTHING having to do with mobile was bleeding edge) and I used to go to job interviews with mobile devices to showcase what I could do. That way they could see for themselves and not have to rely on just a CV.

They older guys who fell behind did so because their skills and toolsets had become obsolete.

Now I'm trying to hire a replacement to write Android code for use in industrial production and struggling to find someone with enough experience. So where is this oversupply I keep hearing about?

Jared Hall -> RogTheDodge , 21 Sep 2017 16:42
Not producing enough to fill vacancies or not producing enough to keep wages at Google's preferred rate? Seeing as research shows there is no lack of qualified developers, the latter option seems more likely.
JayThomas , 21 Sep 2017 16:39

It's about ensuring those salaries no longer exist, by creating a source of cheap labor for the tech industry.

We're already using Asia as a source of cheap labor for the tech industry. Why do we need to create cheap labor in the US? That just seems inefficient.

FabBlondie -> RogTheDodge , 21 Sep 2017 16:39
There was never any need to give our jobs to foreigners. That is, if you are comparing the production of domestic vs. foreign workers. The sole need was, and is, to increase profits.
peter nelson -> AmyInNH , 21 Sep 2017 16:34
Link?
FabBlondie , 21 Sep 2017 16:34
Schools MAY be able to fix big social problems, but only if they teach a well-rounded curriculum that includes classical history and the humanities. Job-specific training is completely different. What a joke to persuade public school districts to pick up the tab on job training. The existing social problems were not caused by a lack of programmers, and cannot be solved by Big Tech.

I agree with the author that computer programming skills are not that limited in availability. Big Tech solved the problem of the well-paid professional some years ago by letting them go, these were mostly workers in their 50s, and replacing them with H1-B visa-holders from India -- who work for a fraction of their experienced American counterparts.

It is all about profits. Big Tech is no different than any other "industry."

peter nelson -> Jared Hall , 21 Sep 2017 16:31
Supply of apples does not affect the demand for oranges. Teaching coding in high school does not necessarily alter the supply of software engineers. I studied Chinese History and geology at University but my doing so has had no effect on the job prospects of people doing those things for a living.
johnontheleft -> Taylor Dotson , 21 Sep 2017 16:30
You would be surprised just how much a little coding knowledge has transformed my ability to do my job (a job that is not directly related to IT at all).
peter nelson -> Jared Hall , 21 Sep 2017 16:29
Because teaching coding does not affect the supply of actual engineers. I've been a professional software engineer for 40 years and coding is only a small fraction of what I do.
peter nelson -> Jared Hall , 21 Sep 2017 16:28
You and the linked article don't know what you're talking about. A CS degree does not equate to a productive engineer.

A few years ago I was on the recruiting and interviewing committee to try to hire some software engineers for a scientific instrument my company was making. The entire team had about 60 people (hw, sw, mech engineers) but we needed 2 or 3 sw engineers with math and signal-processing expertise. The project was held up for SIX months because we could not find the people we needed. It would have taken a lot longer than that to train someone up to our needs. Eventually we brought in some Chinese engineers which cost us MORE than what we would have paid for an American engineer when you factor in the agency and visa paperwork.

Modern software engineers are not just generic interchangable parts - 21st century technology often requires specialised scientific, mathematical, production or business domain-specific knowledge and those people are hard to find.

freeluna -> freeluna , 21 Sep 2017 16:18
...also, this article is alarmist and I disagree with it. Dear Author, Phphphphtttt! Sincerely, freeluna
AmyInNH , 21 Sep 2017 16:16
Regimentation of the many, for benefit of the few.
AmyInNH -> Whatitsaysonthetin , 21 Sep 2017 16:15
Visa jobs are part of trade agreements. To be very specific, US gov (and EU) trade Western jobs for market access in the East.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/in-india-british-leader-theresa-may-preaches-free-trade-2016-11-07
There is no shortage. This is selling off the West's middle class.
Take a look at remittances in wikipedia and you'll get a good idea just how much it costs the US and EU economies, for sake of record profits to Western industry.
jigen , 21 Sep 2017 16:13
And thanks to the author for not using the adjective "elegant" in describing coding.
freeluna , 21 Sep 2017 16:13
I see advantages in teaching kids to code, and for kids to make arduino and other CPU powered things. I don't see a lot of interest in science and tech coming from kids in school. There are too many distractions from social media and game platforms, and not much interest in developing tools for future tech and science.
jigen , 21 Sep 2017 16:13
Let the robots do the coding. Sorted.
FluffyDog -> rgilyead , 21 Sep 2017 16:13
Although coding per se is a technical skill it isn't designing or integrating systems. It is only a small, although essential, part of the whole software engineering process. Learning to code just gets you up the first steps of a high ladder that you need to climb a fair way if you intend to use your skills to earn a decent living.
rebel7 , 21 Sep 2017 16:11
BS.

Friend of mine in the SV tech industry reports that they are about 100,000 programmers short in just the internet security field.

Y'all are trying to create a problem where there isn't one. Maybe we shouldn't teach them how to read either. They might want to work somewhere besides the grill at McDonalds.

AmyInNH -> WyntonK , 21 Sep 2017 16:11
To which they will respond, offshore.
AmyInNH -> MrFumoFumo , 21 Sep 2017 16:10
They're not looking for good, they're looking for cheap + visa indentured. Non-citizens.
nickGregor , 21 Sep 2017 16:09
Within the next year coding will be old news and you will simply be able to describe things in ur native language in such a way that the machine will be able to execute any set of instructions you give it. Coding is going to change from its purely abstract form that is not utilized at peak- but if you can describe what you envision in an effective concise manner u could become a very good coder very quickly -- and competence will be determined entirely by imagination and the barriers of entry will all but be extinct
AmyInNH -> unclestinky , 21 Sep 2017 16:09
Already there. I take it you skipped right past the employment prospects for US STEM grads - 50% chance of finding STEM work.
AmyInNH -> User10006 , 21 Sep 2017 16:06
Apparently a whole lot of people are just making it up, eh?
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/inside-the-growing-guest-worker-program-trapping-indian-students-in-virtual-servitude /
From today,
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2915904/it-outsourcing/fury-rises-at-disney-over-use-of-foreign-workers.html
All the way back to 1995,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW8r3LoI8M4&feature=youtu.be
JCA1507 -> whitehawk66 , 21 Sep 2017 16:04
Bravo
JCA1507 -> DirDigIns , 21 Sep 2017 16:01
Total... utter... no other way... huge... will only get worse... everyone... (not a very nuanced commentary is it).

I'm glad pieces like this are mounting, it is relevant that we counter the mix of messianism and opportunism of Silicon Valley propaganda with convincing arguments.

RogTheDodge -> WithoutPurpose , 21 Sep 2017 16:01
That's not my experience.
AmyInNH -> TTauriStellarbody , 21 Sep 2017 16:01
It's a stall tactic by Silicon Valley, "See, we're trying to resolve the [non-existant] shortage."
AmyInNH -> WyntonK , 21 Sep 2017 16:00
They aren't immigrants. They're visa indentured foreign workers. Why does that matter? It's part of the cheap+indentured hiring criteria. If it were only cheap, they'd be lowballing offers to citizen and US new grads.
RogTheDodge -> Jared Hall , 21 Sep 2017 15:59
No. Because they're the ones wanting them and realizing the US education system is not producing enough
RogTheDodge -> Jared Hall , 21 Sep 2017 15:58
Except the demand is increasing massively.
RogTheDodge -> WyntonK , 21 Sep 2017 15:57
That's why we are trying to educate American coders - so we don't need to give our jobs to foreigners.
AmyInNH , 21 Sep 2017 15:56
Correct premises,
- proletarianize programmers
- many qualified graduates simply can't find jobs.
Invalid conclusion:
- The problem is there aren't enough good jobs to be trained for.

That conclusion only makes sense if you skip right past ...
" importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program. These workers earn less than their American counterparts, and possess little bargaining power because they must remain employed to keep their status"

Hiring Americans doesn't "hurt" their record profits. It's incessant greed and collusion with our corrupt congress.

Oldvinyl , 21 Sep 2017 15:51
This column was really annoying. I taught my students how to program when I was given a free hand to create the computer studies curriculum for a new school I joined. (Not in the UK thank Dog). 7th graders began with studying the history and uses of computers and communications tech. My 8th grade learned about computer logic (AND, OR, NOT, etc) and moved on with QuickBASIC in the second part of the year. My 9th graders learned about databases and SQL and how to use HTML to make their own Web sites. Last year I received a phone call from the father of one student thanking me for creating the course, his son had just received a job offer and now works in San Francisco for Google.
I am so glad I taught them "coding" (UGH) as the writer puts it, rather than arty-farty subjects not worth a damn in the jobs market.
WyntonK -> DirDigIns , 21 Sep 2017 15:47
I live and work in Silicon Valley and you have no idea what you are talking about. There's no shortage of coders at all. Terrific coders are let go because of their age and the availability of much cheaper foreign coders(no, I am not opposed to immigration).
Sean May , 21 Sep 2017 15:43
Looks like you pissed off a ton of people who can't write code and are none to happy with you pointing out the reason they're slinging insurance for geico.

I think you're quite right that coding skills will eventually enter the mainstream and slowly bring down the cost of hiring programmers.

The fact is that even if you don't get paid to be a programmer you can absolutely benefit from having some coding skills.

There may however be some kind of major coding revolution with the advent of quantum computing. The way code is written now could become obsolete.

Jared Hall -> User10006 , 21 Sep 2017 15:43
Why is it a fantasy? Does supply and demand not apply to IT labor pools?
Jared Hall -> ninianpark , 21 Sep 2017 15:42
Why is it a load of crap? If you increase the supply of something with no corresponding increase in demand, the price will decrease.
pictonic , 21 Sep 2017 15:40
A well-argued article that hits the nail on the head. Amongst any group of coders, very few are truly productive, and they are self starters; training is really needed to do the admin.
Jared Hall -> DirDigIns , 21 Sep 2017 15:39
There is not a huge skills shortage. That is why the author linked this EPI report analyzing the data to prove exactly that. This may not be what people want to believe, but it is certainly what the numbers indicate. There is no skills gap.

http://www.epi.org/files/2013/bp359-guestworkers-high-skill-labor-market-analysis.pdf

Axel Seaton -> Jaberwocky , 21 Sep 2017 15:34
Yeah, but the money is crap
DirDigIns -> IanMcLzzz , 21 Sep 2017 15:32
Perfect response for the absolute crap that the article is pushing.
DirDigIns , 21 Sep 2017 15:30
Total and utter crap, no other way to put it.

There is a huge skills shortage in key tech areas that will only get worse if we don't educate and train the young effectively.

Everyone wants youth to have good skills for the knowledge economy and the ability to earn a good salary and build up life chances for UK youth.

So we get this verbal diarrhoea of an article. Defies belief.

Whatitsaysonthetin -> Evelita , 21 Sep 2017 15:27
Yes. China and India are indeed training youth in coding skills. In order that they take jobs in the USA and UK! It's been going on for 20 years and has resulted in many experienced IT staff struggling to get work at all and, even if they can, to suffer stagnating wages.
WmBoot , 21 Sep 2017 15:23
Wow. Congratulations to the author for provoking such a torrent of vitriol! Job well done.
TTauriStellarbody , 21 Sep 2017 15:22
Has anyones job is at risk from a 16 year old who can cobble together a couple of lines of javascript since the dot com bubble?

Good luck trying to teach a big enough pool of US school kids regular expressions let alone the kind of test driven continuous delivery that is the norm in the industry now.

freeandfair -> youngsteveo , 21 Sep 2017 13:27
> A lot of resumes come across my desk that look qualified on paper, but that's not the same thing as being able to do the job

I have exactly the same experience. There is undeniable a skill gap. It takes about a year for a skilled professional to adjust and learn enough to become productive, it takes about 3-5 years for a college grad.

It is nothing new. But the issue is, as the college grad gets trained, another company steal him/ her. And also keep in mind, all this time you are doing job and training the new employee as time permits. Many companies in the US cut the non-profit department (such as IT) to the bone, we cannot afford to lose a person and then train another replacement for 3-5 years.

The solution? Hire a skilled person. But that means nobody is training college grads and in 10-20 years we are looking at the skill shortage to the point where the only option is brining foreign labor.

American cut-throat companies that care only about the bottom line cannibalized themselves.

farabundovive -> Ethan Hawkins , 21 Sep 2017 15:10

Heh. You are not a coder, I take it. :) Going to be a few decades before even the easiest coding jobs vanish.

Given how shit most coders of my acquaintance have been - especially in matters of work ethic, logic, matching s/w to user requirements and willingness to test and correct their gormless output - most future coding work will probably be in the area of disaster recovery. Sorry, since the poor snowflakes can't face the sad facts, we have to call it "business continuation" these days, don't we?
UncommonTruthiness , 21 Sep 2017 14:10
The demonization of Silicon Valley is clearly the next place to put all blame. Look what "they" did to us: computers, smart phones, HD television, world-wide internet, on and on. Get a rope!

I moved there in 1978 and watched the orchards and trailer parks on North 1st St. of San Jose transform into a concrete jungle. There used to be quite a bit of semiconductor equipment and device manufacturing in SV during the 80s and 90s. Now quite a few buildings have the same name : AVAILABLE. Most equipment and device manufacturing has moved to Asia.

Programming started with binary, then machine code (hexadecimal or octal) and moved to assembler as a compiled and linked structure. More compiled languages like FORTRAN, BASIC, PL-1, COBOL, PASCAL, C (and all its "+'s") followed making programming easier for the less talented. Now the script based languages (HTML, JAVA, etc.) are even higher level and accessible to nearly all. Programming has become a commodity and will be priced like milk, wheat, corn, non-unionized workers and the like. The ship has sailed on this activity as a career.

[Oct 02, 2017] Techs push to teach coding isnt about kids success – its about cutting wages by Ben Tarnoff

Highly recommended!
IT is probably one of the most "neoliberalized" industry (even in comparison with finance). So atomization of labor and "plantation economy" is a norm in IT. It occurs on rather high level of wages, but with influx of foreign programmers and IT specialists (in the past) and mass outsourcing (now) this is changing. Completion for good job positions is fierce. Dog eats dog competition, the dream of neoliberals. Entry level jobs are already paying $15 an hour, if not less.
Programming is a relatively rare talent, much like ability to play violin. Even amateur level is challenging. On high level (developing large complex programs in a team and still preserving your individuality and productivity ) it is extremely rare. Most of "commercial" programmers are able to produce only a mediocre code (which might be adequate). Only a few programmers can excel if complex software projects. Sometimes even performing solo. There is also a pathological breed of "programmer junkie" ( graphomania happens in programming too ) who are able sometimes to destroy something large projects singlehandedly. That often happens with open source projects after the main developer lost interest and abandoned the project.
It's good to allow children the chance to try their hand at coding when they otherwise may not had that opportunity, But in no way that means that all of them can became professional programmers. No way. Again the top level of programmers required position of a unique talent, much like top musical performer talent.
Also to get a decent entry position you iether need to be extremely talented or graduate from Ivy League university. When applicants are abundant, resume from less prestigious universities are not even considered. this is just easier for HR to filter applications this way.
Also under neoliberalism cheap labor via H1B visas flood the market and depresses wages. Many Silicon companies were so to say "Russian speaking in late 90th after the collapse of the USSR. Not offshoring is the dominant way to offload the development to cheaper labor.
Notable quotes:
"... As software mediates more of our lives, and the power of Silicon Valley grows, it's tempting to imagine that demand for developers is soaring. The media contributes to this impression by spotlighting the genuinely inspiring stories of those who have ascended the class ladder through code. You may have heard of Bit Source, a company in eastern Kentucky that retrains coalminers as coders. They've been featured by Wired , Forbes , FastCompany , The Guardian , NPR and NBC News , among others. ..."
"... A former coalminer who becomes a successful developer deserves our respect and admiration. But the data suggests that relatively few will be able to follow their example. Our educational system has long been producing more programmers than the labor market can absorb. ..."
"... More tellingly, wage levels in the tech industry have remained flat since the late 1990s. Adjusting for inflation, the average programmer earns about as much today as in 1998. If demand were soaring, you'd expect wages to rise sharply in response. Instead, salaries have stagnated. ..."
"... Tech executives have pursued this goal in a variety of ways. One is collusion – companies conspiring to prevent their employees from earning more by switching jobs. The prevalence of this practice in Silicon Valley triggered a justice department antitrust complaint in 2010, along with a class action suit that culminated in a $415m settlement . Another, more sophisticated method is importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program. These workers earn less than their American counterparts, and possess little bargaining power because they must remain employed to keep their status. ..."
"... Guest workers and wage-fixing are useful tools for restraining labor costs. But nothing would make programming cheaper than making millions more programmers. ..."
"... Silicon Valley has been unusually successful in persuading our political class and much of the general public that its interests coincide with the interests of humanity as a whole. But tech is an industry like any other. It prioritizes its bottom line, and invests heavily in making public policy serve it. The five largest tech firms now spend twice as much as Wall Street on lobbying Washington – nearly $50m in 2016. The biggest spender, Google, also goes to considerable lengths to cultivate policy wonks favorable to its interests – and to discipline the ones who aren't. ..."
"... Silicon Valley is not a uniquely benevolent force, nor a uniquely malevolent one. Rather, it's something more ordinary: a collection of capitalist firms committed to the pursuit of profit. And as every capitalist knows, markets are figments of politics. They are not naturally occurring phenomena, but elaborately crafted contraptions, sustained and structured by the state – which is why shaping public policy is so important. If tech works tirelessly to tilt markets in its favor, it's hardly alone. What distinguishes it is the amount of money it has at its disposal to do so. ..."
"... The problem isn't training. The problem is there aren't enough good jobs to be trained for ..."
"... Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. Coding can be a rewarding, even pleasurable, experience, and it's useful for performing all sorts of tasks. More broadly, an understanding of how code works is critical for basic digital literacy – something that is swiftly becoming a requirement for informed citizenship in an increasingly technologized world. ..."
"... But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. Learning to build software does not make you any more immune to the forces of American capitalism than learning to build a house. Whether a coder or a carpenter, capital will do what it can to lower your wages, and enlist public institutions towards that end. ..."
"... Exposing large portions of the school population to coding is not going to magically turn them into coders. It may increase their basic understanding but that is a long way from being a software engineer. ..."
"... All schools teach drama and most kids don't end up becoming actors. You need to give all kids access to coding in order for some can go on to make a career out of it. ..."
"... it's ridiculous because even out of a pool of computer science B.Sc. or M.Sc. grads - companies are only interested in the top 10%. Even the most mundane company with crappy IT jobs swears that they only hire "the best and the brightest." ..."
"... It's basically a con-job by the big Silicon Valley companies offshoring as many US jobs as they can, or "inshoring" via exploitation of the H1B visa ..."
"... Masters is the new Bachelors. ..."
"... I taught CS. Out of around 100 graduates I'd say maybe 5 were reasonable software engineers. The rest would be fine in tech support or other associated trades, but not writing software. Its not just a set of trainable skills, its a set of attitudes and ways of perceiving and understanding that just aren't that common. ..."
"... Yup, rings true. I've been in hi tech for over 40 years and seen the changes. I was in Silicon Valley for 10 years on a startup. India is taking over, my current US company now has a majority Indian executive and is moving work to India. US politicians push coding to drive down wages to Indian levels. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

This month, millions of children returned to school. This year, an unprecedented number of them will learn to code.

Computer science courses for children have proliferated rapidly in the past few years. A 2016 Gallup report found that 40% of American schools now offer coding classes – up from only 25% a few years ago. New York, with the largest public school system in the country, has pledged to offer computer science to all 1.1 million students by 2025. Los Angeles, with the second largest, plans to do the same by 2020. And Chicago, the fourth largest, has gone further, promising to make computer science a high school graduation requirement by 2018.

The rationale for this rapid curricular renovation is economic. Teaching kids how to code will help them land good jobs, the argument goes. In an era of flat and falling incomes, programming provides a new path to the middle class – a skill so widely demanded that anyone who acquires it can command a livable, even lucrative, wage.

This narrative pervades policymaking at every level, from school boards to the government. Yet it rests on a fundamentally flawed premise. Contrary to public perception, the economy doesn't actually need that many more programmers. As a result, teaching millions of kids to code won't make them all middle-class. Rather, it will proletarianize the profession by flooding the market and forcing wages down – and that's precisely the point.

At its root, the campaign for code education isn't about giving the next generation a shot at earning the salary of a Facebook engineer. It's about ensuring those salaries no longer exist, by creating a source of cheap labor for the tech industry.

As software mediates more of our lives, and the power of Silicon Valley grows, it's tempting to imagine that demand for developers is soaring. The media contributes to this impression by spotlighting the genuinely inspiring stories of those who have ascended the class ladder through code. You may have heard of Bit Source, a company in eastern Kentucky that retrains coalminers as coders. They've been featured by Wired , Forbes , FastCompany , The Guardian , NPR and NBC News , among others.

A former coalminer who becomes a successful developer deserves our respect and admiration. But the data suggests that relatively few will be able to follow their example. Our educational system has long been producing more programmers than the labor market can absorb. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the supply of American college graduates with computer science degrees is 50% greater than the number hired into the tech industry each year. For all the talk of a tech worker shortage, many qualified graduates simply can't find jobs.

More tellingly, wage levels in the tech industry have remained flat since the late 1990s. Adjusting for inflation, the average programmer earns about as much today as in 1998. If demand were soaring, you'd expect wages to rise sharply in response. Instead, salaries have stagnated.

Still, those salaries are stagnating at a fairly high level. The Department of Labor estimates that the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations is $82,860 – more than twice the national average. And from the perspective of the people who own the tech industry, this presents a problem. High wages threaten profits. To maximize profitability, one must always be finding ways to pay workers less.

Tech executives have pursued this goal in a variety of ways. One is collusion – companies conspiring to prevent their employees from earning more by switching jobs. The prevalence of this practice in Silicon Valley triggered a justice department antitrust complaint in 2010, along with a class action suit that culminated in a $415m settlement . Another, more sophisticated method is importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program. These workers earn less than their American counterparts, and possess little bargaining power because they must remain employed to keep their status.

Guest workers and wage-fixing are useful tools for restraining labor costs. But nothing would make programming cheaper than making millions more programmers. And where better to develop this workforce than America's schools? It's no coincidence, then, that the campaign for code education is being orchestrated by the tech industry itself. Its primary instrument is Code.org, a nonprofit funded by Facebook, Microsoft, Google and others . In 2016, the organization spent nearly $20m on training teachers, developing curricula, and lobbying policymakers.

Silicon Valley has been unusually successful in persuading our political class and much of the general public that its interests coincide with the interests of humanity as a whole. But tech is an industry like any other. It prioritizes its bottom line, and invests heavily in making public policy serve it. The five largest tech firms now spend twice as much as Wall Street on lobbying Washington – nearly $50m in 2016. The biggest spender, Google, also goes to considerable lengths to cultivate policy wonks favorable to its interests – and to discipline the ones who aren't.

Silicon Valley is not a uniquely benevolent force, nor a uniquely malevolent one. Rather, it's something more ordinary: a collection of capitalist firms committed to the pursuit of profit. And as every capitalist knows, markets are figments of politics. They are not naturally occurring phenomena, but elaborately crafted contraptions, sustained and structured by the state – which is why shaping public policy is so important. If tech works tirelessly to tilt markets in its favor, it's hardly alone. What distinguishes it is the amount of money it has at its disposal to do so.

Money isn't Silicon Valley's only advantage in its crusade to remake American education, however. It also enjoys a favorable ideological climate. Its basic message – that schools alone can fix big social problems – is one that politicians of both parties have been repeating for years. The far-fetched premise of neoliberal school reform is that education can mend our disintegrating social fabric. That if we teach students the right skills, we can solve poverty, inequality and stagnation. The school becomes an engine of economic transformation, catapulting young people from challenging circumstances into dignified, comfortable lives.

This argument is immensely pleasing to the technocratic mind. It suggests that our core economic malfunction is technical – a simple asymmetry. You have workers on one side and good jobs on the other, and all it takes is training to match them up. Indeed, every president since Bill Clinton has talked about training American workers to fill the "skills gap". But gradually, one mainstream economist after another has come to realize what most workers have known for years: the gap doesn't exist. Even Larry Summers has concluded it's a myth.

The problem isn't training. The problem is there aren't enough good jobs to be trained for . The solution is to make bad jobs better, by raising the minimum wage and making it easier for workers to form a union, and to create more good jobs by investing for growth. This involves forcing business to put money into things that actually grow the productive economy rather than shoveling profits out to shareholders. It also means increasing public investment, so that people can make a decent living doing socially necessary work like decarbonizing our energy system and restoring our decaying infrastructure.

Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. Coding can be a rewarding, even pleasurable, experience, and it's useful for performing all sorts of tasks. More broadly, an understanding of how code works is critical for basic digital literacy – something that is swiftly becoming a requirement for informed citizenship in an increasingly technologized world.

But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. Learning to build software does not make you any more immune to the forces of American capitalism than learning to build a house. Whether a coder or a carpenter, capital will do what it can to lower your wages, and enlist public institutions towards that end.

Silicon Valley has been extraordinarily adept at converting previously uncommodified portions of our common life into sources of profit. Our schools may prove an easy conquest by comparison.

See also:

willyjack, 21 Sep 2017 16:56

"Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. " OK, and that's what's being done. And that's what the article is bemoaning. What would be better: teach them how to change tires or groom pets? Or pick fruit? Amazingly condescending article.

MrFumoFumo , 21 Sep 2017 14:54
However, training lots of people to be coders won't automatically result in lots of people who can actually write good code. Nor will it give managers/recruiters the necessary skills to recognize which programmers are any good.

congenialAnimal -> alfredooo , 24 Sep 2017 09:57

A valid rebuttal but could I offer another observation? Exposing large portions of the school population to coding is not going to magically turn them into coders. It may increase their basic understanding but that is a long way from being a software engineer.

Just as children join art, drama or biology classes so they do not automatically become artists, actors or doctors. I would agree entirely that just being able to code is not going to guarantee the sort of income that might be aspired to. As with all things, it takes commitment, perseverance and dogged determination. I suppose ultimately it becomes the Gattaca argument.

alfredooo -> racole , 24 Sep 2017 06:51
Fair enough, but, his central argument, that an overabundance of coders will drive wages in that sector down, is generally true, so in the future if you want your kids to go into a profession that will earn them 80k+ then being a "coder" is not the route to take. When coding is - like reading, writing, and arithmetic - just a basic skill, there's no guarantee having it will automatically translate into getting a "good" job.
Wiretrip , 21 Sep 2017 14:14
This article lumps everyone in computing into the 'coder' bin, without actually defining what 'coding' is. Yes there is a glut of people who can knock together a bit of HTML and JavaScript, but that is not really programming as such.

There are huge shortages of skilled developers however; people who can apply computer science and engineering in terms of analysis and design of software. These are the real skills for which relatively few people have a true aptitude.

The lack of really good skills is starting to show in some terrible software implementation decisions, such as Slack for example; written as a web app running in Electron (so that JavaScript code monkeys could knock it out quickly), but resulting in awful performance. We will see more of this in the coming years...

Taylor Dotson -> youngsteveo , 21 Sep 2017 13:53
My brother is a programmer, and in his experience these coding exams don't test anything but whether or not you took (and remember) a very narrow range of problems introduce in the first years of a computer science degree. The entire hiring process seems premised on a range of ill-founded ideas about what skills are necessary for the job and how to assess them in people. They haven't yet grasped that those kinds of exams mostly test test-taking ability, rather than intelligence, creativity, diligence, communication ability, or anything else that a job requires beside coughing up the right answer in a stressful, timed environment without outside resources.

The_Raven , 23 Sep 2017 15:45

I'm an embedded software/firmware engineer. Every similar engineer I've ever met has had the same background - starting in electronics and drifting into embedded software writing in C and assembler. It's virtually impossible to do such software without an understanding of electronics. When it goes wrong you may need to get the test equipment out to scope the hardware to see if it's a hardware or software problem. Coming from a pure computing background just isn't going to get you a job in this type of work.
waltdangerfield , 23 Sep 2017 14:42
All schools teach drama and most kids don't end up becoming actors. You need to give all kids access to coding in order for some can go on to make a career out of it.
TwoSugarsPlease , 23 Sep 2017 06:13
Coding salaries will inevitably fall over time, but such skills give workers the option, once they discover that their income is no longer sustainable in the UK, of moving somewhere more affordable and working remotely.
DiGiT81 -> nixnixnix , 23 Sep 2017 03:29
Completely agree. Coding is a necessary life skill for 21st century but there are levels to every skill. From basic needs for an office job to advanced and specialised.
nixnixnix , 23 Sep 2017 00:46
Lots of people can code but very few of us ever get to the point of creating something new that has a loyal and enthusiastic user-base. Everyone should be able to code because it is or will be the basis of being able to create almost anything in the future. If you want to make a game in Unity, knowing how to code is really useful. If you want to work with large data-sets, you can't rely on Excel and so you need to be able to code (in R?). The use of code is becoming so pervasive that it is going to be like reading and writing.

All the science and engineering graduates I know can code but none of them have ever sold a stand-alone software. The argument made above is like saying that teaching everyone to write will drive down the wages of writers. Writing is useful for anyone and everyone but only a tiny fraction of people who can write, actually write novels or even newspaper columns.

DolyGarcia -> Carl Christensen , 22 Sep 2017 19:24
Immigrants have always a big advantage over locals, for any company, including tech companies: the government makes sure that they will stay in their place and never complain about low salaries or bad working conditions because, you know what? If the company sacks you, an immigrant may be forced to leave the country where they live because their visa expires, which is never going to happen with a local. Companies always have more leverage over immigrants. Given a choice between more and less exploitable workers, companies will choose the most exploitable ones.

Which is something that Marx figured more than a century ago, and why he insisted that socialism had to be international, which led to the founding of the First International Socialist. If worker's fights didn't go across country boundaries, companies would just play people from one country against the other. Unfortunately, at some point in time socialists forgot this very important fact.

xxxFred -> Tomix Da Vomix , 22 Sep 2017 18:52
SO what's wrong with having lots of people able to code? The only argument you seem to have is that it'll lower wages. So do you think that we should stop teaching writing skills so that journalists can be paid more? And no one os going to "force" kids into high-level abstract coding practices in kindergarten, fgs. But there is ample empirical proof that young children can learn basic principles. In fact the younger that children are exposed to anything, the better they can enhance their skills adn knowlege of it later in life, and computing concepts are no different.
Tomix Da Vomix -> xxxFred , 22 Sep 2017 18:40
You're completely missing the point. Kids are forced into the programming field (even STEM as a more general term), before they evolve their abstract reasoning. For that matter, you're not producing highly skilled people, but functional imbeciles and a decent labor that will eventually lower the wages.
Conspiracy theory? So Google, FB and others paying hundreds of millions of dollars for forming a cartel to lower the wages is not true? It sounds me that you're sounding more like a 1969 denier that Guardian is. Tech companies are not financing those incentives because they have a good soul. Their primary drive has always been money, otherwise they wouldn't sell your personal data to earn money.

But hey, you can always sleep peacefully when your kid becomes a coder. When he is 50, everyone will want to have a Cobol, Ada programmer with 25 years of experience when you can get 16 year old kid from a high school for 1/10 of a price. Go back to sleep...

Carl Christensen -> xxxFred , 22 Sep 2017 16:49
it's ridiculous because even out of a pool of computer science B.Sc. or M.Sc. grads - companies are only interested in the top 10%. Even the most mundane company with crappy IT jobs swears that they only hire "the best and the brightest."
Carl Christensen , 22 Sep 2017 16:47
It's basically a con-job by the big Silicon Valley companies offshoring as many US jobs as they can, or "inshoring" via exploitation of the H1B visa - so they can say "see, we don't have 'qualified' people in the US - maybe when these kids learn to program in a generation." As if American students haven't been coding for decades -- and saw their salaries plummet as the H1B visa and Indian offshore firms exploded......
Declawed -> KDHughes , 22 Sep 2017 16:40
Dude, stow the attitude. I've tested code from various entities, and seen every kind of crap peddled as gold.

But I've also seen a little 5-foot giggly lady with two kids, grumble a bit and save a $100,000 product by rewriting another coder's man-month of work in a few days, without any flaws or cracks. Almost nobody will ever know she did that. She's so far beyond my level it hurts.

And yes, the author knows nothing. He's genuinely crying wolf while knee-deep in amused wolves. The last time I was in San Jose, years ago , the room was already full of people with Indian surnames. If the problem was REALLY serious, a programmer from POLAND was called in.

If you think fighting for a violinist spot is hard, try fighting for it with every spare violinist in the world . I am training my Indian replacement to do my job right now . At least the public can appreciate a good violin. Can you appreciate Duff's device ?

So by all means, don't teach local kids how to think in a straight line, just in case they make a dent in the price of wages IN INDIA.... *sheesh*

Declawed -> IanMcLzzz , 22 Sep 2017 15:35
That's the best possible summarisation of this extremely dumb article. Bravo.

For those who don't know how to think of coding, like the article author, here's a few analogies :

A computer is a box that replays frozen thoughts, quickly. That is all.

Coding is just the art of explaining. Anyone who can explain something patiently and clearly, can code. Anyone who can't, can't.

Making hardware is very much like growing produce while blind. Making software is very much like cooking that produce while blind.

Imagine looking after a room full of young eager obedient children who only do exactly, *exactly*, what you told them to do, but move around at the speed of light. Imagine having to try to keep them from smashing into each other or decapitating themselves on the corners of tables, tripping over toys and crashing into walls, etc, while you get them all to play games together.

The difference between a good coder and a bad coder is almost life and death. Imagine a broth prepared with ingredients from a dozen co-ordinating geniuses and one idiot, that you'll mass produce. The soup is always far worse for the idiot's additions. The more cooks you involve, the more chance your mass produced broth will taste bad.

People who hire coders, typically can't tell a good coder from a bad coder.

Zach Dyer -> Mystik Al , 22 Sep 2017 15:18
Tech jobs will probably always be available long after your gone or until another mass extinction.
edmundberk -> AmyInNH , 22 Sep 2017 14:59
No you do it in your own time. If you're not prepared to put in long days IT is not for you in any case. It was ever thus, but more so now due to offshoring - rather than the rather obscure forces you seem to believe are important.
WithoutPurpose -> freeandfair , 22 Sep 2017 13:21
Bit more rhan that.
peter nelson -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 12:44
Sorry, offworldguy, but you're losing this one really badly. I'm a professional software engineer in my 60's and I know lots of non-professionals in my age range who write little programs, scripts and apps for fun. I know this because they often contact me for help or advice.

So you've now been told by several people in this thread that ordinary people do code for fun or recreation. The fact that you don't know any probably says more about your network of friends and acquaintances than about the general population.

xxxFred , 22 Sep 2017 12:18
This is one of the daftest articles I've come across in a long while.
If it's possible that so many kids can be taught to code well enough so that wages come down, then that proves that the only reason we've been paying so much for development costs is the scarcity of people able to do it, not that it's intrinsically so hard that only a select few could anyway. In which case, there is no ethical argument for keeping the pools of skilled workers to some select group. Anyone able to do it should have an equal opportunity to do it.
What is the argument for not teaching coding (other than to artificially keep wages high)? Why not stop teaching the three R's, in order to boost white-collar wages in general?
Computing is an ever-increasingly intrinsic part of life, and people need to understand it at all levels. It is not just unfair, but tantamount to neglect, to fail to teach children all the skills they may require to cope as adults.
Having said that, I suspect that in another generation or two a good many lower-level coding jobs will be redundant anyway, with such code being automatically generated, and "coders" at this level will be little more than technicians setting various parameters. Even so, understanding the basics behind computing is a part of understanding the world they live in, and every child needs that.
Suggesting that teaching coding is some kind of conspiracy to force wages down is well, it makes the moon-landing conspiracy looks sensible by comparison.
timrichardson -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 12:16
I think it is important to demystify advanced technology, I think that has importance in its own right.Plus, schools should expose kids to things which may spark their interest. Not everyone who does a science project goes on years later to get a PhD, but you'd think that it makes it more likely. Same as giving a kid some music lessons. There is a big difference between serious coding and the basic steps needed to automate a customer service team or a marketing program, but the people who have some mastery over automation will have an advantage in many jobs. Advanced machines are clearly going to be a huge part of our future. What should we do about it, if not teach kids how to understand these tools?
rogerfederere -> William Payne , 22 Sep 2017 12:13
tl;dr.
Mystik Al , 22 Sep 2017 12:08
As automation is about to put 40% of the workforce permanently out of work getting into to tech seems like a good idea!
timrichardson , 22 Sep 2017 12:04
This is like arguing that teaching kids to write is nothing more than a plot to flood the market for journalists. Teaching first aid and CPR does not make everyone a doctor.
Coding is an essential skill for many jobs already: 50 years ago, who would have thought you needed coders to make movies? Being a software engineer, a serious coder, is hard. IN fact, it takes more than technical coding to be a software engineer: you can learn to code in a week. Software Engineering is a four year degree, and even then you've just started a career. But depriving kids of some basic insights may mean they won't have the basic skills needed in the future, even for controlling their car and house. By all means, send you kids to a school that doesn't teach coding. I won't.
James Jones -> vimyvixen , 22 Sep 2017 11:41
Did you learn SNOBOL, or is Snowball a language I'm not familiar with? (Entirely possible, as an American I never would have known Extended Mercury Autocode existed we're it not for a random book acquisition at my home town library when I was a kid.)
William Payne , 22 Sep 2017 11:17
The tide that is transforming technology jobs from "white collar professional" into "blue collar industrial" is part of a larger global economic cycle.

Successful "growth" assets inevitably transmogrify into "value" and "income" assets as they progress through the economic cycle. The nature of their work transforms also. No longer focused on innovation; on disrupting old markets or forging new ones; their fundamental nature changes as they mature into optimising, cost reducing, process oriented and most importantly of all -- dividend paying -- organisations.

First, the market invests. And then, .... it squeezes.

Immature companies must invest in their team; must inspire them to be innovative so that they can take the creative risks required to create new things. This translates into high skills, high wages and "white collar" social status.

Mature, optimising companies on the other hand must necessarily avoid risks and seek variance-minimising predictability. They seek to control their human resources; to eliminate creativity; to to make the work procedural, impersonal and soulless. This translates into low skills, low wages and "blue collar" social status.

This is a fundamental part of the economic cycle; but it has been playing out on the global stage which has had the effect of hiding some of its' effects.

Over the past decades, technology knowledge and skills have flooded away from "high cost" countries and towards "best cost" countries at a historically significant rate. Possibly at the maximum rate that global infrastructure and regional skills pools can support. Much of this necessarily inhumane and brutal cost cutting and deskilling has therefore been hidden by the tide of outsourcing and offshoring. It is hard to see the nature of the jobs change when the jobs themselves are changing hands at the same time.

The ever tighter ratchet of dehumanising industrialisation; productivity and efficiency continues apace, however, and as our global system matures and evens out, we see the seeds of what we have sown sail home from over the sea.

Technology jobs in developed nations have been skewed towards "growth" activities since for the past several decades most "value" and "income" activities have been carried out in developing nations. Now, we may be seeing the early preparations for the diffusion of that skewed, uneven and unsustainable imbalance.

The good news is that "Growth" activities are not going to disappear from the world. They just may not be so geographically concentrated as they are today. Also, there is a significant and attention-worthy argument that the re-balancing of skills will result in a more flexible and performant global economy as organisations will better be able to shift a wider variety of work around the world to regions where local conditions (regulation, subsidy, union activity etc...) are supportive.

For the individuals concerned it isn't going to be pretty. And of course it is just another example of the race to the bottom that pits states and public sector purse-holders against one another to win the grace and favour of globally mobile employers.

As a power play move it has a sort of inhumanly psychotic inevitability to it which is quite awesome to observe.

I also find it ironic that the only way to tame the leviathan that is the global free-market industrial system might actually be effective global governance and international cooperation within a rules-based system.

Both "globalist" but not even slightly both the same thing.

Vereto -> Wiretrip , 22 Sep 2017 11:17
not just coders, it put even IT Ops guys into this bin. Basically good old - so you are working with computers sentence I used to hear a lot 10-15 years ago.
Sangmin , 22 Sep 2017 11:15
You can teach everyone how to code but it doesn't necessarily mean everyone will be able to work as one. We all learn math but that doesn't mean we're all mathematicians. We all know how to write but we're not all professional writers.

I have a graduate degree in CS and been to a coding bootcamp. Not everyone's brain is wired to become a successful coder. There is a particular way how coders think. Quality of a product will stand out based on these differences.

Vereto -> Jared Hall , 22 Sep 2017 11:12
Very hyperbolic is to assume that the profit in those companies is done by decreasing wages. In my company the profit is driven by ability to deliver products to the market. And that is limited by number of top people (not just any coder) you can have.
KDHughes -> kcrane , 22 Sep 2017 11:06
You realise that the arts are massively oversupplied and that most artists earn very little, if anything? Which is sort of like the situation the author is warning about. But hey, he knows nothing. Congratulations, though, on writing one of the most pretentious posts I've ever read on CIF.
offworldguy -> Melissa Boone , 22 Sep 2017 10:21
So you know kids, college age people and software developers who enjoy doing it in their leisure time? Do you know any middle aged mothers, fathers, grandparents who enjoy it and are not software developers?

Sorry, I don't see coding as a leisure pursuit that is going to take off beyond a very narrow demographic and if it becomes apparent (as I believe it will) that there is not going to be a huge increase in coding job opportunities then it will likely wither in schools too, perhaps replaced by music lessons.

Bread Eater , 22 Sep 2017 10:02
From their perspective yes. But there are a lot of opportunities in tech so it does benefit students looking for jobs.
Melissa Boone -> jamesbro , 22 Sep 2017 10:00
No, because software developer probably fail more often than they succeed. Building anything worthwhile is an iterative process. And it's not just the compiler but the other devs, oyur designer, your PM, all looking at your work.
Melissa Boone -> peterainbow , 22 Sep 2017 09:57
It's not shallow or lazy. I also work at a tech company and it's pretty common to do that across job fields. Even in HR marketing jobs, we hire students who can't point to an internship or other kind of experience in college, not simply grades.
Vereto -> savingUK , 22 Sep 2017 09:50
It will take ages, the issue of Indian programmers is in the education system and in "Yes boss" culture.

But on the other hand most of Americans are just as bad as Indians

Melissa Boone -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 09:50
A lot of people do find it fun. I know many kids - high school and young college age - who code in the leisure time because they find it pleasurable to make small apps and video games. I myself enjoy it too. Your argument is like saying since you don't like to read books in your leisure time, nobody else must.

The point is your analogy isn't a good one - people who learn to code can not only enjoy it in their spare time just like music, but they can also use it to accomplish all kinds of basic things. I have a friend who's a software developer who has used code to program his Roomba to vacuum in a specific pattern and to play Candy Land with his daughter when they lost the spinner.

Owlyrics -> CapTec , 22 Sep 2017 09:44
Creativity could be added to your list. Anyone can push a button but only a few can invent a new one.
One company in the US (after it was taken over by a new owner) decided it was more profitable to import button pushers from off-shore, they lost 7 million customers (gamers) and had to employ more of the original American developers to maintain their high standard and profits.
Owlyrics -> Maclon , 22 Sep 2017 09:40
Masters is the new Bachelors.
Maclon , 22 Sep 2017 09:22
So similar to 500k a year people going to university ( UK) now when it used to be 60k people a year( 1980). There was never enough graduate jobs in 1980 so can't see where the sudden increase in need for graduates has come from.
PaulDavisTheFirst -> Ethan Hawkins , 22 Sep 2017 09:17

They aren't really crucial pieces of technology except for their popularity

It's early in the day for me, but this is the most ridiculous thing I've read so far, and I suspect it will be high up on the list by the end of the day.

There's no technology that is "crucial" unless it's involved in food, shelter or warmth. The rest has its "crucialness" decided by how widespread its use is, and in the case of those 3 languages, the answer is "very".

You (or I) might not like that very much, but that's how it is.

Julian Williams -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 09:12
My benchmark would be if the average new graduate in the discipline earns more or less than one of the "professions", Law, medicine, Economics etc. The short answer is that they don't. Indeed, in my experience of professions, many good senior SW developers, say in finance, are paid markedly less than the marketing manager, CTO etc. who are often non-technical.

My benchmark is not "has a car, house etc." but what does 10, 15 20 years of experience in the area generate as a relative income to another profession, like being a GP or a corporate solicitor or a civil servant (which is usually the benchmark academics use for pay scaling). It is not to denigrate, just to say that markets don't always clear to a point where the most skilled are the highest paid.

I was also suggesting that even if you are not intending to work in the SW area, being able to translate your imagination into a program that reflects your ideas is a nice life skill.

AmyInNH -> freeandfair , 22 Sep 2017 09:05
Your assumption has no basis in reality. In my experience, as soon as Clinton ramped up H1Bs, my employer would invite 6 same college/degree/curriculum in for interviews, 5 citizen, 1 foreign student and default offer to foreign student without asking interviewers a single question about the interview. Eventually, the skipped the farce of interviewing citizens all together. That was in 1997, and it's only gotten worse. Wall St's been pretty blunt lately. Openly admits replacing US workers for import labor, as it's the "easiest" way to "grow" the economy, even though they know they are ousting citizens from their jobs to do so.
AmyInNH -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 08:59
"People who get Masters and PhD's in computer science" Feed western universities money, for degree programs that would otherwise not exist, due to lack of market demand. "someone has a Bachelor's in CS" As citizens, having the same college/same curriculum/same grades, as foreign grad. But as citizens, they have job market mobility, and therefore are shunned. "you can make something real and significant on your own" If someone else is paying your rent, food and student loans while you do so.
Ethan Hawkins -> farabundovive , 22 Sep 2017 07:40
While true, it's not the coders' fault. The managers and execs above them have intentionally created an environment where these things are secondary. What's primary is getting the stupid piece of garbage out the door for Q profit outlook. Ship it amd patch it.
offworldguy -> millartant , 22 Sep 2017 07:38
Do most people find it fun? I can code. I don't find it 'fun'. Thirty years ago as a young graduate I might have found it slightly fun but the 'fun' wears off pretty quick.
Ethan Hawkins -> anticapitalist , 22 Sep 2017 07:35
In my estimation PHP is an utter abomination. Python is just a little better but still very bad. Ruby is a little better but still not at all good.

Languages like PHP, Python and JS are popular for banging out prototypes and disposable junk, but you greatly overestimate their importance. They aren't really crucial pieces of technology except for their popularity and while they won't disappear they won't age well at all. Basically they are big long-lived fads. Java is now over 20 years old and while Java 8 is not crucial, the JVM itself actually is crucial. It might last another 20 years or more. Look for more projects like Ceylon, Scala and Kotlin. We haven't found the next step forward yet, but it's getting more interesting, especially around type systems.

A strong developer will be able to code well in a half dozen languages and have fairly decent knowledge of a dozen others. For me it's been many years of: Z80, x86, C, C++, Java. Also know some Perl, LISP, ANTLR, Scala, JS, SQL, Pascal, others...

millartant -> Islingtonista , 22 Sep 2017 07:26
You need a decent IDE
millartant -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 07:24

One is hardly likely to 'do a bit of coding' in ones leisure time

Why not? The right problem is a fun and rewarding puzzle to solve. I spend a lot of my leisure time "doing a bit of coding"

Ethan Hawkins -> Wiretrip , 22 Sep 2017 07:12
The worst of all are the academics (on average).
Ethan Hawkins -> KatieL , 22 Sep 2017 07:09
This makes people like me with 35 years of experience shipping products on deadlines up and down every stack (from device drivers and operating systems to programming languages, platforms and frameworks to web, distributed computing, clusters, big data and ML) so much more valuable. Been there, done that.
Ethan Hawkins -> Taylor Dotson , 22 Sep 2017 07:01
It's just not true. In SV there's this giant vacuum created by Apple, Google, FB, etc. Other good companies struggle to fill positions. I know from being on the hiring side at times.
TheBananaBender -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 07:00
You don't work for a major outsourcer then like Serco, Atos, Agilisys
offworldguy -> LabMonkey , 22 Sep 2017 06:59
Plenty of people? I don't know of a single person outside of my work which is teaming with programmers. Not a single friend, not my neighbours, not my wife or her extended family, not my parents. Plenty of people might do it but most people don't.
Ethan Hawkins -> finalcentury , 22 Sep 2017 06:56
Your ignorance of coding is showing. Coding IS creative.
Ricardo111 -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 06:56
Agreed: by gifted I did not meant innate. It's more of a mix of having the interest, the persistence, the time, the opportunity and actually enjoying that kind of challenge.

While some of those things are to a large extent innate personality traits, others are not and you don't need max of all of them, you just need enough to drive you to explore that domain.

That said, somebody that goes into coding purelly for the money and does it for the money alone is extremely unlikelly to become an exceptional coder.

Ricardo111 -> eirsatz , 22 Sep 2017 06:50
I'm as senior as they get and have interviewed quite a lot of programmers for several positions, including for Technical Lead (in fact, to replace me) and so far my experience leads me to believe that people who don't have a knack for coding are much less likely to expose themselves to many different languages and techniques, and also are less experimentalist, thus being far less likely to have those moments of transcending merely being aware of the visible and obvious to discover the concerns and concepts behind what one does. Without those moments that open the door to the next Universe of concerns and implications, one cannot do state transitions such as Coder to Technical Designer or Technical Designer to Technical Architect.

Sure, you can get the title and do the things from the books, but you will not get WHY are those things supposed to work (and when they will not work) and thus cannot adjust to new conditions effectively and will be like a sailor that can't sail away from sight of the coast since he can't navigate.

All this gets reflected in many things that enhance productivity, from the early ability to quickly piece together solutions for a new problem out of past solutions for different problems to, later, conceiving software architecture designs fittted to the typical usage pattern in the industry for which the software is going to be made.

LabMonkey , 22 Sep 2017 06:50
From the way our IT department is going, needing millions of coders is not the future. It'll be a minority of developers at the top, and an army of low wage monkeys at the bottom who can troubleshoot from a script - until AI comes along that can code faster and more accurately.
LabMonkey -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 06:46

One is hardly likely to 'do a bit of coding' in ones leisure time

Really? I've programmed a few simple videogames in my spare time. Plenty of people do.

CapTec , 22 Sep 2017 06:29
Interesting piece that's fundamentally flawed. I'm a software engineer myself. There is a reason a University education of a minimum of three years is the base line for a junior developer or 'coder'.

Software engineering isn't just writing code. I would say 80% of my time is spent designing and structuring software before I even touch the code.

Explaining software engineering as a discipline at a high level to people who don't understand it is simple.

Most of us who learn to drive learn a few basics about the mechanics of a car. We know that brake pads need to be replaced, we know that fuel is pumped into an engine when we press the gas pedal. Most of us know how to change a bulb if it blows.

The vast majority of us wouldn't be able to replace a head gasket or clutch though. Just knowing the basics isn't enough to make you a mechanic.

Studying in school isn't enough to produce software engineers. Software engineering isn't just writing code, it's cross discipline. We also need to understand the science behind the computer, we need too understand logic, data structures, timings, how to manage memory, security, how databases work etc.

A few years of learning at school isn't nearly enough, a degree isn't enough on its own due to the dynamic and ever evolving nature of software engineering. Schools teach technology that is out of date and typically don't explain the science very well.

This is why most companies don't want new developers, they want people with experience and multiple skills.

Programming is becoming cool and people think that because of that it's easy to become a skilled developer. It isn't. It takes time and effort and most kids give up.

French was on the national curriculum when I was at school. Most people including me can't hold a conversation in French though.

Ultimately there is a SKILL shortage. And that's because skill takes a long time, successes and failures to acquire. Most people just give up.

This article is akin to saying 'schools are teaching basic health to reduce the wages of Doctors'. It didn't happen.

offworldguy -> thecurio , 22 Sep 2017 06:19
There is a difference. When you teach people music you teach a skill that can be used for a lifetimes enjoyment. One might sit at a piano in later years and play. One is hardly likely to 'do a bit of coding' in ones leisure time.

The other thing is how good are people going to get at coding and how long will they retain the skill if not used? I tend to think maths is similar to coding and most adults have pretty terrible maths skills not venturing far beyond arithmetic. Not many remember how to solve a quadratic equation or even how to rearrange some algebra.

One more thing is we know that if we teach people music they will find a use for it, if only in their leisure time. We don't know that coding will be in any way useful because we don't know if there will be coding jobs in the future. AI might take over coding but we know that AI won't take over playing piano for pleasure.

If we want to teach logical thinking then I think maths has always done this and we should make sure people are better at maths.

Alex Mackaness , 22 Sep 2017 06:08
Am I missing something here? Being able to code is a skill that is a useful addition to the skill armoury of a youngster entering the work place. Much like reading, writing, maths... Not only is it directly applicable and pervasive in our modern world, it is built upon logic.

The important point is that American schools are not ONLY teaching youngsters to code, and producing one dimensional robots... instead coding makes up one part of their overall skill set. Those who wish to develop their coding skills further certainly can choose to do so. Those who specialise elsewhere are more than likely to have found the skills they learnt whilst coding useful anyway.

I struggle to see how there is a hidden capitalist agenda here. I would argue learning the basics of coding is simply becoming seen as an integral part of the school curriculum.

thecurio , 22 Sep 2017 05:56
The word "coding" is shorthand for "computer programming" or "software development" and it masks the depth and range of skills that might be required, depending on the application.

This subtlety is lost, I think, on politicians and perhaps the general public. Asserting that teaching lots of people to code is a sneaky way to commodotise an industry might have some truth to it, but remember that commodotisation (or "sharing and re-use" as developers might call it) is nothing new. The creation of freely available and re-usable software components and APIs has driven innovation, and has put much power in the hands of developers who would not otherwise have the skill or time to tackle such projects.

There's nothing to fear from teaching more people to "code", just as there's nothing to fear from teaching more people to "play music". These skills simply represent points on a continuum.

There's room for everyone, from the kid on a kazoo all the way to Coltrane at the Village Vanguard.

sbw7 -> ragingbull , 22 Sep 2017 05:44
I taught CS. Out of around 100 graduates I'd say maybe 5 were reasonable software engineers. The rest would be fine in tech support or other associated trades, but not writing software. Its not just a set of trainable skills, its a set of attitudes and ways of perceiving and understanding that just aren't that common.
offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 05:02
I can't understand the rush to teach coding in schools. First of all I don't think we are going to be a country of millions of coders and secondly if most people have the skills then coding is hardly going to be a well paid job. Thirdly you can learn coding from scratch after school like people of my generation did. You could argue that it is part of a well rounded education but then it is as important for your career as learning Shakespeare, knowing what an oxbow lake is or being able to do calculus: most jobs just won't need you to know.
savingUK -> yannick95 , 22 Sep 2017 04:35
While you roll on the floor laughing, these countries will slowly but surely get their act together. That is how they work. There are top quality coders over there and they will soon promoted into a position to organise the others.

You are probably too young to remember when people laughed at electronic products when they were made in Japan then Taiwan. History will repeat it's self.

zii000 -> JohnFreidburg , 22 Sep 2017 04:04
Yes it's ironic and no different here in the UK. Traditionally Labour was the party focused on dividing the economic pie more fairly, Tories on growing it for the benefit of all. It's now completely upside down with Tories paying lip service to the idea of pay rises but in reality supporting this deflationary race to the bottom, hammering down salaries and so shrinking discretionary spending power which forces price reductions to match and so more pressure on employers to cut costs ... ad infinitum.
Labour now favour policies which would cause an expansion across the entire economy through pay rises and dramatically increased investment with perhaps more tolerance of inflation to achieve it.
ID0193985 -> jamesbro , 22 Sep 2017 03:46
Not surprising if they're working for a company that is cold-calling people - which should be banned in my opinion. Call centres providing customer support are probably less abuse-heavy since the customer is trying to get something done.
vimyvixen , 22 Sep 2017 02:04
I taught myself to code in 1974. Fortran, COBOL were first. Over the years as a aerospace engineer I coded in numerous languages ranging from PLM, Snowball, Basic, and more assembly languages than I can recall, not to mention deep down in machine code on more architectures than most know even existed. Bottom line is that coding is easy. It doesn't take a genius to code, just another way of thinking. Consider all the bugs in the software available now. These "coders", not sufficiently trained need adult supervision by engineers who know what they are doing for computer systems that are important such as the electrical grid, nuclear weapons, and safety critical systems. If you want to program toy apps then code away, if you want to do something important learn engineering AND coding.
Dwight Spencer , 22 Sep 2017 01:44
Laughable. It takes only an above-average IQ to code. Today's coders are akin to the auto mechanics of the 1950s where practically every high school had auto shop instruction . . . nothing but a source of cheap labor for doing routine implementations of software systems using powerful code libraries built by REAL software engineers.
sieteocho -> Islingtonista , 22 Sep 2017 01:19
That's a bit like saying that calculus is more valuable than arithmetic, so why teach children arithmetic at all?

Because without the arithmetic, you're not going to get up to the calculus.

JohnFreidburg -> Tommyward , 22 Sep 2017 01:15
I disagree. Technology firms are just like other firms. Why then the collusion not to pay more to workers coming from other companies? To believe that they are anything else is naive. The author is correct. We need policies that actually grow the economy and not leaders who cave to what the CEOs want like Bill Clinton did. He brought NAFTA at the behest of CEOs and all it ended up doing was ripping apart the rust belt and ushering in Trump.
Tommyward , 22 Sep 2017 00:53
So the media always needs some bad guys to write about, and this month they seem to have it in for the tech industry. The article is BS. I interview a lot of people to join a large tech company, and I can guarantee you that we aren't trying to find cheaper labor, we're looking for the best talent.

I know that lots of different jobs have been outsourced to low cost areas, but these days the top companies are instead looking for the top talent globally.

I see this article as a hit piece against Silicon Valley, and it doesn't fly in the face of the evidence.

finalcentury , 22 Sep 2017 00:46
This has got to be the most cynical and idiotic social interest piece I have ever read in the Guardian. Once upon a time it was very helpful to learn carpentry and machining, but now, even if you are learning those, you will get a big and indispensable headstart if you have some logic and programming skills. The fact is, almost no matter what you do, you can apply logic and programming skills to give you an edge. Even journalists.
hoplites99 , 22 Sep 2017 00:02
Yup, rings true. I've been in hi tech for over 40 years and seen the changes. I was in Silicon Valley for 10 years on a startup. India is taking over, my current US company now has a majority Indian executive and is moving work to India. US politicians push coding to drive down wages to Indian levels.

On the bright side I am old enough and established enough to quit tomorrow, its someone else's problem, but I still despise those who have sold us out, like the Clintons, the Bushes, the Googoids, the Zuckerboids.

liberalquilt -> yannick95 , 21 Sep 2017 23:45
Sure markets existed before governments, but capitalism didn't, can't in fact. It needs the organs of state, the banking system, an education system, and an infrastructure.
thegarlicfarmer -> canprof , 21 Sep 2017 23:36
Then teach them other things but not coding! Here in Australia every child of school age has to learn coding. Now tell me that everyone of them will need it? Look beyond computers as coding will soon be automated just like every other job.
Islingtonista , 21 Sep 2017 22:25
If you have never coded then you will not appreciate how labour intensive it is. Coders effectively use line editors to type in, line by line, the instructions. And syntax is critical; add a comma when you meant a semicolon and the code doesn't work properly. Yeah, we use frameworks and libraries of already written subroutines, but, in the end, it is all about manually typing in the code.

Which is an expensive way of doing things (hence the attractions of 'off-shoring' the coding task to low cost economies in Asia).

And this is why teaching kids to code is a waste of time.

Already, AI based systems are addressing the task of interpreting high level design models and simply generating the required application.

One of the first uses templates and a smart chatbot to enable non-tech business people to build their websites. By describe in non-coding terms what they want, the chatbot is able to assemble the necessary components and make the requisite template amendments to build a working website.

Much cheaper than hiring expensive coders to type it all in manually.

It's early days yet, but coding may well be one of the big losers to AI automation along with all those back office clerical jobs.

Teaching kids how to think about design rather than how to code would be much more valuable.

jamesbro -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 21:31
Thick-skinned? Just because you might get a few error messages from the compiler? Call centre workers have to put up with people telling them to fuck off eight hours a day.
Joshua Ian Lee , 21 Sep 2017 21:03
Spot on. Society will never need more than 1% of its people to code. We will need far more garbage men. There are only so many (relatively) good jobs to go around and its about competing to get them.
canprof , 21 Sep 2017 20:53
I'm a professor (not of computer science) and yet, I try to give my students a basic understanding of algorithms and logic, to spark an interest and encourage them towards programming. I have no skin in the game, except that I've seen unemployment first-hand, and want them to avoid it. The best chance most of them have is to learn to code.
Evelita , 21 Sep 2017 14:35
Educating youth does not drive wages down. It drives our economy up. China, India, and other countries are training youth in programming skills. Educating our youth means that they will be able to compete globally. This is the standard GOP stand that we don't need to educate our youth, but instead fantasize about high-paying manufacturing jobs miraculously coming back.

Many jobs, including new manufacturing jobs have an element of coding because they are automated. Other industries require coding skills to maintain web sites and keep computer systems running. Learning coding skills opens these doors.

Coding teaches logic, an essential thought process. Learning to code, like learning anything, increases the brains ability to adapt to new environments which is essential to our survival as a species. We must invest in educating our youth.

cwblackwell , 21 Sep 2017 13:38
"Contrary to public perception, the economy doesn't actually need that many more programmers." This really looks like a straw man introducing a red herring. A skill can be extremely valuable for those who do not pursue it as a full time profession.

The economy doesn't actually need that many more typists, pianists, mathematicians, athletes, dietitians. So, clearly, teaching typing, the piano, mathematics, physical education, and nutrition is a nefarious plot to drive down salaries in those professions. None of those skills could possibly enrich the lives or enhance the productivity of builders, lawyers, public officials, teachers, parents, or store managers.

DJJJJJC , 21 Sep 2017 14:23

A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the supply of American college graduates with computer science degrees is 50% greater than the number hired into the tech industry each year.

You're assuming that all those people are qualified to work in software because they have a piece of paper that says so, but that's not a valid assumption. The quality of computer science degree courses is generally poor, and most people aren't willing or able to teach themselves. Universities are motivated to award degrees anyway because if they only awarded degrees to students who are actually qualified then that would reflect very poorly on their quality of teaching.

A skills shortage doesn't mean that everyone who claims to have a skill gets hired and there are still some jobs left over that aren't being done. It means that employers are forced to hire people who are incompetent in order to fill all their positions. Many people who get jobs in programming can't really do it and do nothing but create work for everyone else. That's why most of the software you use every day doesn't work properly. That's why competent programmers' salaries are still high in spite of the apparently large number of "qualified" people who aren't employed as programmers.

[Oct 01, 2017] The allure of adjuncts for neoliberal universities is that they are much cheaper than full-time staff, dont receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance

Oct 01, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Her income from teaching comes to $40,000 a year. Thats significantly more than most adjuncts: a 2014 survey found that the median income for adjuncts is only $22,041 a year, whereas for full-time faculty it is $47,500. We take a kind of vow of poverty

Recent reports have revealed the extent of poverty among professors, but the issue is longstanding. Several years ago, it was thrust into the headlines in dramatic fashion when Mary-Faith Cerasoli, an adjunct professor of Romance languages in her 50s, revealed she was homeless and protested outside the New York state education department.

We take a kind of vow of poverty to continue practicing our profession, Debra Leigh Scott, who is working on a documentary about adjuncts , said in an email. We do it because we are dedicated to scholarship, to learning, to our students and to our disciplines.

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A quarter of part-time college academics are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs

Adjuncting has grown as funding for public universities has fallen by more than a quarter between 1990 and 2009. Private institutions also recognize the allure of part-time professors: generally they are cheaper than full-time staff, dont receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance.

This is why adjuncts have been called the fast-food workers of the academic world : among labor experts adjuncting is defined as precarious employment, a growing category that includes temping and sharing-economy gigs such as driving for Uber. An American Sociological Association taskforce focusing on precarious academic jobs, meanwhile, has suggested that faculty employment is no longer a stable middle-class career .

... ... ...

If she were to lose her home her only hope, she says, would be government-subsidized housing.

Most of my colleagues are unjustifiably ashamed, she said. They take this personally, as if theyve failed, and Im always telling them, you havent failed, the system has failed you."

A precarious situation

Even more desperate are those adjuncts in substandard living spaces who cannot afford to fix them. Mindy Percival, 61, a lecturer with a doctorate from Columbia, teaches history at a state college in Florida and, in her words, lives in a shack which is in the woods in middle of nowhere.

[Oct 01, 2017] Neoliberalism Is a Political Project

Notable quotes:
"... I've always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor. ..."
"... In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. It would nip in the bud what, at that time, were revolutionary movements in much of the developing world ..."
"... So in that situation there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, What to do?. The ruling class wasn't omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism. ..."
"... The ideological front amounted to following the advice of a guy named Lewis Powell . He wrote a memo saying that things had gone too far, that capital needed a collective project. The memo helped mobilize the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. ..."
"... Ideas were also important to the ideological front. The judgment at that time was that universities were impossible to organize because the student movement was too strong and the faculty too liberal-minded, so they set up all of these think tanks like the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Ohlin Foundation. These think tanks brought in the ideas of Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and supply-side economics. ..."
"... This process took a long time. I think now we've reached a point where you don't need something like the Heritage Foundation anymore. Universities have pretty much been taken over by the neoliberal projects surrounding them. ..."
"... With respect to labor, the challenge was to make domestic labor competitive with global labor. One way was to open up immigration. In the 1960s, for example, Germans were importing Turkish labor, the French Maghrebian labor, the British colonial labor. But this created a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest. ..."
"... Instead they chose the other way -- to take capital to where the low-wage labor forces were. But for globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor. ..."
"... At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change , deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor. ..."
"... It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project ..."
"... I think they just intuitively said, We gotta crush labor, how do we do it? And they found that there was a legitimizing theory out there, which would support that. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

I've always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor.

In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. It would nip in the bud what, at that time, were revolutionary movements in much of the developing world -- Mozambique, Angola, China etc. -- but also a rising tide of communist influences in countries like Italy and France and, to a lesser degree, the threat of a revival of that in Spain.

Even in the United States, trade unions had produced a Democratic Congress that was quite radical in its intent. In the early 1970s they, along with other social movements, forced a slew of reforms and reformist initiatives which were anti-corporate: the Environmental Protection Agency , the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, consumer protections, and a whole set of things around empowering labor even more than it had been empowered before.

So in that situation there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, What to do?. The ruling class wasn't omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism.

BSR Can you talk a bit about the ideological and political fronts and the attacks on labor? DH The ideological front amounted to following the advice of a guy named Lewis Powell . He wrote a memo saying that things had gone too far, that capital needed a collective project. The memo helped mobilize the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

Ideas were also important to the ideological front. The judgment at that time was that universities were impossible to organize because the student movement was too strong and the faculty too liberal-minded, so they set up all of these think tanks like the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Ohlin Foundation. These think tanks brought in the ideas of Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and supply-side economics.

The idea was to have these think tanks do serious research and some of them did -- for instance, the National Bureau of Economic Research was a privately funded institution that did extremely good and thorough research. This research would then be published independently and it would influence the press and bit by bit it would surround and infiltrate the universities.

This process took a long time. I think now we've reached a point where you don't need something like the Heritage Foundation anymore. Universities have pretty much been taken over by the neoliberal projects surrounding them.

With respect to labor, the challenge was to make domestic labor competitive with global labor. One way was to open up immigration. In the 1960s, for example, Germans were importing Turkish labor, the French Maghrebian labor, the British colonial labor. But this created a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest.

Instead they chose the other way -- to take capital to where the low-wage labor forces were. But for globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor.

At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change , deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor.

It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project, and I think the bourgeoisie or the corporate capitalist class put it into motion bit by bit.

I don't think they started out by reading Hayek or anything, I think they just intuitively said, We gotta crush labor, how do we do it? And they found that there was a legitimizing theory out there, which would support that.

[Sep 17, 2017] The ethic of hard work , Obama, Trump and Hillary by Gaius Publius

Notable quotes:
"... If anything, the whole plagiarism scandal reflects somewhat poorly on Michelle Obama. One reason Obama's words were able to play so well at the RNC was that in the lifted passages, Obama was speaking using the conservative language of "bootstrapping." Obama's sentence, that "the only limit" to one's achievements is the height of one's goal and the "willingness to work" toward it, is the Republican story about America. It's the story of personal responsibility, in which the U.S. is overflowing with opportunity, and anyone who fails to succeed in such a land of abundance must simply not be trying hard enough. ..."
"... People on the left are supposed to know that it is a cruel lie to tell people that all they need to do is work hard. There are plenty of people with dreams who work very hard indeed but get nothing, because the American economy is fundamentally skewed and unfair. This rhetoric, about "hard work" being the only thing needed for the pursuit of prosperity, is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country. It's a fact that those who work the hardest in this country, those come home from work exhausted and who break their backs to feed their families, are almost always rewarded the least. Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?" ..."
"... This is, of course, the myth of "meritocracy" that Thomas Frank has exposed with scalpel-like precision in his latest book Listen, Liberal . It's clear that the Democratic Party, at its core, believes with Michelle (and Barack) Obama the comfortable and self-serving lie that no individual has anyone to blame but herself if she fails to achieve high goals. She should just have reached higher; she should just have worked harder. ..."
"... It's not only a lie, it's a "cruel lie," as Nimni says. So why is she, Michelle Obama, telling it? Clearly it serves her interests, her husband's interests, her party's interests, to tell the "rich person's lie," that his or her achievement came from his or her own efforts. To call most people's success a product of luck (right color, right gender, right country, right neighborhood, right schools, right set of un-birth-damaged brain cells) or worse, inheritance (right parents), identifies the fundamental unfairness of our supposed "meritocratic" system of allocating wealth and undercuts the "goodness," if you look at it writ large, of predatory capitalism. By that measure, neither the very wealthy themselves (Charles Koch, Jamie Dimon) nor those who serve them (Barack Obama et al ) are "good" in any moral sense. ..."
"... U.S. cultural norms, as the piece describes accurately, glorify and misrepresent "work" especially of the "hard" kind. Hmm I wonder where that notion came from and why it gained such a foothold in the prevailing groupthink? ..."
"... The present regime of "teach to the test" here in America almost completely short circuits the teaching of critical thinking skills. With stressed parents increasingly abdicating their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their offspring in favour of the State, is it any wonder that the narrow interests of the State, such as the Iron Law of Institutions, are supplanting enlightenment in the minds of the young? We now must begin to consider the divergence of the interests of the Society from the interests of the State. With the balance of power swinging heavily in favour of the State these recent decades, I am not sanguine about the near term future of our culture. ..."
"... As is so often the case in American culture, the "hard work" meme emerges from the slave system. Slaves had to be bullied and terrorized in order to extract "hard work" from them, given that they had zero rewards of any tangible sort for it. So "hard work" required constant vigilance and frequent punishments while slaves rationally attempted to do the least amount of work that enabled them to escape the many types of tortures they were regularly threatened with. ..."
"... Then after "emancipation," plantation owners complained that they could not get any of those lazy, shiftless Negroes to perform "hard work" for them, given that the newly freed men and women were much more interested in getting ahead for themselves than continuing to pick cotton or harvest rice for starvation wages. ..."
"... I don't think you are over-simplifying, Clive–in Hong Kong, too, my experience has been that most people I deal with in the work world take a great deal of intrinsic pride in doing a job efficiently and well, for its own sake, not because it will necessarily make you more money. ..."
"... What I'm starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump's kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail. ..."
"... the genesis of the "plagiarism" attacks. The mud slinging has started early in this campaign. However, if Trumps' family can exude some sense of charm and class, the entire mud slinging strategy can be 'stood on its' head.' ..."
"... Me, I'm terrified of Hillary Clinton and the devastation that her ascension to the Presidency might bring to this nation and to the world. She is not only a liar, a blatantly self-dealing criminal, but more devastating yet, a sociopath of the first water, willing to walk across the bodies to advance her personal and class agenda. ..."
"... Her time as President would go a long way toward cementing the Unitary Executive in place (i.e., a functional Dictator, as understood in the Roman Republican meaning of the term, a Tribune, in which a chief magistrate of the State like the President under our Constitution, whose writ as an authoritarian ruler ran so long as there was a national emergency. I serve as the clerk for government documents in a university law library, and I can tell you that the number of House Documents announcing a "National Emergency" or the continuation of a previously announced "National Emergency" is very alarming. These "emergencies" are the camel's nose under the tent in my estimation for the slow accretion of Dictatorial powers (again, in the Roman Republican sense of the term "dictator") toward the Caesar-like role of Unitary Executive. These "National Emergencies" functionally invest power into the hands of the President and those forces military, legal, and regulatory under the control of the Executive by which the President can wage military, legal/diplomatic, and economic warfare against those who refuse to bend the knee to US-dominated global hegemony. ..."
"... Hillary is practically salivating to grasp the rod of power embodied in the Unitary Executive. Warfare will follow her tenure in office like a dire shadow, and due to her belief in the right of and necessity of the US to enforce a global hegemony, she is inevitably moving toward a deadly clash with other nuclear powers unwilling to submit to the yoke of globalized, stateless, culturally-anodyne finance capitalism. Good times await. ..."
"... "Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force." ..."
"... That allows individuals to claim they had no responsibility for the war, something Pence and Clinton cannot claim because of their votes. But on what other things do you see Obama as being a strong "unitary executive." I thought it was generally viewed that Congress had thwarted his (almost) every wish. ..."
"... And how about that patriot act renewal, US out of iraq/afganistan? Vicky nuland and the ukraine? I guess the problem is that you get your information as it is generally viewed, but you fail to indicate who it is that generally views things that way, however, it should help you understand why trump will win because hillary is generally viewed as corrupt. ..."
"... I'm intrigued by author's concluding idea. "It involves another attempt to take over the Republican Party, this time by the Clinton-led Democratic leadership. " ..."
"... And if the words were lies coming out of Obama's mouth, what are they coming out of Trump's mouth? ..."
"... "Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?" ..."
"... A lot of this is related to the Democrats and what Bill made "successful" with his presidency. The lack of a truly left party that works for average citizens has created this environment when a character like Trump can gain such support. This article illustrates but another example of meritocratic nonsense being regurgitated by the party. ..."
"... A thought-provoking and unexpected take, Gaius Publius. I was struck by one item left off your list of lucky attributes: beauty. Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are undeniably beautiful women -– tall, slim, with the elegantly symmetrical features prized in every culture. Sadly in beauty-obsessed America the doors opened for women who look this lovely are shut hard against women who are fat, or old, or ugly. ..."
"... I had pretty much the exact same thought as your second "blackbird" when the video of Melania Trump plagiarizing Michele Obama's speech and all my liberal friends were yuking it up. All I could think was "If the same speech could plausibly come out of either of their mouths without alienating the audience, we have much worse problems than her Mrs. Trump's copycating." The fact that this seemed to bother hardly anyone else made it worse. So much of these elections just get reduced down to rooting for your team at a sporting event. This works well to keep people from having to deal with a lot of unpleasant questions and conclusions. ..."
"... Read Roosevelt's speech, Trump certainly did, for some real fear mongering and look at the coalition he has taken over the Republican party to form. FDR 1932. ..."
"... > "another attempt to take over the Republican Party" Which shouldn't be that hard, since both the Democrat and Republican parties are neoliberal. As always, the real enemy is the left. ..."
"... I'm surprised Gaius failed to address this portion of Michelle's speech which he quoted: "tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect." Since when has Obama told the truth, or kept his promises, or treated anyone except Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blanfein with respect? ..."
"... Put aside whether "Michelle Obama" or some speechwriting merc came up with the banal verbiage redolent of Sunday school and Horatio Alger. What gives the snippet its special Trumpian turn into hyper-unreality, an ever-expanding balloon of hot boast and hyperbolic deceit, is the way it transcends garden-variety plagiarism by laying claim to the very virtues that the appropriation itself falsifies. ..."
"... That's chutzpah! The stunning effrontery supersizes an overall meta-ness that's less indicative of middle-class morality and meritocracy than the predatory opportunism of the exploitative rich, what C. Wright Mills might have recognized as the "higher immorality." Here we have a colossally vain billionaire atop an empire of glitz and privilege kayfabing his way to a party nomination as the indignant voice of the brutalized working class he's dedicated his life to disparaging as envious losers. The mind reels between giddiness and nausea. ..."
"... You can't forever distract it away with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and color counter-revolutions against exploitative freeloaders (the non-rich and famous ones, that is). It takes an philosophy of human worth apart from vanities over this or that temporarily adaptive skill or happy accident. ..."
"... I think Oren Nimni basically gets it right: When you cut through the tautologies and the bromides that many parents deliver to their children, what you have is the message, "don't expect government to be there for you; those days are over" (which, actually, sounds like Bubba Bill's pitch–"the day's of big government are over"). ..."
"... If you work hard enough and have enough ambition you will succeed is not a lie to those born on 3rd base, it was true for them. The Obama's the Trumps. They are really just guilty of not understanding the plight of those who were born at bat against a major league pitcher. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

naked capitalism

Gaius Publius Two Ways of Looking at a Plagiarism

Oren Nimni: Obama's statement "is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country"

The fact that Michelle Obama's statement is blatantly false (and that a woman of color in the United States said it) is revealing. Current Affairs writer Oren Nimni on that (emphasis in original):

If anything, the whole plagiarism scandal reflects somewhat poorly on Michelle Obama. One reason Obama's words were able to play so well at the RNC was that in the lifted passages, Obama was speaking using the conservative language of "bootstrapping." Obama's sentence, that "the only limit" to one's achievements is the height of one's goal and the "willingness to work" toward it, is the Republican story about America. It's the story of personal responsibility, in which the U.S. is overflowing with opportunity, and anyone who fails to succeed in such a land of abundance must simply not be trying hard enough.

People on the left are supposed to know that it is a cruel lie to tell people that all they need to do is work hard. There are plenty of people with dreams who work very hard indeed but get nothing, because the American economy is fundamentally skewed and unfair. This rhetoric, about "hard work" being the only thing needed for the pursuit of prosperity, is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country. It's a fact that those who work the hardest in this country, those come home from work exhausted and who break their backs to feed their families, are almost always rewarded the least.

Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?"

This is, of course, the myth of "meritocracy" that Thomas Frank has exposed with scalpel-like precision in his latest book Listen, Liberal . It's clear that the Democratic Party, at its core, believes with Michelle (and Barack) Obama the comfortable and self-serving lie that no individual has anyone to blame but herself if she fails to achieve high goals. She should just have reached higher; she should just have worked harder.

It's not only a lie, it's a "cruel lie," as Nimni says. So why is she, Michelle Obama, telling it? Clearly it serves her interests, her husband's interests, her party's interests, to tell the "rich person's lie," that his or her achievement came from his or her own efforts. To call most people's success a product of luck (right color, right gender, right country, right neighborhood, right schools, right set of un-birth-damaged brain cells) or worse, inheritance (right parents), identifies the fundamental unfairness of our supposed "meritocratic" system of allocating wealth and undercuts the "goodness," if you look at it writ large, of predatory capitalism. By that measure, neither the very wealthy themselves (Charles Koch, Jamie Dimon) nor those who serve them (Barack Obama et al ) are "good" in any moral sense.

(The idea of the supposed "goodness" of the successful capitalist, by the way, his supposed "greater morality," goes all the way back to the 18th Century attempt of the wealthy to counter the 17th Century bleakness of Protestant predestination. How could people, especially the very rich, know whether they are among the "elect" or the damned? God gives them wealth as a sign of his plans for them, just as God gives them morally deficient poverty-wage workers to take advantage of.)

Clive , July 22, 2016 at 4:27 am

There's also a flip side to the main point drawn out in the above article ("if you work hard you'll be successful and rewarded") which, dare I say, is rarely mentioned and even an anathema in U.S. culture (not, mind you, that I think British culture isn't going the same way so I am not trying to throw stones in this glass house).

Which is: quite often, you are rewarded if you don't "work hard" and even if you work somewhat "hard" the rewards you receive are out of all proportion to the effort you have to make. But no-one (or few people) are willing to admit, if they are in that position, that - to put it crudely - they are really doing bugger all but raking it in.

I, for example, do very little. What I do do certainly isn't "hard work". Now, I have expended a certain amount of mental effort on understanding the system - the dynamic - in play at my employer. And how to successfully exploit that to gain the maximum amount of financial reward for the least amount of effort. But I would hardly call that "work", and certainly it is not of "hard" variety.

U.S. cultural norms, as the piece describes accurately, glorify and misrepresent "work" especially of the "hard" kind. Hmm I wonder where that notion came from and why it gained such a foothold in the prevailing groupthink?

In Japanese culture, to introduce another nuance, the concept of "hard work" is still present as a thing to be looked up to but it is more tinged with an air of "doing your best" or "doing your upmost" rather than "hard" (i.e. demanding) work and lacks the "you're going to get the payoff if you do" quid pro quo. The reward, in Japanese culture, comes from knowing you've done the best you can which is more a personal satisfaction than a financial compensator. But I am glossing over some complexity here so do not view what I've just said in this paragraph as anything other than a simplification.

ambrit , July 22, 2016 at 5:02 am

May I suggest that the "simplification" you mention is an essential part of any group control strategy. Simplified thinking may work wonders in efficiency studies or some sorts of high energy physics, but in the realm of social relations, simplicity masks diversity and complexity to the detriment of any version of "truth." I was lucky in having skeptical parents and some excellent minds among my High School teachers. The present regime of "teach to the test" here in America almost completely short circuits the teaching of critical thinking skills. With stressed parents increasingly abdicating their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their offspring in favour of the State, is it any wonder that the narrow interests of the State, such as the Iron Law of Institutions, are supplanting enlightenment in the minds of the young? We now must begin to consider the divergence of the interests of the Society from the interests of the State. With the balance of power swinging heavily in favour of the State these recent decades, I am not sanguine about the near term future of our culture.

timotheus , July 22, 2016 at 7:43 am

As is so often the case in American culture, the "hard work" meme emerges from the slave system. Slaves had to be bullied and terrorized in order to extract "hard work" from them, given that they had zero rewards of any tangible sort for it. So "hard work" required constant vigilance and frequent punishments while slaves rationally attempted to do the least amount of work that enabled them to escape the many types of tortures they were regularly threatened with.

Then after "emancipation," plantation owners complained that they could not get any of those lazy, shiftless Negroes to perform "hard work" for them, given that the newly freed men and women were much more interested in getting ahead for themselves than continuing to pick cotton or harvest rice for starvation wages. Ever since, we have lived with the embittered voice of the slaveowner infuriated at the loss of all that labor power he once had at his disposal for free. Thus the mythology that "hard work" is all you need to perform to get ahead and the implicit wink-wink-we-know-who-won't-do-that racism that goes along with it.

MsExPat , July 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

I don't think you are over-simplifying, Clive–in Hong Kong, too, my experience has been that most people I deal with in the work world take a great deal of intrinsic pride in doing a job efficiently and well, for its own sake, not because it will necessarily make you more money. (Although often that is the result– over-performing and exceeding expectations is a great way of ensuring repeat customers and a thriving business.)

Coming from the US, where every corporate smile and "Have a Nice Day" is being recorded for performance review, I find this a most refreshing cultural trait, one that I have tried my best to assimilate.

Uahsenaa , July 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

I would add to what Clive said that in Japan the ganbare ethos is also underlined by a certain expectation that your wider social group will back you up, or at least make certain your life doesn't fall off a cliff. This doesn't always work in practice, and there are obvious examples of social groups that the Japanese polity like to pretend simply doesn't exist, but it is a cultural expectation. You even see it among homeless camps in Japan, which constitute a very clear in group.

In the US, a great of anxiety stems from the realization that you could do your best in all circumstances and still have your life fall apart, since that social backstop just isn't there, especially not in the world of meritocracy, in which you're expected to basically give up your pre-existing social networks in order to even participate.

Portia , July 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I remember one job where my Boss warned me: "Nice guys finish last here."

Nice of him, eh?

Figure out the culture of your workplace, and if you can stomach it, do what you have to do to succeed. This is what the Obamas and the Clintons have done. And geez, they can stomach a lot. But I do know people who have "worked hard" and been successful in their own businesses, and musicians are a prime example of having to really do the work to get the work. It's who you want to be recognized by, in my way of thinking.

ewmayer , July 22, 2016 at 4:37 am

I often think the better saying would be "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make outrageously successful."

With outrageous – as in wildly-disproportionate-to-effort-and-actual-talent – success comes a sense of infallibility, inevitability, hubris. A self-centered personality-cult delusion – ergo a form of madness – which often ends in a spectacular undoing. Alas, not nearly often enough, when it comes to the DC cabal of hubristic upward-failing sociopaths.

GOP convention finished with a bang tonight, and thankfully the dire pre-convention worries about the streets of Cleveland flowing with rivers of blood proved unfounded – I'd studiously avoided the previous evenings, aside from a few brief nauseating while-channel-flipping glimpses – but happened to catch Trump himself tonight. While I disliked Trump's police-centric take on American security at home, I thought he really effectively hammered the issues of economic inequality – including a mention of soaring unemployment rates in the latino and black communities (I wish he would have said more in that vein, but he did at least say something) and governmental corruption at the highest levels, as well as Hillary's multiple foreign-policy debacles; the whole "what has 15 years of blowing shit up in the middle east done for us?" issue. Also made a very pronounced point of embracing Sanders' "top issue" of bad so-called-free-trade deals, while emphasizing the degree to which things were rigged against Bernie. And closed with a nifty turning of Hillary's pet slogan against her [I paraphrase, too tired to dig the exact quote out]: "she demands a three-word loyalty oath 'I`m with her' well I'm here to tell you tonight that I'm with you ."

And the speeches by his kids (Donald Jr last night, Ivanka tonight) were both good, and I think likely surprising – in a positive way – to many people. The image of the whole family onstage post-speech will likely resonate with the traditional Republican base – clean-cut successful-looking guys and attractive ladies of a leggy-blond (but not Barbie-esque/ditzy) type I expect even folks of a conservative Mormon bent will have found something to like in that image. Scott Adams comments on the kids :

What I'm starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump's kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail.

Would be interested to hear the takes of other NC readers who watched the nomination acceptance speech.

ambrit , July 22, 2016 at 5:20 am

Re "..a minority of one.." At least you go in for nuance and reflection. My take on H Clinton and her claque is that they all perceive the Candidate as a 'majority of one.'
Your comment about the wife of Trump reminds me of the old saying by Caesar that : " Caesars' wife must be above suspicion." Thus, the genesis of the "plagiarism" attacks. The mud slinging has started early in this campaign. However, if Trumps' family can exude some sense of charm and class, the entire mud slinging strategy can be 'stood on its' head.'

JerseyJeffersonian , July 22, 2016 at 9:28 am

Me, I'm terrified of Hillary Clinton and the devastation that her ascension to the Presidency might bring to this nation and to the world. She is not only a liar, a blatantly self-dealing criminal, but more devastating yet, a sociopath of the first water, willing to walk across the bodies to advance her personal and class agenda.

Her time as President would go a long way toward cementing the Unitary Executive in place (i.e., a functional Dictator, as understood in the Roman Republican meaning of the term, a Tribune, in which a chief magistrate of the State like the President under our Constitution, whose writ as an authoritarian ruler ran so long as there was a national emergency. I serve as the clerk for government documents in a university law library, and I can tell you that the number of House Documents announcing a "National Emergency" or the continuation of a previously announced "National Emergency" is very alarming. These "emergencies" are the camel's nose under the tent in my estimation for the slow accretion of Dictatorial powers (again, in the Roman Republican sense of the term "dictator") toward the Caesar-like role of Unitary Executive. These "National Emergencies" functionally invest power into the hands of the President and those forces military, legal, and regulatory under the control of the Executive by which the President can wage military, legal/diplomatic, and economic warfare against those who refuse to bend the knee to US-dominated global hegemony.

Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force. This gives the Executive carte blanche to engage in unending wars (beginning to sound familiar?) with all that that implies concerning the dominance of the MIC in the formulation of national policies.

Hillary is practically salivating to grasp the rod of power embodied in the Unitary Executive. Warfare will follow her tenure in office like a dire shadow, and due to her belief in the right of and necessity of the US to enforce a global hegemony, she is inevitably moving toward a deadly clash with other nuclear powers unwilling to submit to the yoke of globalized, stateless, culturally-anodyne finance capitalism. Good times await.

And that is only the beginning, as the plans she has for the US citizenry are scarcely less dire, what with the inevitability of the Grand Bargain in service of Finance Capitalism looming dead ahead.

Clinton delenda est.

Russ Zimmerman , July 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

"Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force."

That allows individuals to claim they had no responsibility for the war, something Pence and Clinton cannot claim because of their votes. But on what other things do you see Obama as being a strong "unitary executive." I thought it was generally viewed that Congress had thwarted his (almost) every wish.

flora , July 22, 2016 at 10:54 am

This seems pretty strong. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-kill-list-doj-memo

tegnost , July 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

Indeed, the republicans twisted barack's arm behind his back and forced him to allow insurance company lobbyists to write the "Affordable Care Act". Since you have tsa pre check I'll guess that your cadillac plan is still operational, or if not that that all the people who pay for insurance they can't use are subsidising you, and your own health care costs have been ameliorated. They also forced him to nominate merrick garland. They forced him to foam the runway for the banks and forced him to let all the bankster crimes go unpunished. My view is that obama, like hillary, is a republican because for both of them the policies they worked to advance are republican policies. TPP, ISDS, ACA, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning I could go on and on. I agree with the author that dems like obama and hillary are interested in serving the top sliver of the population that has the lions share of the wealth. It's not right/left anymore, it's top/bottom .

And how about that patriot act renewal, US out of iraq/afganistan? Vicky nuland and the ukraine? I guess the problem is that you get your information as it is generally viewed, but you fail to indicate who it is that generally views things that way, however, it should help you understand why trump will win because hillary is generally viewed as corrupt.

flora , July 22, 2016 at 5:59 am

I think both Obama and Trump were reciting a standard variation of the American Dream™. Horatio Alger stories are part of the US mythos. Bill Clinton used a variation in 1992. Most US pols use the "up from nothing by dint of hard work and good morals" line. The flap is that O and T used the exact same words instead of noting that the sentiment itself is boilerplate?

I'm intrigued by author's concluding idea. "It involves another attempt to take over the Republican Party, this time by the Clinton-led Democratic leadership. "

Roger Smith , July 22, 2016 at 7:16 am

" And if the words were lies coming out of Obama's mouth, what are they coming out of Trump's mouth? "

They are still lies, but they are lies in keeping with the ideology that dominates the party of which Trump is the nominee. Nimni summarized this well:

"Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?"

A lot of this is related to the Democrats and what Bill made "successful" with his presidency. The lack of a truly left party that works for average citizens has created this environment when a character like Trump can gain such support. This article illustrates but another example of meritocratic nonsense being regurgitated by the party.

jrs , July 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

I think she initially claimed she wrote it didn't she? But yea it's clearly silly coming out of her mouth. Although being a model may be hard work (it could very well be frankly), she hasn't worked hard for years by now, and didn't get into such a privileged position by hard work (in whose definition exactly does marrying money count as hard work?).

So while in Michelle Obama's mouth the words are a lie, at least they might be a lie that's kind of true for her, in Misses Trumps mouth it's beyond silly. I have no idea if Mr Inherited Wealth and Misses Married Money do raise their kids that way or not. Wow the rich are crazy!!!

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 6:16 am

A thought-provoking and unexpected take, Gaius Publius. I was struck by one item left off your list of lucky attributes: beauty. Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are undeniably beautiful women -– tall, slim, with the elegantly symmetrical features prized in every culture. Sadly in beauty-obsessed America the doors opened for women who look this lovely are shut hard against women who are fat, or old, or ugly.

MsExPat , July 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

+ Good point. Jane Sanders was repeatedly ridiculed for her appearance by pro-Hillary twitter bots during Bernie's campaign , and I doubt that would have happened had she been young, fashionable and svelte.

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

There is a strong correlation between height and compensation. "When it comes to height, every inch counts–in fact, in the workplace, each inch above average may be worth $789 more per year, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 89, No. 3).

The findings suggest that someone who is 6 feet tall earns, on average, nearly $166,000 more during a 30-year career than someone who is 5 feet 5 inches–even when controlling for gender, age and weight."
http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/standing.aspx

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

That apparently is not true. One study of lawyers "found that those rated attractive on the basis of their graduation photographs went on to earn higher salaries than their less well-favoured colleagues. Moreover, lawyers in private practice tended to be better looking than those working in government departments." Even among economists, beauty pays and "attractive candidates were more successful in elections for office in the American Economic Association." http://www.economist.com/node/10311266

Roquentin , July 22, 2016 at 7:56 am

I had pretty much the exact same thought as your second "blackbird" when the video of Melania Trump plagiarizing Michele Obama's speech and all my liberal friends were yuking it up. All I could think was "If the same speech could plausibly come out of either of their mouths without alienating the audience, we have much worse problems than her Mrs. Trump's copycating." The fact that this seemed to bother hardly anyone else made it worse. So much of these elections just get reduced down to rooting for your team at a sporting event. This works well to keep people from having to deal with a lot of unpleasant questions and conclusions.

Or worse still, they've become so used to neoliberal platitudes like "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" that it's become "common sense" or the don't even recognize it as such.

A forgotten man , July 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

In case you missed it, T's entire speech was about the "forgotten man," those that work hard and still cannot make a living wage. The height of their dreams count for nothing. The system is rigged. Read Roosevelt's speech, Trump certainly did, for some real fear mongering and look at the coalition he has taken over the Republican party to form. FDR 1932.

Lambert Strether , July 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

> "another attempt to take over the Republican Party" Which shouldn't be that hard, since both the Democrat and Republican parties are neoliberal. As always, the real enemy is the left.

Jess , July 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

I'm surprised Gaius failed to address this portion of Michelle's speech which he quoted: "tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect."

Since when has Obama told the truth, or kept his promises, or treated anyone except Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blanfein with respect?

dingusansich , July 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm

you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise

Put aside whether "Michelle Obama" or some speechwriting merc came up with the banal verbiage redolent of Sunday school and Horatio Alger. What gives the snippet its special Trumpian turn into hyper-unreality, an ever-expanding balloon of hot boast and hyperbolic deceit, is the way it transcends garden-variety plagiarism by laying claim to the very virtues that the appropriation itself falsifies.

That's chutzpah! The stunning effrontery supersizes an overall meta-ness that's less indicative of middle-class morality and meritocracy than the predatory opportunism of the exploitative rich, what C. Wright Mills might have recognized as the "higher immorality." Here we have a colossally vain billionaire atop an empire of glitz and privilege kayfabing his way to a party nomination as the indignant voice of the brutalized working class he's dedicated his life to disparaging as envious losers. The mind reels between giddiness and nausea.

What then exists outside the genteel social Darwinism of meritocratic ideology and further descent into a society of the spectacle, the Reaganite sitcom devolved into the Trump unreality show? To the gnomic, sidelong mysticism of Stevens let's add the frontal transvaluation of a sardonic Shaw:

What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I'm one of the undeserving poor: that's what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he's up agen middle class morality all the time. If there's anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it's always the same story: 'You're undeserving; so you can't have it.' But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow's that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don't need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don't eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, cause I'm a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything.

Governors both, Democrats and Republicans, the meritocrats and the masters. What must be taken in is that the unskilled, the uneducated, the out of step, the unlucky, all need the means to live. If that's taken from them by the self-described deserving on the Acela and the higher immoralists in their towers and Gulfstreams, a democracy will begin to wobble like a spinning coin on the verge. You can't educate that away. You can't forever distract it away with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and color counter-revolutions against exploitative freeloaders (the non-rich and famous ones, that is). It takes an philosophy of human worth apart from vanities over this or that temporarily adaptive skill or happy accident.

When the market is be all and end all, an expression of natural law and supernatural giver of meaning, it's hard to see how even a managed, minimal democracy can prevail except as grotesque, corrupt parody, a mood traced in the shadow a decipherable cause. Or did I read something like that somewhere, like in a poem?

George S , July 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I don't recall Ms. Obama's speech. Based on the excerpts I heard during the recent news cycle (from both speeches) were pathetic. I think Oren Nimni basically gets it right: When you cut through the tautologies and the bromides that many parents deliver to their children, what you have is the message, "don't expect government to be there for you; those days are over" (which, actually, sounds like Bubba Bill's pitch–"the day's of big government are over").

... ... ...

Tim , July 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

If you work hard enough and have enough ambition you will succeed is not a lie to those born on 3rd base, it was true for them. The Obama's the Trumps. They are really just guilty of not understanding the plight of those who were born at bat against a major league pitcher.

... ... ...

[Aug 24, 2017] Sacrificing Smart Asians to Keep the Racial Peace - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... This peace-keeping aspect of affirmative action understood, perhaps we ought to view those smart Asians unfairly rejected from Ivy League schools as sacrificial lambs. ..."
Aug 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace and, as such, has nothing to do with racial justice, the putative benefits of diversity or any other standard justification. It is this peace- keeping function that explains why the entire establishment, from mega corporations to the military, endorses constitutionally iffy racial discrimination and why questioning diversity's benefits is the most grievous of all PC sins. Stated in cost-benefit terms, denying a few hundred (even a few thousand) high-SAT scoring Asians an Ivy League diploma and instead forcing them attend Penn State is a cheap price to pay for social peace.

This argument rests on an indisputable reality that nearly all societies contain distinct ethnic or religious groups who must be managed for the sake of collective peace. They typically lack the ability to economically compete, may embrace values that contravene the dominant ethos, or otherwise just refuse to assimilate. What makes management imperative is the possibility of violence either at an individual level, for example, randomly stabbing total strangers, or on a larger scale, riots and insurrections. Thus, in the grand scheme of modern America's potentially explosive race relations, academically accomplished Asians, most of whom are politically quiescent, are expendable, collateral damage in the battle to sustain a shaky status quo.

Examples of such to-be-managed groups abound. Recall our own tribulations with violent Indian tribes well into the 19 th century or what several European nations currently face with Muslims or today's civil war in Burma with the Karen People. Then there's Turkey's enduring conflict with the Kurds and long before the threat of Islamic terrorism, there were Basque separatists (the ETA ), and the Irish Republican Army . In the past 45 years, there have been more than 16,000 terror attacks in Western Europe according to the Global Terrorism Database . At a lower levels add the persistently criminal Gypsies who for 500 years have resisted all efforts to assimilate them. This listing is, of course, only a tiny sampling of distinct indigestible violence-prone groups.

The repertoire of remedies, successful and failed, is also extensive. Our native-American problem has, sad to say, been largely solved by the use of apartheid-like reservations and incapacitating a once war-like people with drugs and alcohol. Elsewhere generous self-rule has done the trick, for example, the Basques in Spain. A particularly effective traditional solution is to promote passivity by encouraging religious acceptance of one's lowly state.

Now to the question at hand: what is to be done regarding American blacks, a group notable for its penchant for violence whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs.

To appreciate the value of affirmative action recall the urban riots of the 1960s. They have almost been forgotten but their sheer number during that decade would shock those grown accustomed to today's relative tranquility. A sampling of cities with major riots includes Rochester, NY, New York City, Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA, Cleveland, OH, Newark, NJ, Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC and several smaller cities.

The damage from these riots! "uprisings" or "rebellions" according to some!was immense. For example, the Detroit riot of 1967 lasted five days and quelling it required the intervention of the Michigan Army National Guard and both the 82 nd and 101 st Airborne divisions. When it finally ended, the death toll was 43, some 7200 were arrested and more than 2000 buildings destroyed. Alas, much of this devastation remains visible today and should be a reminder of what could happen absent a policy of cooling out black anger.

To correctly understand how racial preferences at elite colleges serves as a cost-effective solution to potential domestic violence, recall the quip by comedian Henny Youngman when asked "How's your wife?" He responded with, "Compared to what?" This logic reflects a hard truth: when confronting a sizable, potentially disruptive population unable or unwilling to assimilate, a perfect solution is beyond reach. Choices are only among the lesser of evils and, to repeat, under current conditions, race-driven affirmative action is conceivably the best of the worst. A hard-headed realist would draw a parallel with how big city merchants survive by paying off the police, building and food inspectors, and the Mafia. Racial preferences are just one more item on the cost-of-doing business list–the Danegeld .

In effect, racial preferences in elite higher education (and beneficiaries includes students, professors and the diversity-managing administrators) separates the top 10% measured in cognitive ability from their more violent down market racial compatriots. While this manufactured caste-like arrangement hardly guarantees racial peace (as the black-on-white crime rate, demonstrates) but it pretty much dampens the possibility of more collective, well-organized related upheavals, the types of disturbances that truly terrify the white establishment. Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner. This status driven divide just reflects human nature. Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's left behind in the Hood? This is the strategy of preventing a large-scale, organized rebellion by decapitating its potential leadership. Violence is now just Chicago or Baltimore-style gang-banger intra-racial mayhem or various lone-wolf criminal attacks on whites.

Co-optation is a staple in the political management repertoire. The Soviet Union adsorbed what they called the "leading edge" into the Party (anyone exceptionally accomplished, from chess grandmasters or world-class athletes) to widen the divide the dominant elite, i.e., the Party, and hoi polloi. Election systems can be organized to guarantee a modicum of power to a handful of potential disruptors and with this position comes ample material benefits (think Maxine Waters). Monarchies have similarly managed potential strife by bestowing honors and titles on commoners. It is no accident that many radicals are routinely accused of "selling out" by their former colleagues in arms. In most instances the accusation is true, and this is by design.

To appreciate the advantages of the racial preferences in higher education consider Henny's "compared to what"? part of his quip. Certainly what successfully worked for quelling potential Native American violence, e.g., forced assimilation in "Indian Schools" or confinement in pathology-breeding reservations, is now totally beyond the pale though, to be sure, some inner-cities dominated by public housing are increasingly coming to resemble pathology-inducing Indian reservations. Even less feasible is some legally mandated homeland of the types advocated by Black Muslims.

I haven't done the math but I would guess that the entire educational racial spoils system is far more cost effective than creating a garrison state or a DDR-like police state where thousands of black trouble-makers were quickly incarcerated. Perhaps affirmative action in general should be viewed as akin to a nuisance tax, probably less than 5% of our GDP.

To be sure, affirmative action at elite universities is only one of today's nostrums to quell potential large scale race-related violence. Other tactics include guaranteeing blacks elected offices, even if this requires turning a blind eye toward election fraud, and quickly surrendering to blacks who demand awards and honors on the basis of skin color. Perhaps a generous welfare system could be added to this keep-the-peace list. Nevertheless, when all added up, the costs would be far lowers than dealing with widespread 1960s style urban violence.

This peace-keeping aspect of affirmative action understood, perhaps we ought to view those smart Asians unfairly rejected from Ivy League schools as sacrificial lambs. Now, given all the billions that have been saved, maybe a totally free ride at lesser schools would be a small price to pay for their dissatisfaction (and they would also be academic stars at such schools). Of course this "Asian only" compensatory scholarship might be illegal under the color blind requirements of 1964 Civil Right Act, but fear not, devious admission officers will figure out a way around the law.

Carlton Meyer > , Website August 16, 2017 at 4:21 am GMT

This 18 second video clip is a great real world summary:

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 4:56 am GMT

Interesting take. But risky because :

1) Asians will grow in power, and either force more fairness towards themselves, or return to Asia.
2) WN idiots happy about Asians returning to Asia fail to see that Asians will return only when they control enough of America to manage large parts of it from afar (like the tech industry).
3) 2-3 million top caliber white male Western Expats might just move to Asia, since they may like Asian women more, and want to be free of SJW idiocy. This is all it takes to fill the alleged gap Asia has in creativity, marketing, and sales expertise. Asia effectively decapitates the white West by taking in their best young men and giving them a great life in Asia.
4) America becomes like Brazil with all economic value colonized by Asians and the white expats in Asia with mixed-race children. White trashionalists left behind are swiftly exterminated by blacks, and white women mix with the blacks. America becomes a Brazil minus the fun culture, good weather, and attractive women.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer At first, I was surprised that they listened to him.

After a while, I realized that many negros are stupid enough to think that Hispanics and Asians would like to be in some anti-white alliance with blacks as a senior partner. In reality, they have an even lower opinion of blacks than whites do. US blacks have zero knowledge of the world outside America, so this reality just doesn't register with them.

Diversity Heretic > , August 16, 2017 at 5:12 am GMT

John Derbyshire has made similar arguments–racial preferences are the price for social peace. But, as Steve Sailer has pointed out, we're running out of white and Asian children to buffer black dysfunction and Asians are going to get less and less willing to be "sacrificial lambs" for a black underclass that they did nothing to create and that they despise.

There are other ways to control the black underclass. You can force the talented ones to remain in their community and provide what leadership they can. Black violence can be met with instant retributive counter-violence. (Prior to the 1960s most race riots were white on black.) Whites can enforce white norms on the black community, who will sort-of conform to them as best they are able.

Finally, Rudyard Kipling had a commentary on Danegeld. It applies to paying off dysfunctional domestic minorities just as much to invading enemies.

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"

War for Blair Mountain > , August 16, 2017 at 5:26 am GMT

Robert Weissberg

Could care less about your smart Asians The smart Asians are enthusiastivally voting Whitey into a racial minority on Nov 3 2020 They don't belong on Native Born White American Living and Breeding Space

jim jones > , August 16, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer This 18 second video clip is a great real world summary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHhy2Gk_xik You can just hears someone shouting at the end "Go back to Beijing"

Wally > , August 16, 2017 at 5:32 am GMT

Once you give in, they will keep demanding more & more.

There's always a manufactured excuse.

It's time to say no.

Bro Methylene > , August 16, 2017 at 5:34 am GMT

Please stop trying to confuse Orientals with Indians and other subcontinentals. They are quite distinct.

This reminds me of the sinister (but largely successful) campaign to conflate San Francisco with "Silicon Valley." The two are separate in every way.

Priss Factor > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:55 am GMT

Hell with those 'smart Asians'. They are among the biggest Proglob a-holes.

Asians have servile genes that seek approval from the power. They are status-freaks.

They make perfect collaborators with the Glob.

Under communism, they made the most conformist commies.

Under Japanese militarism, they made the most mindless military goons who did Nanking.

Under Khmer Rouge, they were biggest looney killers.

Under PC, they make such goody good PC dogs.

If the prevailing culture of US was patriotic and conservatives, Asians would try to conform to that, and that wouldn't be so bad.

But since the prevailing culture is PC, these yellow dogs are among the biggest homomaniacal PC tards.

Hell with them. Yellow dogs voted for Obama and Hillary in high numbers. They despise, hate, and feel contempt for white masses and working class. They are servitors of the empire as Darrell Hamamoto said. He's one of the few good guys.

Just look at that Francis Fukuyama, that slavish dog of Soros. He's so disgusting. And then, you got that brown Asian tard Fareed Zakaria. What a vile lowlife. And that fat Jeer Heet who ran from dirty browns shi ** ing all over the place outdoors to live with white people but bitches about 'white supremacy'. Well, the fact that he ran from his own kind to live with whites must mean his own choice prefers white folks. His immigration choice was 'white supremacism'. After all, he could have moved to black Africa. Why didn't he?

PS. The best way of Affirmative Action is to limit it only to American Indians and Blacks of slave ancestry. That's it.

Also, institutions should OPENLY ADMIT that they do indeed discriminate to better represent the broader population. Fair or not, honesty is a virtue. What is most galling about AA is the lies that says 'we are colorblind and meritocratic but ' No more buts. Yes, there is discrimination but to represent larger population. Okay, just be honest.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 6:21 am GMT

@Bro Methylene

Please stop trying to confuse Orientals with Indians and other subcontinentals. They are quite distinct.

In their original countries they are, but in America they are almost identical in all ways except appearance and diet.

Plus, since SE Asia has always had influence from both, there is a smooth continuum in the US across all of these groups by the time the 2nd generation rolls around.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 6:28 am GMT

@War for Blair Mountain

They don't belong on Native Born White American Living and Breeding Space

Three things wrong with this sentence.

1) I don't think you know that Native Americans (i.e. Siberians) were here first.
2) I will bet anything that all 128 of your GGGGG-GPs are not English settlers who were here in 1776. You are probably some 2nd gen Polack or something who still worries that WASPs look down on you.
3) There is very high variance among whites, and white trashionalists are SOOOO far below the quality threshold of any moderately successful white that they can't claim to speak for all whites. White Trashionalists represent the waste matter that nature wants to purge (which is the process that enables exceptional whites to emerge on the other end of the scale). That is why white women are absolutely doing what nature wants, which is to cut off the White Trashionalists from reproduction. If you care about the white race, you should be glad that white women want nothing to do with you and allow you to complete you wastebasket role.

There.

helena > , August 16, 2017 at 6:33 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer That's hilarious. Anti-ma should replace their flags with placards saying, "Hey, Hey, this is Library!" at all counter-anti-fa demos.

Priss Factor > , Website August 16, 2017 at 6:36 am GMT

Will this really keep the peace?

Obama was one of the beneficiaries of AA along with his wife and their kids. Did that prevent Baltimore and Chicago and etc from blowing up?

In a way, AA and Civil Rights made black communities more volatile. When blacks were more stringently segregated, even smart and sensible blacks lived among blacks and played some kind of 'role model'. They ran businesses and kept in close contact with black folks.

It's like white communities in small towns used to be much better when the George Baileys stayed in them or returned to them and ran things.

But as more and more George Bailies left for the big cities, small towns had fewer top notch role models and leaders and enterprisers. Also, the filth of pop culture and youth degeneracy via TV corrupted the dummies. And then, when globalism took away the industries, there were just people on opioids. At least old timers grew up with family and church. The new generation grew up on Idiocracy.

Anyway, AA will just taken more black talent from black community and mix them with whites, Asians, and etc. Will some of these blacks use their power and privilege to incite black mobs to violence? Some do go radical. But most will just get their goodies and forget the underclass except in some symbolic way. It's like Obama didn't do crap as 'community organizer'. He just stuck close to rich Jews in Hyde Park, and as president, he was serving globo-wars, Wall Street, and homos.
When he finally threw a bone at the blacks in his second term, it lit cities on fire.

Did the black underclass change for the better because they saw Obama as president? No. If anything, it just made them bolder as flashmobs. The way blacks saw it, a bunch of fa ** ogty wussy white people voted for a black guy created by a black man sexually conquering a white woman. They felt contempt for cucky whites, especially as rap culture and sports feature blacks as master race lording over whites. To most underclass blacks, the only culture they know is sports and rap and junk they see on TV. And they are told blacks are magical, sacred, badass, and cool. And whites are either 'evil' if they have any pride or cucky-wucky wussy if they are PC.

The Murrayian Coming-Apart of whites took place already with blacks before. And more AA that takes in smarter blacks will NOT make things better for black underclass. And MORE blacks in elite colleges will just lead to MORE anger issues, esp as they cannot keep up with other students.

Even so, I can understand the logic of trying to win over black cream of crop. Maybe if they are treated nice and feel 'included', they won't become rabble-rousers like Al Sharpton and act more like Obama. Obama's race-baiting with Ferguson was bad but could have been worse with someone like Sharpton.

The Power can try to control a people in two ways. Crush everyone OR give carrots to comprador elites so that sticks can be used on masses. Clinton did this. He brought over black elites, and they worked with him to lock up record number of Negroes to make cities safer. As Clinton was surrounded by Negroes and was called 'first black president' by Toni Morrison, many blacks didn't realize that he was really working to lock up lots of black thugs and restore order.

Smart overlords play divide-and-conquer by offering carrots to collaborator elites and using sticks on masses.
British Imperialists did that. Gandhi would likely have collaborated with Brits if not for the fact that he was called a 'wog' in South Africa and kicked off a train. Suddenly, he found himself as ONE with the poor and powerless 'wogs' in the station. He was made equal with his own kind.

Consider Jews in the 30s and even during WWII. Many Western European Jews became rich and privileged and felt special and put on airs. Many felt closer to gentile elites and felt contempt and disdain for many 'dirty' and 'low' Eastern European Jews. If Hitler had been cleverer and offered carrots to rich Jews, there's a good chance that many of them would have collaborated and worked with the Power to suppress or control lower Jews, esp. of Eastern European background.

But Hitler didn't class-discriminate among Jews. He went after ALL of them. Richest Jew, poorest Jew, it didn't matter. So, even many rich Jews were left destitute if not dead after WWII. And this wakened them up. They once had so much, but they found themselves with NOTHING. And as they made their way to Palestine with poor Eastern European Jewish survivors, they felt a strong sense of ethnic identity. Oppression and Tragedy were the great equalizer. Having lost everything, they found what it really means to be Jewish. WWII and Holocaust had a great traumatic equalizing effect on Jews, something they never forgot since the war, which is why very rich Jews try to do much for even poor Jews in Israel and which is why secular Jews feel a bond with funny-dressed Jewish of religious sects.

For this reason, it would be great for white identity if the New Power were to attack ALL whites and dispossess all of them. Suppose globalism went after not only Deplorables but Clintons, Bushes, Kaineses, Kerrys, Kennedys, and etc. Suppose all of them were dispossessed and humiliated and called 'honkers'. Then, like Gandhi at the train station, they would regain their white identity and identify with white hoi polloi who've lost so much to globalism. They would become leaders of white folks.
But as long as carrots are offered to the white elites, they go with Glob and dump on whites. They join with the GLOB to use sticks on white folks like in Charlottesville where sticks were literally used against patriots who were also demeaned as 'neo-nazis' when most of them weren't.

So, I'm wishing Ivy Leagues will have total NO WHITEY POLICY. It is when the whites elites feel rejected and humiliated by the Glob that they will return to the masses.

Consider current Vietnam. Because Glob offers them bribes and goodies, these Viet-cuck elites are selling their nation to the Glob and even allowing homo 'pride' parades.

White Genocide that attacks ALL whites will have a unifying effect on white elites and white masses. It is when gentiles targeted ALL Jews that all Jews, rich and poor, felt as one.

But the Glob is sneaky. Instead of going for White Genocide that targets top, middle, and bottom, it goes for White Democide while forgoing white aristocide. So, white elites or neo-aristocrats are rewarded with lots of goodies IF they go along like the Romneys, Clintons, Kaines, Bidens, and all those quisling weasels.

jilles dykstra > , August 16, 2017 at 7:00 am GMT

" Now to the question at hand: what is to be done regarding American blacks, a group notable for its penchant for violence whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs. "

I read an article, making a learned impression, that on average USA blacks have a lower IQ.
I do suppose that IQ has a cultural component, nevertheless, those in western cultures with a lower IQ can be expected to have less economic success.
A black woman who did seem to understand all this was quoted in the article as that 'blacks should be compensated for this lower IQ'.
One can discuss this morally endless, but even if the principle was accepted, how is it executed, and where is the end ?
For example, people with less than average length are also less successful, are we going to compensate them too ?

Simon in London > , August 16, 2017 at 7:18 am GMT

"economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs"

It only stalled when the Great Society and the uplift programs started. According to The Bell Curve there was basically an instant collapse when LBJ started to wreaking his havoc. Go back to pre-1964 norms and no late-60s riots.

Kyle McKenna > , August 16, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

We have sacrificed smart white students for three generations to keep the hebraic component around 30% at our highest-ranked colleges and universities, and no one (except the jewish Ron Unz himself) made so much as a peep. And as he copiously documented, whites have suffered far more discrimination than asians have. The difference is, whites are more brainwashed into accepting it.

I hope this doesn't need linking here, but wth

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

Realist > , August 16, 2017 at 8:04 am GMT

"Sacrificing Smart Asians to Keep the Racial Peace"

It is the sacrificing of smart white students that is the problem. Of all the races whites, on average are more innovative and ambitious.

Tom Welsh > , August 16, 2017 at 9:11 am GMT

"The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace "

In simpler language, appeasement.

Tom Welsh > , August 16, 2017 at 9:16 am GMT

@War for Blair Mountain "They don't belong on Native Born White American Living and Breeding Space "

Your statement would be perfectly correct if it read, "White people of European origin don't belong on Native American Living and Breeding Space "

Yet there they are, in immense, pullulating numbers. And now they have the gall to complain that other people – some of whom resemble the few surviving Native Americans far more closely than Whites do – are coming to "their" continent.

Honestly, what is the world coming to when you spend centuries and millions of bullets, bottles of whisky and plague-ridden blankets getting rid of tens of millions of people so you can steal their land – and then more people like you come along and want to settle peaceably alongside you? That's downright un-American.

Maybe you'd be more comfortable if the Asian immigrants behaved more like the European settlers – with fire, sword, malnutrition and pestilence.

Tom Welsh > , August 16, 2017 at 9:24 am GMT

@Diversity Heretic The Kipling quote is stirring and thought-provoking (like most Kipling quotes). But it is not entirely correct.

Consider the kings of France in the 10th century, who were confronted by the apparently insoluble problem of periodic attacks by bands of vicious, warlike, and apparently irresistible Vikings. One king had the bright idea of buying the Northmen off by granting them a very large piece of land in the West of France – right where the invading ships used to start up the Seine towards Paris.

The Northmen settled there, became known as Normans, and held Normandy for the rest of the Middle Ages – in the process absolutely preventing any further attacks eastward towards Paris. The dukes of Normandy held it as a fief from the king, and thus did homage to him as his feudal subordinates.

They did conquer England, Sicily, and a few other places subsequently – but the key fact is that they left the tiny, feeble kingdom of France alone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normans#Settling_of_Normandy

Wizard of Oz > , August 16, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT

Ratioal cost benefit arguments could be applied much more widely to the benefit of America and other First World countries. If otherwise illegal drugs were legalised, whether to be prescribed by doctors or not, it would save enormous amounts of money on law enforcement and, subject to what I proffer next, incarceration.

What is the downside? The advocates of Prohibition weren't wrong about the connection of alcohol and lower productivity. That was then. If, say, 10 per cent of the population were now disqualified from the workforce what would it matter. The potential STEM wizards amongst them (not many) would mostly be nurtured so that it was only the underclass which life in a daze. And a law which made it an offence, effectively one for which the penalty was to be locked up or otherwise deprived of freedom to be a nuisance, to render oneself unfit to perform the expected duties of citizenship would have collateral benefits in locking up the right underclass males.

Logan > , August 16, 2017 at 9:45 am GMT

@Bro Methylene "Orientals," east Asians, or just Asians in American parlance are indeed quite different from south Asians, called "Asians" in the UK,. These are quite different groups.

But the groups of east and south Asians include widely differing peoples. A Korean doesn't have much in common with a Malay, nor a Pathan with a Tamil. Probably not much more than either has in common with the other group or with white Americans.

That they "all look alike" to use does not really mean the do, it just means we aren't used to them.

Was recently watching an interesting Chinese movie and had enormous difficulty keeping the characters straight, because they did indeed all look alike to me. I wonder if Chinese people in China have similar trouble watching old American movies.

Colleen Pater > , August 16, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer yeah and hispanics are natural conservatives. dont be a cuck once that slant is here long enough he will tumble to the game and get on the anti white bandwagon. and sure asians will eventually out jew the jews just what we need another overlord, only this one a huge percentage or world pop. .

Colleen Pater > , August 16, 2017 at 10:28 am GMT

You know weisberg youre not fooling anyone here peddle that cuck crap elsewhere affirmative action leads to nothing but more affirmative action at this point everyone but white males gets it, and you my jew friend know this so selling it to sucker cucks as the cost of doing business is just more jew shenanigans. There is a much better solution to the problem peoples deport them back where they belong israel africa asia central america.

joeshittheragman > , Website August 16, 2017 at 11:12 am GMT

This is all about nothing now. The only thing White people have to learn anymore is controlled breathing, good position, taking up trigger slack, letting the round go at exactly the right moment – one round, one hit.

Jake > , August 16, 2017 at 11:47 am GMT

When your child tosses a tantrum and tears up his bedroom, and you tell him his mean-spirited, selfish cousins caused it and then you reward him with a trip to Disneyland and extra allowance: then you guarantee more and worse tantrums.

That is what America and America's Liberals, the Elites, have done with blacks and violence.

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 11:58 am GMT

ha, there is another group that is preying on the asian group and it is omitted.

TG > , August 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm GMT

A very interesting post. Really a unique perspective – who cares if it's not fair, if it is necessary to keep the peace?

I do however disagree with one of your points. " whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs."

I think you have missed the main event. Over the last half-century the elites of this nation have waged ruthless economic warfare AGAINST poor blacks in this country, to an extent that far dwarfs the benefits of affirmative action (for a typically small number of already privileged blacks).

Up through the 1960′s, blacks were starting to do not so bad. Yes they were in a lot of menial jobs, but many of these were unionized and the pay was pretty good. I mean, if nobody else wants to sweep your floors, and the only guy willing to do it i s black, well, he can ask for a decent deal.

Then our elites fired black workers en masse, replacing them with Mexican immigrants and outsourcing to low-wage countries. Blacks have had their legs cut off with a chainsaw, and the benefits of affirmative action (which nowadays mostly go to Mexicans etc.!) little more than a bandaid.

And before we are too hard on blacks, let me note that whites are also being swept up in the poverty of neoliberal globalization, and they too are starting to show social pathology.

Because in terms of keeping the social peace, there is one fundamental truth more important than all others: there must be some measure of broadly shared prosperity. Without it, even ethnically homogeneous and smart and hard working people like the Japanese or Chinese will tear themselves apart.

Anonymouse > , August 16, 2017 at 12:58 pm GMT

Not New York. Wife & I were living there then and Mayor Lindsay went to Harlem and NYC negroes did not riot after MLK Jr was assassinated.

Jake > , August 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Note that there is not a word in this article about what this does to the white working class and how it can be given something in return for allowing Elites to bribe blacks with trillions and trillions of dollars in goodies. Nor is there is there any indication that this process eventually will explode, with too many blacks demanding so much it cannot be paid.

George Weinbaum > , August 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT

Was this written tongue in cheek?
Affirmative action will never end. The bribes will never end. The US made a mistake in the 1960s. We should have contained the riots then let the people in those areas sleep in the burned out rubble. Instead through poverty programs we rewarded bad black behavior.
By filling the Ivy League with blacks we create a new class of Cornell West's for white people to listen to. We enhance the "ethos" of these people.
Eventually, certainly in no more than 40 years, we will run out of sacrifices. What then when whites constitute only 40% of the American population? Look at South Africa today.
We have black college graduates with IQs in the 80s! They want to be listened to. After all, they're college graduates.
I do not believe you have found "a cost-effective solution to potential domestic violence".
You mix in this "top 10%" and they get greater acceptance by whites who are turned left in college.

dearieme > , August 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm GMT

"The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace "

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
"We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: –
"Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: –

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT

whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs.

The reality of this is become a huge stumbling block. In fact this group has actually been mostly regressing into violence and stupidity, going their own separate way as exemplified by their anti-social music which celebrates values repugnant to the majority. Look at the absurd level of shootings in cities like Chicago. That's not changing anytime soon. They're by far overrepresented in Special Ed, juvenile delinquency, prisons and all other indicators of dysfunction. Their talented tenth isn't very impressive as compared to whites or Asians. Their entire middle class is mostly an artificial creation of affirmative action. The point is that they can only be promoted so far based on their capability. The cost of the subsidy gets greater every year and at some point it'll become too heavy a burden and then it'll be crunch time. After the insanity of the Cultural Revolution the Chinese had to come to their senses. It's time to curtail our own version of it.

Truth > , August 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm GMT

It really is terrible and unfair that an Asian needs to score so much higher than you white oppressors to get into the Ivy league

A Princeton study found that students who identify as Asian need to score 140 points higher on the SAT than whites to have the same chance of admission to private colleges, a difference some have called "the Asian tax."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/us/affirmative-action-battle-has-a-new-focus-asian-americans.html

You All Look Like Ants > , August 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm GMT

I think this is brilliant satire.
It is actually an argument that is logically sound. Doesn't mean that it's good or sensible or even workable over the long run.
It's just logically sound. It holds together if one accepts the not-crazy parts its made out of.
I don't believe it's meant to be taken literally, because both the beneficiaries and those who get screwed will grow in their resentment and the system would melt down.
New fields with the word "studies' in them would get added and everyone would know – deep down – why that is so, and Asians would continue to dominate the hard sciences, math and engineering.
Still, as satire, it's so close to the bone that it works beautifully.

helena > , August 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh "Yet there they are, in immense, pullulating numbers. And now they have the gall to complain that other people – some of whom resemble the few surviving Native Americans far more closely than Whites do – are coming to "their" continent."

Agree. The country should be returned to pre-1700 conditions and given over to anyone who wants it.

Rich > , August 16, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

@Anonymouse I guess one man's riot is another man's peaceful night. There was a bit of rioting in Brooklyn that night, businesses burned and looted, and a handful of businesses were looted in Harlem. There was a very heavy police presence with Mayor Lindsey that night and blacks were still very segregated in 1968, so I'd guess it was more that show of force that prevented the kind of riots we'd seen earlier and in other cities at that time. Still, there was looting and burning, so New York's blacks don't get off the hook. As a personal note. my older brother and his friends were attacked by a roving band of blacks that night in Queens, but managed to chase them out of our neighborhood.

Thorfinnsson > , August 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

The costs of BRA may be lower than the costs of 1960s urban riots, though an accurate accounting would be difficult as many costs are not easily tabulated.

Consider, for instance, the costs of excluding higher performing whites and Asians from elite universities. Does this result in permanently lower salaries from them as a result of greater difficulty in joining an elite career track?

What costs do affirmative action impose upon corporations, especially those with offices in metropolitan areas with a lot of blacks? FedEx is famously centralized in Memphis. What's the cost to me as a shipper in having to deal with sluggish black customer service personnel?

The blacks are 15% of the population, so I doubt "garrison state" costs would be terribly high. I am certain that segregation was cheaper than BRA is. The costs of segregation were overlooking some black talent (negligible) and duplication of certain facilities (I suspect this cost is lower than the cost of white flight).

War for Blair Mountain > , August 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm GMT

How did America ever manage to survive when there hardly any Chinese Hindus..Sihks .Koreans in OUR America?

Answer:Very well thank you!!!! ..America 1969=90 percent Native Born White American .places two Alpha Native Born White American Males on the Moon 10 more after this Who the F would be opposed to this?

Answer:Chinese "Americans" Korean "Americans" Hindu "Americans" .Sihk "Americans" .Pakistani "Americans"

Jason Liu > , August 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm GMT

There would still be racial peace if affirmative action was abolished. They'll bitch for a while, but they'll get used it and the dust will settle.

Side note: Affirmation action also disproportionately helps white women into college, and they're the largest group fueling radical leftist identity politics/feminism on campus. In other words, affirmative action is a large contributor to SJWism, the media-academia complex, and the resulting current political climate.

anarchyst > , August 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra The statement "blacks should be compensated for this lower IQ" is no different than the descendents of the so-called jewish "holocaust ™" being compensated in perpetuity by the German government. Now, there are calls by the jewish "holocaust ™" lobby to extend the financial compensation to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these so-called "holocaust ™ survivors, stating the fake concept of "holocaust ™" transference" just another "holocaust ™" scam
Same thing.

bjondo > , August 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Smart means what?

More Monsanto, DuPont cancers and degraded foods.
New diseases from medical, biological, genetic research
More spying and censorship and stealing by Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, high IQ thieves.
All jobs overseas, domestic unemployment, endless wars, by the best and brightest.
Toxic pollution, mental pollution that dwarfs the back yard pollution of tires and old refrigs by "low IQ deplorables (white and black and brown".
Degraded, degrading entertainment and fake news to match fake histories by Phds.
Tech devices that are "wonderful" but life is actually better more meaningful without.

Poupon Marx > , August 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT

[Blacks] "whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs." No, Professor, it is Trillions spend over the last 50 years and millions before that. Countless Whites and other non-Negroid people have had to step aside in education, military, government, private industry, to let the lesser person advance and leap frog the accepted virtue-merit path to advancement. AND IT STILL IS NOT ENOUGN FOR BLECKS.

The obvious solution is to separate into uni-racial/ethnic states. For Whites, this would include a separate autocephalous, independent state of Caucasians, Asians, and Hindu. This is the Proto-IndoEuropean Family, related by genes and languages.

jim jones > , August 16, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Logan I have the same trouble with Korean movies, all the women look the same:

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT

@Thomm Interesting take. But risky because :

1) Asians will grow in power, and either force more fairness towards themselves, or return to Asia.
2) WN idiots happy about Asians returning to Asia fail to see that Asians will return only when they control enough of America to manage large parts of it from afar (like the tech industry).
3) 2-3 million top caliber white male Western Expats might just move to Asia, since they may like Asian women more, and want to be free of SJW idiocy. This is all it takes to fill the alleged gap Asia has in creativity, marketing, and sales expertise. Asia effectively decapitates the white West by taking in their best young men and giving them a great life in Asia.
4) America becomes like Brazil...with all economic value colonized by Asians and the white expats in Asia with mixed-race children. White trashionalists left behind are swiftly exterminated by blacks, and white women mix with the blacks. America becomes a Brazil minus the fun culture, good weather, and attractive women. Could agree 1 and 2.

2-3 millions Top caliber White males moving to Asia?

haha, Top caliber White males (American) will stay in America, screw the rest WN, devour all the resources available, not only in America, but from the rest of the world.

This is a real White so-called Top caliber White males enjoying in Philippines.

You can see the typical features of White in Asia

1. Bald
2. Obese
3. Lanky
4. Gold watch
5. Cargo pants
6. Flip flop

You can't get away those Top caliber White males features in Asia.

Greg Bacon > , Website August 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm GMT

I'm guessing the author would be screaming at the top of his lungs if it was Jewish students being told to go to some state university–instead of Harvard–since we have to make room for blacks.

BTW, your comment "..Recall our own tribulations with violent Indian tribes" needs clarification. Maybe the tribes got violent because of the 400 treaties Uncle Sam made with the various tribes, he honored NONE

Abelard Lindsey > , August 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm GMT

I would call it the Diversity Tax.

üeljang > , August 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm GMT

@jim jones A great part of that is because, well, let's say that the place where those actresses have got their work done is the same.

Whites have much greater natural variations in hair and eye color, but skin color among East Asian individuals is more naturally variable (especially when the effect of tanning is considered), and their facial features and somatotypes are also more diverse in my opinion. For example, East Asian populations contain some individuals who have what the Japanese call futae mabuta "double eyelids" and some individuals who have what they call hitoe mabuta "single eyelids," whereas White populations contain only individuals who have "double eyelids." Whether such increased physical variability is positive or negative probably depends on one's viewpoint; in the case of that eyelid polymorphism, the variant that is found in Asians but not in Whites is generally considered neutral or even positive when it occurs in male individuals, but negative when it occurs in female individuals, so plastic surgeons must be overflowing with gratitude for the single eyelid gene.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm GMT

@Thorfinnsson The separate school facilities meant a major saving in the costs of school police and security guards, resource teachers, counselors buses and bus drivers, and layers and layers of administrators trying to administer the mess.

Separate schools were a lot cheaper in that the black teachers kept the lid on the violence with physical punishment and the White teachers and students had a civilized environment.

The old sunshine laws kept blacks out of White neighborhoods after dark which greatly reduced black on White crime. In the north, informal neighborhood watches kept black on White crime to a minimum until block by block the blacks conquered the cities.

George Wallace said segregation now, segregation forever. I say sterilization now, problem solved in 80 years.

Asians??? I went to college with the White WASP American young men who were recruited and went to work in Mountain View and Cupertino and the rest of Santa Clara county and invented Silicon Valley.

Not one was Asian or even Jewish. And they invented it and their sons couldn't even get into Stanford because their sons are White American men.

I think the worst thing about affirmative action is that government jobs are about the only well paid secure jobs that still stick to the 40 hour work week. Government is the largest employer in the country. And those jobs are "no Whites need apply".

BTW I read the Protocols years before the Internet. I had to make an appointment to go into a locked section of a research library. I had to show ID. It was brought to me and I had to sit where I could be seen to read it. I had to sign an agreement that I would not copy anything from the protocols.

And there it was, the fourth protocol.
"We shall see to it brothers, that we shall see to it that they appoint only the incompetent and unfit to their government positions. And thus we shall conquer them from within"

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm GMT

@Thomm Actually, Europeans arrived 20, to 30,000 years ago from Europe and were wiped out by the later arriving Asians.

Beckow > , August 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm GMT

@Thomm Only 4) is remotely possible. And Brazilian women are not that attractive, they are nice looking on postcards, but quite dumpy and weird-looking in person. But that is a matter of personal taste.

The reason 1,2,3 are nonsensical is that geography and resources matter. Asia simply doesn't have them, it is not anywhere as attractive to live in as North America or Europe and never will be. It goes beyond geographic resources, everything from architecture, infrastructure, culture is simply worse in Asia and it would take hundreds of years to change that.

So why the constant 'go to Asia' or 'Asia is the future'? It might be a temporary escape for many desperate, self-hating, white Westerners, a place to safely worship as they give up on it all. Or it could be the endless family links with the Asian women. But that misreads that most of the Asian families are way to clear-headed to exchange what the are trying to escape for the nihilistic dreams of their white partners. They are the least likely to go to Asia, they know it instinctively, they know what they have been trying to escape.

It is possible that the West is on its last legs, and many places are probably gone for good. But Asia is not going to step up and replace it. It is actually much worse that that – we are heading for a dramatic downturn and a loss of comfort and civilization. Thank you Baby Boomers – you are the true end-of-liners of history.

nickels > , August 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT

Except that, of course, as with all forms of appeasement, it isn't working .

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm GMT

Bright and talented white kids from non-elite families stuck between the Scylla and Charybdis of Cram-Schooled Study-Asians with no seeming limit to their tolerance for tedium and 90 IQ entitled blacks is 2017 in a nutshell.

Realist > , August 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT

Weissberg is a nutless quisling. The proper way to handle blackmail is to stop it in it's tracks.

Peaceful demonstrations are fine, property destroying riots should be stopped by any means necessary. Blacks would soon stop their dumb shit actions

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 5:08 pm GMT

@George Weinbaum That there Cornell West is a learned fellow. I bet his vocabulary is bigger than that of GWB and DJT – combined.

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT

@Truth That study was slanted.

Jeff77450 > , August 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm GMT

Said in all seriousness: I genuinely feel sorry for blacks but not because of slavery & Jim Crow. Those were great evils but every group has gone through that. No, I feel sorry for them because their average IQ of 85–yes, it is–combined with their crass thug culture, which emphasizes & rewards all the wrong things, is going to keep them mired in dysfunction for decades to come. Men like Thomas Sowell & Walter Williams have all the information that blacks need to turn themselves around but they won't listen, I guess because the message is take responsibility for yourselves and your families and refuse to accept charity in all its different forms to include AA.

"Thomas Sowell vs Affirmative Action's failures" (~13 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agkye3vlG0Q

MEFOBILLS > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:34 pm GMT

From the author:

some legally mandated homeland of the types advocated by Black Muslims.

Why not pay people to leave? A law change would convert the money supply from bank money to sovereign money.

AMI's HR2990 would convert the money supply overnight, and nobody would be the wiser.

At that point, new public money could be channeled into funding people to leave. Blacks that don't like it in the U.S. would be given X amount of dollars to settle in an African country of their choice. This public money can be formed as debt free, and could also be directed such that it can only buy American goods. In other words, it can be forced to channel, to then stimulate the American economy.

In this way, the future works, to then get rid of disruptive future elements.

It always boils down to the money system. There is plenty of economic surplus to then fund the removal of indigestible elements.

People automatically assume that the money supply must be private bank credit, as that is the way it always has been. NO IT HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY.

http://www.sovereignmoney.eu

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm GMT

@Alden source please, that I would like to read. something new.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 5:48 pm GMT

@helena If Whites leave America and go back to their origin, no one, I repeat, NO ONE would complain about that. They'd be singing "God Riddance" song all along.

No one wants to migrate to Ukraine, a white country.
No one wants to migrate to Hungary, a white country.
No one wants to migrate to Austria, a white country.

Everyone wants to migrate to the place where there's an over-bloated sense of job availability. In this case, America offers an ample amount of opportunity.

Let's wait and see how universities in CA populated with merit-based Asian Americans overrule all universities in the US anytime soon.

Name any state in the US that produces more than two universities (in the Top 50 list) in the world.

No state can compete against CA. You wonder why?

segundo > , August 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT

Are you utterly oblivious to the fact that well over 95% of the blacks getting AAed into universities are then being trained/indoctrinated into being future disruptive activists? Activists with credentials, more money and connections. Entirely counterproductive and much of it on the taxpayers' dime. If there is a solution, AA isn't it.

Diversity Heretic > , August 16, 2017 at 7:01 pm GMT

@Rdm Can I count you in on the Calexit movement–followed by the purge of whites? Freed from the burden of those miserable European-origin Americans, the Asian-Negro-Mestizo marvel will be a shining light to the rest of the world!

David > , August 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm GMT

I waited to make this comment until the serious thinkers had been here. Did anyone notice the dame in the picture is giving us the finger? I did a little experiment to see if my hand could assume that position inadvertently and it couldn't. It aptly illustrates the article, either way.

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm GMT

@Rdm

Name any state in the US that produces more than two universities (in the Top 50 list) in the world.

No state can compete against CA. You wonder why?

If you took the land mass of CA and imposed it on the U.S. East Coast between Boston and South Carolina, I don't think it'd be a problem to surpass California in any Top 50 University competition.

I'm not sure what your point is here.

The Realist > , Website August 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm GMT

Here's a simpler and more effective solution-KILL ALL NIGGERS NOW. See, not so difficult, was it? Consider it a Phoenix Program for the American Problem. Actually, here's another idea-KILL ALL LIBERALS NOW. That way, good conservative people of different races, sexes, etc., can be saved from the otherwise necessary carnage. Remember, gun control is being able to hit your target.

Mis(ter)Anthrope > , August 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm GMT

The affirmative action game may well serve the interests of the cognitive elite whites, but it has been a disaster for the rest of white America. I have a better solution.

Give the feral negroes what they have been asking for. Pull all law enforcement out of negro hellholes like Detroit and South Chicago and let nature take its course.

Send all Asians and other foreigners who not already citizens back to their homelands. End all immigration except very special cases like the whites being slaughtered in South Africa or the spouse of a white American male citizen.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm GMT

@Rdm I am not referring to guys like in the picture.

I am referring to the very topmost career stars, moving to Asia for the expat life. Some of that is happening, and it could accelerate. Only 2-3 million are needed.

Wally > , Website August 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm GMT

@Kyle McKenna " And as he copiously documented, whites have suffered far more discrimination than asians have. The difference is, whites are more brainwashed into accepting it. "

And that's the function of the fraudulent, impossible '6M Jews, 5M others, gas chambers'.

[MORE]

"The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system. This conversion and re-organization of global society requires two essential steps: firstly, the destruction of the old established order, secondly, design and imposition of the new order. The first stage requires elimination of all frontier borders, nationhood and culture, public policy ethical barriers and social definitions, only then can the destroyed old system elements be replaced by the imposed system elements of our new order.

The first task of our world revolution is Destruction. All social strata and social formations created by traditional society must be annihilated, individual men and women must be uprooted from their ancestral environment, torn out of their native milieus, no tradition of any type shall be permitted to remain as sacrosanct, traditional social norms must only be viewed as a disease to be eradicated, the ruling dictum of the new order is; nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished, everything that was, must be gone."

from: 'The Spirit Of Militarism', by Nahum Goldmann
Goldmann was the founder & president of the World Jewish Congress

see the 'holocaust' scam debunked here:

http://codoh.com

No name calling, level playing field debate here:

http://forum.codoh.com

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm GMT

@Rdm Almost all white people would rather migrate to Austria, Hungary, and the Ukraine than the following citadels of civilization:

Angola
Botswana
Burundi
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Djibouti
Ethiopia
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Gabon
Ghana
Kenya
Niger
Nigeria
South Africa
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
Uganda
Zambia

You know what? I bet most blacks would as well.

Mis(ter)Anthrope > , August 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike I don't know if anyone else got it, but that is pretty damn funny.

Wally > , August 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm GMT

@Rdm - 45% of California is Federal land.

- Without US taxpayers money CA would be a 3rd world country completely filled with unemployable & dumb illegal immigrants.

- Think about this brief list made possible by the US taxpayers / federal government, money CA would not get and then tens of thousands of CA people would lose their jobs (= lost CA tax revenues):

aerospace contracts, defense contracts, fed gov, software contracts, fed gov airplane orders, bases, ports, money for illegal aliens costs, federal monies for universities, 'affirmative action monies, section 8 housing money, monies for highways, monies for 'mass transportation', monies to fight crime, monies from the EPA for streams & lakes, monies from the Nat. Park Service, monies for healthcare, monies for freeloading welfare recipients, and all this is just the tip of the iceberg

- Not to mention the counties in CA which will not want to be part of the laughable 'Peoples Republic of California'.

- And imagine the 'Peoples Republic of California Army', hilarious.

CA wouldn't last a week without other peoples money.

Calexit? Please, pretty please.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain You just want intra-white socialism so you can mooch off of productive whites.

Macumazahn > , August 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT

It's particularly unfortunate that Asians, who can hardly be blamed for the plight of America's Blacks, are the ones from whom the "affirmative action" #groidgeld is extracted.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic My impression and overall experience from interacting with White Americans is good in general. I have a very distinct view on both White Americans and Europeans. I'd come back later.

I don't recommend purging of Whites in America. Neither do I prohibit immigration of all people. But I do wish "legal" immigration from all parts of the world to this land. But I also understand why people are fed up with White America.

There is a clear distinction between Europeans and White Americans. White Americans born and bred here are usually an admixture of many European origins. They usually hide their Eastern European origin and fervently claim German, French, English whenever possible -- basically those countries that used to be colonial masters in the past.

White Americans are generally daring, optimistic and very open-minded. Usually when you bump into any White Americans born and bred here, you can sense their genuine hospitality.
Europeans, usually fresh White immigrants in this land, tend to carry over their old mentality with a bit of self-righteous attitude to patronize and condescend Americans on the ground that this is a young country.

My former boss was Swiss origin, born in England, and migrated to America. If there's an opportunity cost, he'd regale his English origin. If there's a Swiss opportunity, he'd talk about his ancestry. He'd bash loud, crazy Americans while extoling his European majesty. He became a naturalized American last year for tax purposes so that his American wife can inherit if he kicks the bucket.

Bottom line is, every immigrant to the US, in my honest opinion, is very innocent and genuinely hard working. They have a clear idea of how they like to achieve their dreams here and would like to work hard. It seems after staying here for a while, they all change their true selves to fit into the existing societal structure, i.e., Chris Hemsworth, an Australian purposely trained to speak American English in Red Dawn, can yell "This is our home" while 4th generation Asian Americans will be forced to speak broken English. This is how dreams are shaped in America.

Coming back to purge of Whites, I only wish those self-righteous obese, bald, bottom of the barrel, living on the alms Whites, proclaiming their White skin, will go back to their origin and do something about a coming flood of Muslim in their ancestral country if they're so worried about their heritage.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT

@Alec Leamas (hard at work) My point is, universities in CA are doing well commensurate with hard working students without AA action.

Saxon > , August 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm GMT

@Thomm No, he just wants the street-defecating hangers-on like you to go back and show how awesome you claim you are in your own country by making a success of it rather than milking all of the entitlements and affirmative action and other programs of literal racial advantage given to you by virtue of setting foot in someone else's country.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm GMT

@Wally - 45% of California is Federal land.

- Without US taxpayers money CA would be a 3rd world country completely filled with unemployable & dumb illegal immigrants.

- Think about this brief list made possible by the US taxpayers / federal government, money CA would not get and then tens of thousands of CA people would lose their jobs (= lost CA tax revenues):

aerospace contracts, defense contracts, fed gov, software contracts, fed gov airplane orders, bases, ports, money for illegal aliens costs, federal monies for universities, 'affirmative action monies, section 8 housing money, monies for highways, monies for 'mass transportation', monies to fight crime, monies from the EPA for streams & lakes, monies from the Nat. Park Service, monies for healthcare, monies for freeloading welfare recipients, and all this is just the tip of the iceberg

- Not to mention the counties in CA which will not want to be part of the laughable 'Peoples Republic of California'.

- And imagine the 'Peoples Republic of California Army', hilarious.

CA wouldn't last a week without other peoples money.

Calexit? Please, pretty please. So you're talking about Calexit in AA action?

Let us play along.

If CA is existing solely due to Fed Alms, I can agree it's the tip of the iceberg. But we're talking about Universities, their performance and how AA is affecting well qualified students.

Following on your arguments,

UC Berkeley receives $373 Millions (Federal Sponsorship) in 2016.
Harvard University, on the other hand, receives $656 millions (Federal sponsorship) in 2012.

I'm talking about how Universities climb up in World ranking, based upon their innovations, productivity, research output, etc etc etc. Which to me, is reflective of what kind of students are admitted into the programs. That's my point.

If you want to talk about Calexit, you'd better go and refresh your reading comprehension ability.

Stan d Mute > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

The thing that is forgotten is that white Americans DO NOT need the Africans in any way whatsoever. There is NOTHING in Detroit that we want – we abandoned it deliberately and have no interest in ever returning.

On the other hand, what do the Africans need from us?

Food. We own and operate all food production.
Medicine. Ditto.
Clean water. Look at Flint.
Sanitation services. Look at anywhere in Africa.
Order.

To put a stop to African behavior from Africans is an idiot's dream. They will never stop being what they are. They simply cannot. So if we cannot expel them, we must control them. When they act up, we cut off their food, medicine, water, and sewer services. Build fences around Detroit and Flint. Siege. After a month or two of the Ethiopian Diet, the Africans in Detroit will be much more compliant.

War for Blair Mountain > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

@Thomm You just want intra-white socialism so you can mooch off of productive whites. Thomm=the girly boy blatherings of a White Libertarian Cuck

The benefit to the Historic Native Born White American Working Class of being voted into a White Racial Minority in California by Chinese "Americans" Korean "Americans" .Hindu "Americans" Sihk "Americans" and Iranian "Americans"?

Answer:0 . Bring back the Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act!!!

Two Great pro-White Socialist Labor Leaders:Denis Kearney and Samuel Gompers go read Denis Kearney's Rebel Rousing speeches google Samuel Gompers' Congressional Testimony in favor of the passage of The Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act

The peril of appeasement > , August 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm GMT

As some have pointed out, the trouble with appeasement is, it never ends. Those who are used to the handouts will always want more. There's the saying parents tend to strengthen the strong and weaken the weak, that's what paternalistic policies like affirmative action and welfare do to a society. It creates a cycle of dependency.

Those who think multiculturalism coupled with identity politics is a good idea need to take a good look at Malaysia, arguably the most multicultural country outside the US. The country is in Southeast Asia, with roughly 30m people, roughly 60% ethnic Malay(100% muslim), 23% Chinese(mostly buddhist or christian), brought in by the British in the 1800s to work the rubber plantations and tin mines, and 7% Indian(mostly Hindu), brought in by the British to work the plantations and civil service.

In 1957 the Brits left and left the power in the hands of the ethnic Malays. The Chinese soon became the most successful and prosperous group and dominated commerce and the professional ranks. In 1969 a major race riot broke out, the largely rural and poor Malays decided to "take back what's theirs", burnt, looted and slaughtered many ethnic Chinese. After the riot the government decided the only way to prevent more riots is to raise the standard of living for the Malays. And they began a massive wealth transfer program through affirmative action that heavily favors ethnic Malays. First, all civil service jobs were given to only ethnic Malays, including the police and military. Then AA was instituted in all local universities where Malays with Cs and Ds in math and science were given preference over Chinese with all A's to all the engineering, medicine and law majors. Today no one in their right mind, not even the rich Malays, want to be treated by a Malay doctor. I know people who were maimed by one of these affirmative actioned Malay "neurosurgeons" who botched a simple routine procedure, and there was no recourse, no one is allowed to sue.

Thanks to their pandering to the Malay majority and outright voting fraud, the ruling party UMNO has never lost an election and is today the longest serving ruling party in modern history. Any dissent was stifled through the sedition act where dissidents are thrown in jail, roughed up, tossed down 14th story buildings before they even go to trial. All media is strictly controlled and censored by the government, who also controls the military, and 100% of the country's oil production, with a large portion of the profit of Petronas going to the coffers of the corrupt Malay government elites, whatever's left is given to hoi polloi Malays in the form of fluff job positions created in civil service, poorly run quasi-government Malay owned companies like Petronas, full scholarships to study abroad for only ethnic Malays, tax free importation of luxury cars for ethnic Malays, and when the government decided to "privatize" any government function like the postal service or telcom, they gave it in the form of a monopoly to a Malay owned company. All government contracts e.g. for infrastructure are only given to Malay owned companies, even as they have zero expertise for the job. The clever Chinese quickly figured out they could just use a Malay partner in name only to get all government contracts.

As opposed to the US where affirmative action favors the minority, in Malaysia AA favors the majority. You know it can't last. The minority can only prop up the majority for so long. Growth today is largely propped up by oil income, and the oil reserve is dwindling. Even Mahathir the former prime minister who started the most blatant racial discrimination policy against the Chinese started chastising the Malays of late, saying they've become too lazy and dependent on government largess.

Yet despite the heavy discrimination, the Chinese continued to thrive thanks to their industriousness and ingenuity, while many rural Malays not connected with the governing elite remain poor -- classic case of strengthening the strong and weakening the weak. According to Forbes, of the top 10 richest men in Malaysia today, 9 are ethnic Chinese, only 1 is an ethnic Malay who was given everything he had. Green with envy, the ethnic Malays demanded more to keep the government in power. So a new law was made – all Chinese owned businesses have to give 30% ownership to an ethnic Malay, just like that.

Needless to say all this racial discrimination resulted in a massive brain drain for the country. many middle class Indians joined the Chinese and emigrated en masse to Australia, NZ, US, Canada, Europe, Singapore, HK, Taiwan, Japan. The ones left are often destitute and poor, heavily discriminated against due to their darker skin, and became criminals. Al Jazeera recently reported that the 7% ethnic Indians in Malaysia commit 70% of the crime.

To see how much this has cost Malaysia -- Singapore split off from Malaysia 2 years after their joint independence from Britain and was left in destitute as they have no natural resources. But Lee Kuan Yew with the help of many Malaysian Chinese who emigrated to Singapore turned it into one of the richest countries in the world in one generation with a nominal per capita GDP of $53k, while Malaysia is firmly stuck at $9.4k, despite being endowed with natural resources from oil to tin and beautiful beaches. The combination of heavy emigration among the Chinese and high birthrate among the muslim Malays encouraged by racialist Mahathir, the Chinese went from 40% of the population in 1957 to 23% today. The Indians went from 11% to 7%.

I fear that I'm seeing the same kind of problem in the US. It's supremely stupid for the whites to want to give up their majority status through open borders. Most Asians like me who immigrated here decades ago did it to get away from the corrupt, dishonest, dog-eat-dog, misogynistic culture of Asia. But when so many are now here, it defeats the purpose. The larger the immigrant group, the longer it takes to assimilate them. Multiculturalism is a failed concept, especially when coupled with identity politics. Affirmative Action does not work, it only creates a toxic cycle of dependency. The US is playing with fire. We need a 20 year moratorium on immigration and assimilate all those already here. Otherwise, I fear the US will turn into another basketcase like Malaysia.

Truth > , August 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RrWfNonLDQ

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh There were only about one million Indians living in what is the United States in 1500. There are now 3 million living in much better conditions than in 1500.

I would be willing to accept non White immigration if the non White immigrants and our government would end affirmative action for non Whites.

Asians are discriminated against in college admissions. But in the job market they have affirmative action aristocratic status over Whites.

Truth > , August 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike The sno percentage is much higher an Ukraine, Hungary and Austria than here.

Joe Wong > , August 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic John Derbyshire has made similar arguments--racial preferences are the price for social peace. But, as Steve Sailer has pointed out, we're running out of white and Asian children to buffer black dysfunction and Asians are going to get less and less willing to be "sacrificial lambs" for a black underclass that they did nothing to create and that they despise.

There are other ways to control the black underclass. You can force the talented ones to remain in their community and provide what leadership they can. Black violence can be met with instant retributive counter-violence. (Prior to the 1960s most race riots were white on black.) Whites can enforce white norms on the black community, who will sort-of conform to them as best they are able.

Finally, Rudyard Kipling had a commentary on Danegeld. It applies to paying off dysfunctional domestic minorities just as much to invading enemies.

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"

admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace and, as such, has nothing to do with racial justice,

The Black are protesting relentlessly and loudly verbally and thru assertive actions about the racial discrimination they have been facing. I have never seen those academically unqualified blacks admitted to the elite schools have stood up using themselves as shiny examples to refute the discrimination allegations the Black made against the White.

While the policy to protect the racial peace by admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools failed miserably, the restricting the smart and qualified Asians to elite schools is blatantly racial injustice practice exercised in broad day light with a straight face lie. The strategy is to cause resentment between the minorities so that the White can admitting their academically unqualified ones to elite schools without arousing scrutiny.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm GMT

@Saxon I'm white, you stupid faggot.

I am extremely committed that you White Trashionalists fulfill your duty as wastebaskets of genetic matter.

Excellent whites exist only because the waste produced gets removed in the form of WN wiggers.

Like I said, there is a huge variance within whites. Therefore, you have no business speaking for respectable whites.

Worst of all, you Nationalist-Leftists are un-American.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT

@Astuteobservor II Just google solutrean theory Europeans arrived in America 20,000 years ago. Many articles come up including from smithsonian.

The east coast Canadian Indians always had the founding myth they came over the ocean.

There's a book, Across The Atlantic Ice by Dennis Stanford on kindle, Amazon and many book stores.

Priss Factor > , Website August 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

Here is one 'smart Asian' who is not a Self-Righteous Addict of Proglobalism, but what a clown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNrytSEyUoY

Dineshisms are always funny as hell.

Because KKK were Southern Democrats, Democratic Party is forever the KKK party. Never mind Democrats represented a broad swatch of people.
And Dinesh finds some parallels between Old Democrats and Nazi ideology, therefore Democrats are responsible for Nazism. I mean

Doesn't he know that parties change? Democratic Party once used to be working class party. Aint no more.
GOP used to be Party of Lincoln. It is southern party now, and most loyal GOP-ers are Southerns with respect for Confederacy. GOP now wants Southern Neo-Confed votes but don't want Confed memorials. LOL.
Things change.

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond came over to the GOP for a reason.

Dinesh seems to be stuck in 'caste' mentality. Because Dems once had KKK on its side, Democratic Party is forever cast or 'casted' as KKK. And now, 'Democrats are real Nazis'.

Actually, the real supremacism in America at the moment seems to be AIPAC-related.

Anyway, there were leftist elements in National Socialism, but its was more right than left.

Why? Because in the hierarchy of ideological priorities, the most important core value was the 'Aryan' Tribe. Socialized medicine was NOT the highest value among Nazis. Core conviction was the ideology of racial identity and unity. Thus, it was more right than left.

Just because National Socialism had some leftist elements doesn't make it a 'leftist' ideology.

Same is true of Soviet Communism. Stalin brought back high culture and classical music. He favored traditionalist aesthetics to experimental or avant-garde ones. And Soviets promoted some degree of Russian nationalism. And even though communists eradicated certain aspects of the past, they also restored respect for classic literature and culture. So, does that mean USSR was 'conservative' or 'rightist'? No, it had some rightist elements but its core ideology was about class egalitarianism, therefore, it was essentially leftist.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:20 pm GMT

@Joe Wong All the Whites and Asians who are admitted to the top 25 schools are superbly qualified. There are so many applicants every White and Asian is superbly qualified.

The entire point of affirmative action is that Asians and Whites are discriminated against in favor of blacks and Hispanics. Harvard proudly proclaims that is now majority non White.

Don't worry, the Jews decided long ago that you Asian drones would have medicine and tech, Hispanics construction, food, trucking,and cleaning and Hispanics and blacks would share government work and public education.

Whites will gradually disappear and the 110 year old Jewish black coalition will control the Asians and Hispanics through black crime and periodic riots.

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT

@Truth Do you think Beavis and Butthead are choosing Angola over Austria?

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm GMT

@Macumazahn Affirmative action punishes Whites as well and Asians are always free to go back to wherever their parents or grandparents came from.

After 400 years, Whites can't go anywhere.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:35 pm GMT

@Thomm Do you favor affirmative action?

Joe Wong > , August 16, 2017 at 10:40 pm GMT

@Wally So you are a tough guy, and never give in anything to anyone in your life? It seems the Jews have similar view as yours, the Jews insist that if they give in an inch to those Holocaust deniers, they will keep demanding more & more, at the beginning the Holocaust deniers will demand for the evidence, then they will demand the Jews are at fault, then they will demand the Nazi to be resurrected, then they will demand they can carry out Holocaust against anyone they don't like, Pretty soon they will demand they to be treated like the pigs in the Orwellian's Animal Farm.

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

@Thomm "Un-American" is descriptively flaccid. It means nada, nothing, zero. It is vapid and so empty and such a lame lexeme.

Any word that is hackneyed, lifeless, and so low energy would never be scripted by a White committed to excellence.

F the media > , August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Hell with those 'smart Asians'. They are among the biggest Proglob a-holes.

Asians have servile genes that seek approval from the power. They are status-freaks.

They make perfect collaborators with the Glob.

Under communism, they made the most conformist commies.

Under Japanese militarism, they made the most mindless military goons who did Nanking.

Under Khmer Rouge, they were biggest looney killers.

Under PC, they make such goody good PC dogs.

If the prevailing culture of US was patriotic and conservatives, Asians would try to conform to that, and that wouldn't be so bad.

But since the prevailing culture is PC, these yellow dogs are among the biggest homomaniacal PC tards.

Hell with them. Yellow dogs voted for Obama and Hillary in high numbers. They despise, hate, and feel contempt for white masses and working class. They are servitors of the empire as Darrell Hamamoto said. He's one of the few good guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bs_BbIBCoY

Just look at that Francis Fukuyama, that slavish dog of Soros. He's so disgusting. And then, you got that brown Asian tard Fareed Zakaria. What a vile lowlife. And that fat Jeer Heet who ran from dirty browns shi**ing all over the place outdoors to live with white people but bitches about 'white supremacy'. Well, the fact that he ran from his own kind to live with whites must mean his own choice prefers white folks. His immigration choice was 'white supremacism'. After all, he could have moved to black Africa. Why didn't he?

PS. The best way of Affirmative Action is to limit it only to American Indians and Blacks of slave ancestry. That's it.

Also, institutions should OPENLY ADMIT that they do indeed discriminate to better represent the broader population. Fair or not, honesty is a virtue. What is most galling about AA is the lies that says 'we are colorblind and meritocratic but...' No more buts. Yes, there is discrimination but to represent larger population. Okay, just be honest. Asia is a big continent and Asians of different ethnicity have very different voting patterns due to their culture and history. Japanese-Americans tend to be the most liberal ethnic group of all Asian groups because of their experience with internment during WWII. Somehow they conveniently forgot that it was a Democrat president who put them in internment, and are now putting the blames squarely on the right for what happened. These Japanese-Americans are drinking the kool-aid big time, but in the 90s I remember a Japanese prime minister got in big trouble for saying America's biggest problem is we have too many blacks and hispanics dragging us down.

Filipinos, Hmongs and other Southeast Asians tend to be poor and rely on government largess to a certain extent, and also benefit from affirmative action at least in the state of CA, they also tend to be liberal.

In this election cycle Indian-Americans have become the most vocal anti-Trumpers. From Indian politicians from WA state like Kshama Sawant, Pramila Jayapal to Indian entertainers like Aziz Ansari, Hasan Minaj, Kumail Nanjani, to Silicon Valley techies like Calexit mastermind VC Shervin Pishevar, Google CEO Sundra Pichai, all are socialist libtards. In my local election, several Indians are running for city council. All are first generation, all Democrats and champions of liberal policies. It's as if they have amnesia(or just lower IQ), not remembering that socialism was why they had to leave the shithole India to begin with. A Korean American is running as a Republican.

There are Chinese idiots like Ted Lieu and other asians who've gone to elite schools therefore drinking the kool-aid and insisted AA is good for Asian Americans, but most Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese tend to be more conservative and lean Republican. During the Trump campaign Breitbart printed a story about a group of Chinese Americans voicing their support for Trump despite his anti-China rhetoric because they had no intention of seeing the US turned into another socialist shithole like China.

Per the NYT a major reason Asians vote Republican is because of AA. Asians revere education, esp. the Chinese and Koreans, and they see holistic admission is largely bullshit set up by Jews to protect their legacy status while throwing a few bones to under qualified blacks and hispanics. Unfortunately it didn't seem to dampen their desire to immigrate here. Given that there are 4 billion Asians and thanks to open borders, if it weren't for AA all our top 100 schools will be 100% Asian in no time. I suggest we first curtail Asian immigration, limit their number to no more than 10,000 a year, then we can discuss dismantling AA.

Anon > , Disclaimer August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Wally This is false. See:

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/#main-findings

California sends far more to Washington than it sends back. Also, there is no correlation between percentage of federal land and dependence on federal funding. If there were, Delaware would be the least dependent state in the US.

Clue: It isn't.

Anon > , Disclaimer August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Wally This is false. See:

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/#main-findings

California sends far more to Washington than it sends back. Also, there is no correlation between percentage of federal land and dependence on federal funding. If there were, Maine would be among the least dependent states in the US.

Clue: It isn't.

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm GMT

@Alden https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutrean_hypothesis

if the wiki is reliable. you shouldn't be telling others like it is a cold hard fact. But still a very interesting read. thanks for bringing it up.

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 10:48 pm GMT

@Alden

But in the job market they have affirmative action aristocratic status over Whites.

that is another bold claim. I know of black quotas, but asian quota???

F the media > , August 16, 2017 at 11:06 pm GMT

@Astuteobservor II The Indian tribe in tech is known to favor Indians in hiring. I've read from other Indian posters elsewhere that Indian managers like to hire Indian underlings because they are easier to bully.

Indian outsourcing firms like Infosys, TCS, Wipro are like 90% Indian, mostly imported directly from India, with token whites as admin or account manager.

THe Realist > , Website August 16, 2017 at 11:13 pm GMT

@Truth See #65 above. You die, too, boy.

F the media > , August 16, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer That's pretty funny. The guy's got balls. Probably son of some corrupt Chinese government official used to being treated like an emperor back home, ain't taking no shit from black folks.

I suppose this is what happens when universities clamor to accept foreign students because they are full pay. His tuition dollar is directly subsidizing these affirmative action hacks, who are now preventing him from studying. He has fully paid for his right to tell them to STFU.

Joe Wong > , August 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm GMT

@Beckow Romans did not think Europe was a nice place to live, full of bloodthirsty barbarians, uneducated, smelly, dirty, foul mouth and rogue manner, even nowadays a lot of them cannot use full set of tableware to finish their meal, a single fork will do, it is a litte more civilized than those use fingers only.

After a millennium of dark age of superstition, religious cult suppression, utter poverty medieval serf Europe, it followed by centuries of racial cleanses, complete destruction of war, stealing and hypocrisy on industrial scale, this time not only restricted to Europe the plague flooded the whole planet.

Even nowadays the same plague from Europe and its offshoots in the North America is threatening to exterminate the human beings with a big bang for their blinding racial obligatory. The rest of the world only can hope this plague would stay put in North America and Europe, so the rest world can live in peace and prosperity.

Joe Franklin > , August 16, 2017 at 11:33 pm GMT

Asians receive federal entitlements the same as the other protected class groups of diversity.

Diversity ideology lectures us that Asians are oppressed by Occidentals.

1. Preferential US immigration, citizenship, and asylum policies for Asian people
2. Federal 8a set-aside government contracts for Asian owned businesses
3. Affirmative Action for Asians especially toward obtaining government jobs
4. Government anti-discrimination laws for Asians
4. Government hate speech crime prosecutions in defense of Asians
5. Sanctuary cities for illegal Asians, and other protected class groups of diversity
6. Asian espionage directed at the US is common, and many times goes unprosecuted
7. American trade policy allows mass importation of cheap Asian products built with slave labor
8. Whaling allowance for some Asian ethnic groups
9. Most H1-B visas awarded to Asians

Reg Cęsar > , August 16, 2017 at 11:38 pm GMT

@Thomm

Please stop trying to confuse Orientals with Indians and other subcontinentals. They are quite distinct.

In their original countries they are, but in America they are almost identical in all ways except appearance and diet.

And odor.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 12:10 am GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Thomm=the girly boy blatherings of a White Libertarian Cuck...

The benefit to the Historic Native Born White American Working Class of being voted into a White Racial Minority in California by Chinese "Americans"...Korean "Americans"....Hindu "Americans"...Sihk "Americans"...and Iranian "Americans"?


Answer:0.... Bring back the Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act!!!


Two Great pro-White Socialist Labor Leaders:Denis Kearney and Samuel Gompers...go read Denis Kearney's Rebel Rousing speeches...google Samuel Gompers' Congressional Testimony in favor of the passage of The Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act... It is MUCH better to be a libertarian than to be a Nationalist-Leftist. You have effectively admitted that you want intra-white socialism since you can't hack it yourself.

Socialists = untalented losers.

Plus, I guarantee that your ancestors were not in America since 1776. You are just some 2nd-gen Polack or something.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 12:12 am GMT

@Alden

Do you favor affirmative action?

Absolutely not. It is one of the worst things ever devised.

Issac > , August 17, 2017 at 12:12 am GMT

@Thomm Sounds like a Jewish fantasy.

Vinteuil > , August 17, 2017 at 12:14 am GMT

@Priss Factor Here is one 'smart Asian' who is not a Self-Righteous Addict of Proglobalism, but what a clown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNrytSEyUoY

Dineshisms are always funny as hell.

Because KKK were Southern Democrats, Democratic Party is forever the KKK party. Never mind Democrats represented a broad swatch of people.
And Dinesh finds some parallels between Old Democrats and Nazi ideology, therefore Democrats are responsible for Nazism. I mean...

Doesn't he know that parties change? Democratic Party once used to be working class party. Aint no more.
GOP used to be Party of Lincoln. It is southern party now, and most loyal GOP-ers are Southerns with respect for Confederacy. GOP now wants Southern Neo-Confed votes but don't want Confed memorials. LOL.
Things change.

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond came over to the GOP for a reason.

Dinesh seems to be stuck in 'caste' mentality. Because Dems once had KKK on its side, Democratic Party is forever cast or 'casted' as KKK. And now, 'Democrats are real Nazis'.

Actually, the real supremacism in America at the moment seems to be AIPAC-related.

Anyway, there were leftist elements in National Socialism, but its was more right than left.

Why? Because in the hierarchy of ideological priorities, the most important core value was the 'Aryan' Tribe. Socialized medicine was NOT the highest value among Nazis. Core conviction was the ideology of racial identity and unity. Thus, it was more right than left.

Just because National Socialism had some leftist elements doesn't make it a 'leftist' ideology.

Same is true of Soviet Communism. Stalin brought back high culture and classical music. He favored traditionalist aesthetics to experimental or avant-garde ones. And Soviets promoted some degree of Russian nationalism. And even though communists eradicated certain aspects of the past, they also restored respect for classic literature and culture. So, does that mean USSR was 'conservative' or 'rightist'? No, it had some rightist elements but its core ideology was about class egalitarianism, therefore, it was essentially leftist. "Stalin brought back high culture and classical music. He favored traditionalist aesthetics to experimental or avant-garde ones."

Priss, you haven't the first clue what you're talking about, here. Stalin didn't favor "traditionalist aesthetics" – he favored vulgar pop-crap.

Issac > , August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am GMT

@Joe Wong Ah yes, the whites are well known for their bigotry. That's why they're so mono-racial and China is so diverse. Good point Chang.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am GMT

@Joe Franklin Asians receive federal entitlements the same as the other protected class groups of diversity.

Diversity ideology lectures us that Asians are oppressed by Occidentals.


1. Preferential US immigration, citizenship, and asylum policies for Asian people
2. Federal 8a set-aside government contracts for Asian owned businesses
3. Affirmative Action for Asians especially toward obtaining government jobs
4. Government anti-discrimination laws for Asians
4. Government hate speech crime prosecutions in defense of Asians
5. Sanctuary cities for illegal Asians, and other protected class groups of diversity
6. Asian espionage directed at the US is common, and many times goes unprosecuted
7. American trade policy allows mass importation of cheap Asian products built with slave labor
8. Whaling allowance for some Asian ethnic groups
9. Most H1-B visas awarded to Asians That is completely false. You just memorized that from some bogus site.

Section 8a is used more by white women than by Asians, and Asians get excluded from it due to high income. It should be done away with altogether, of course.

Asians face discrimination in University admissions, as the main article describes.

H1-Bs are awarded to Asians because white countries don't produce enough people who qualify.

Plus, Asian SAT scores are consistently higher than whites. That proves that Asian success was not due to AA.

Joe Wong > , August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am GMT

@Alden

the 110 year old Jewish black coalition will control

I am not sure the Muslim and Indian will agree to that, they have a very strong birth rate that can match if not surpass the blacks too.

Saxon > , August 17, 2017 at 12:46 am GMT

@Thomm Green isn't a color that suits you. You're a subcontinental hanger-on who's only able to garner any success in any western country due to an anarcho-tyranny in enforcement against ethnonepotism as well as lavish handouts in the form of all sorts of party favors.

There are very few non-white groups that could do any well on a level playing field with equal enforcement against nepotism, and yours isn't one of them. Your country? Sad!

Ron Unz > , August 17, 2017 at 12:47 am GMT

@Alden

Whites will gradually disappear and the 110 year old Jewish black coalition will control the Asians and Hispanics through black crime and periodic riots.

I don't think this is correct

Since California already has (very roughly) the future demographics you're considering, I think it serves as a good test-case.

The Hispanic and Asian populations have been growing rapidly, and they tend to hold an increasing share of the political power, together with the large white population, though until very recently most of the top offices were still held by (elderly) whites. Whites would have much more political power, except that roughly half of them are still Republicans, and the Republican Party has almost none.

In most of the urban areas, there's relatively little black crime these days since so many of the blacks have been driven away or sent off to prison. I'd also say that major black riots in CA are almost unthinkable since many of the local police forces are heavily Hispanic: they don't particularly like blacks, and might easily shoot the black rioters dead while being backed up by the politicians, and many of the blacks probably recognize this. Admittedly, CA always had a relatively small black population, but that didn't prevent enormous black crime and black riots in the past due to the different demographics.

Meanwhile, Jewish-activists still possess enormous influence over CA politics, but they exert that influence through money and media, just like they do everywhere else in the country.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT

@F the media that is actually true about indians. I have first hand account of a 100+ tech dept getting taken over by indians in just 3 years :/ but that is not a "quota" that is just indians abusing their power once in position of power.

Priss Factor > , August 17, 2017 at 1:26 am GMT

@Vinteuil Priss, you haven't the first clue what you're talking about, here. Stalin didn't favor "traditionalist aesthetics" – he favored vulgar pop-crap.

Right.. Ballet, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and classic literature. That's some pop crap.
Soviet Culture was about commie Lena Dunhams.

Now, most of Soviet culture was what might be called kitsch or middlebrow stuff, but it was not 'pop crap' as known in the West.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 1:35 am GMT

@THe Realist LOL, if you're the one holding the knife, hatchet, billy club or brick, I like my chances.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 1:58 am GMT

@Saxon Green isn't a color that suits you. You're a subcontinental hanger-on who's only able to garner any success in any western country due to an anarcho-tyranny in enforcement against ethnonepotism as well as lavish handouts in the form of all sorts of party favors.

There are very few non-white groups that could do any well on a level playing field with equal enforcement against nepotism, and yours isn't one of them. Your country? Sad! Whatever helps you sleep at night..

Yesterday I was called a Jew. Today, it is Indian. In reality, I am a white American guy.

You white trashionalists can't get your stories straight, can you? Well, WNs are known for having negro IQs.

Asians don't get affirmative action. They outscore whites in the SAT.

But even blacks outscore WNs like you.

Heh heh heh heh

Joe Franklin > , August 17, 2017 at 2:03 am GMT

@Thomm That is completely false. You just memorized that from some bogus site.

Section 8a is used more by white women than by Asians, and Asians get excluded from it due to high income. It should be done away with altogether, of course.

Asians face discrimination in University admissions, as the main article describes.

H1-Bs are awarded to Asians because white countries don't produce enough people who qualify.

Plus, Asian SAT scores are consistently higher than whites. That proves that Asian success was not due to AA. You have reading comprehension problems to have confused Federal 8A government contacts with Section 8 housing.

8A contracts are federal contracts granted to "socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s)."

https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/8a-business-development-program/eligibility-requirements/8a-requirements-overview

The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) and controlled/managed by socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).

The individual(s) controlling and managing the firm on a full-time basis must meet the SBA requirement for disadvantage, by proving both social disadvantage and economic disadvantage.

http://sbda.com/sba_8(a) .htm

Definition of Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals

Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identities as members of groups without regard to their individual qualities. The social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the following individuals are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:

• Black Americans;

• Hispanic Americans (persons with origins from Latin America, South America, Portugal and Spain);

• Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians);


• Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands [Republic of Palau], Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Laos, Cambodia [Kampuchea], Taiwan, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao, Hong Kong, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru);

• Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal);

• And members of other groups designated from time to time by the SBA.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:20 am GMT

@F the media

That's pretty funny. The guy's got balls.

Nah, just some goofy nerd working on his PhD in Library Science.

THIS Kat on the other hand is my N-!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaTLgw_akhg

Beckow > , August 17, 2017 at 2:25 am GMT

@Joe Wong Romans lived in Europe, get an atlas, Rome is in Europe. I will skip over your silly summaries of European history, we all can do it to any civilization all day. Pointless. Try China. Oh, I forgot, nobody knows much Chinese up and downs because it was mostly inconsequential.

If you call others 'racist' all the time, they might just not take your seriously. Or simply say, fine, if liking one's culture is now 'racism', if it is a white culture, then count me in. The rest of the world is tripping over itself to move – literally to physically move – to Europe and North America. Why do you think that is?

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT

@Ron Unz

I'd also say that major black riots in CA are almost unthinkable since many of the local police forces are heavily Hispanic: they don't particularly like blacks, and might easily shoot the black rioters dead

Oh, would you stop being a make-believe pundit, Ron? That is some commentary you copped from an OJ-era LA Times expose. You've had one conversation with a police officer in your life, and that was over an illegal left term outside the Loma Linda Starbucksand culminated in disturbing the peace when exited your Bentley yelling "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!" at the top of your lungs for 4 minutes.

Whenever you've had a nudity-mandatory, eyes-wide-shut, type globalist-soiree at your palatial mansion, the only people you invited were politicians, lawyers, Ivy-league economists, Silicon Valley tech nerds and hookers.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT

@Priss Factor They had to be into all that tired, boring, 11-century old shit; they didn't have any black people.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 2:37 am GMT

@Joe Franklin We've been over this. 8a is not given to anyone with over $250,000 in assets, as your own link indicates. This means most Asians can't use it anyway (not that they need to).

The whole program should be done away with, of course.

What is funny is that you can't accept that Asians have higher SAT scores than whites, which pretty much proves that they can (and do) outperform without AA. You WN idiots can't come to terms with that.

But Section 8a should be removed just so that WN wiggers don't have anything to hide behind, since Asians don't need it to excel.

War for Blair Mountain > , August 17, 2017 at 2:44 am GMT

@Thomm These untalented Socialists you refer to would include the vast majority of America 1969 90 percent Native Born White America .a White Nation that placed two Alpha Native Born White American Males on the Moon .ten more after that. Seems that Socialism worked just fine.

If you prefer an Asian Majority you can always pack your bags and pick the Asian Nation of your choice.

uman > , August 17, 2017 at 3:09 am GMT

@Ron Unz hmm i don't know that will be the case nationally. Southern cities like Atlanta will not have hispanic or white govt. Same with nyc, no need for blacks in harlem or bronx to leave if government aid continues to pay for rent controlled affordable housing. Same case can be made for most large northern cities like chicago, detroit, boston, philadelphia, DC, etc.

So with future aa population of 14%, that's 60 million blacks in america in 2060 timeframe, although that will have an increasing amount of immigration from africa, which tends to be more educated (at least 1st and 2nd generation).

Asians will be about 8%, so that's a poweful community of 40 million. I see tech and wall street with increasing amount of asian representations.

What i would be interested in seeing if there will any maverick asian billionaires that could disrupt the narrative.

Ronnie > , August 17, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT

This article may tend to take your mind off the real racial injustice at Harvard. In an article "Affirmative Action Battle Has a New Focus: Asian-Americans" in the NY Times, August 3, 2017 ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS and STEPHANIE SAUL wrote ""The Harvard lawsuit likens attitudes toward Asian-Americans to attitudes toward Jews at Harvard, beginning around 1920, when Jews were a high-achieving minority. In 1918, Jews reached 20 percent of the Harvard freshman class, and the university soon proposed a quota to lower the number of Jewish students."" In my humble opinion this is a misleading statement which implies that the admission of Jews remained below 20% in the years after 1918. In fact Hillel reports that in recent years the admission of jews to Harvard has been around 25% of the class. This means that almost half of the class are white and half of this white group are Jews. That seems like an amazing over-representation of Jews who are only 2% of our population. So, at least as many Jews as Asians are admitted to Harvard. No wonder the Asians are upset. I note that this article does not point out this Jewish bias in admissions at Harvard and neither did the Asians. Is this another manifestation of political correctness? Or is it an egregious example of racism? This problem is the real elephant in the room. This is the Jewish racism that dare not speak its name. Until lately.

Joe Franklin > , August 17, 2017 at 3:38 am GMT

@Thomm Thanks for changing the subject back to 8A contracts, a subject I first brought up.

You ignorantly labeled me a liar and then prattled on about unrelated Section 8 housing.

I've never mentioned anything about SAT scores because they are irrelevant to anything whatsoever that I've posted.

SAT scores are your irrelevant preoccupation, not mine.

I'm just a person that detests government diversity schemes, group entitlements, and federal protected class groups.

Like it or not, Asians are one of many federal protected class groups entitled by law.

I'm not a WN nor did I ever claim to be a WN; just another example of your fevered and imagined conversations with me.

You are fairly stupid to claim that "most Asians" are rich.

You appear to be a grossly ignorant and arrogant dickhead.

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 3:41 am GMT

@Truth Truth, you is so wise and true. You's right. Them Russian dummies didn't have no vibrant black folks to make fun music that could make them wiggle their butts all their night long. So, they grew stale and bored and drank too much vodka, caught fish with penis, and wrestled with bears and didn't have the all the cool stuff like the US has.

All the world needs to be colonized by superior Negroes cuz folks will just die of boredom.
At least if you get killed by Negroes, it's exciting-like.

Ron Unz > , August 17, 2017 at 3:54 am GMT

@uman

hmm i don't know that will be the case nationally. Southern cities like Atlanta will not have hispanic or white govt. Same with nyc, no need for blacks in harlem or bronx to leave if government aid continues to pay for rent controlled affordable housing. Same case can be made for most large northern cities like chicago, detroit, boston, philadelphia, DC, etc.

Well, my California analogy was self-admittedly very rough and approximate given the considerable differences in demographics. But I strongly suspect that such considerations provide a hidden key to some contentious national policies of the last couple of decades, and I've actually written extensively on the subject:

http://www.unz.com/runz/race-and-crime-in-america/#the-hidden-motive-for-heavy-immigration

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT

@Joe Franklin

You are fairly stupid to claim that "most Asians" are rich.

They have higher household income than whites. Many do not qualify for 8a (not that they needed).

But yes, 8a should be abolished, just like ALL other affirmative action.

SAT scores are your irrelevant preoccupation, not mine.

It is relevant, because it demolishes your retarded belief that Asian success would not have happened without affirmative action.

You really are quite lacking in basic intelligence. A typical white trashionalist.

MarkinLA > , August 17, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

@Anon I imagine it was far different before the defense wind-downs of the mid 90s. Along with the many cut-backs a lot of defense was moved out of California by the contractors as punishment for California's liberal Congressmen. Companies that merged with California based operation usually consolidated outside California such as when Raytheon swallowed up Hughes Aircraft Companies defense operations and moved R&D to Massachusetts.

dearieme > , August 17, 2017 at 11:02 am GMT

@Liberty Mike I know several white people who would rather live in Botswana than the Ukraine. They have the advantage of having visited . The rest of your list seems pretty sound with the possible exception of Swaziland.

P.S. If you deleted Austria and Hungary and replaced them by Albania and Kosovo you might make your point even stronger.

dearieme > , August 17, 2017 at 11:06 am GMT

@Joe Franklin Good God, how absolutely awful to hale from Portugal, Spain, or Singapore.

Saxon > , August 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT

@Thomm You're non-white and really dumb to boot; you don't understand the ecology of a society. Even the white proles are better than your people's proles because they don't make functional civilizations impossible. If it were possible for a tiny minority to drag the lowers upwards you would be able to haul your lower castes upwards and make your own country work, then the Brahmins would have done it. They can't because the average abilities, intelligence and disposition of the masses is too low of quality in those countries to the point where tourists need to be given explicit warnings about rape and other problems which you will never need when visiting, say, some English village of completely average English people. The "white trash" you decry is probably only slightly below your midwit level of intelligence.

Asians do get affirmative action in employment and promotions in the workplace by the way, just not in education.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Alright, you're finally starting to get it.

MarkinLA > , August 17, 2017 at 2:59 pm GMT

@Thomm I seem to remember you telling everybody that Asians DON'T get affirmative action JUST GOOGLE IT without ever offering proof. Of course it never occurred to you that there could never be any documented proof of something like that. There isn't even official documented proof that white males don't get affirmative action. When people claimed and linked to articles indicating Asians are considered disadvantaged by the government, you claimed those people didn't know what they were talking about JUST GOOGLE IT.

I think you made it quite obvious who the idiot is.

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT

It's time to force our "Golden Dozen" (Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Amherst and Williams) to admit 100% black until the average black income($43k) equals that of average white income($71k).

I'm Asian and I approve of this message.

Azn_bro > , August 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm GMT

@Thomm The worst hate crimes I have personally witnessed were perpetrated by black men. I have also seen more casual racism against Asians from blacks than from whites. This might be different in other parts of the country or world.

Outside of the U.S., East Asians are the least likely to want to engage in some kind of anti-white alliance since all of the West's most embarrassing military defeats have come from East Asians. We have always relied on guns and not white guilt for racial equality.

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT

@Ronnie In case you haven't noticed, Jews run this country. They dominate the media, academia, Wall Street, Hollywood, Capitol Hill via the DNC and lobbying firms, Silicon Valley. Per the NYT 80% of Jews are self-proclaimed liberals. They are obsessed with dismantling the WASP World Order that in their mind has oppressed them for the last 2000 years. The Ivy League is the pipeline to these 6 sectors that collectively control the country, whoever controls Harvard controls the country. Jews not only make up majority of the elite college faculty (esp. in the social sciences) but are disproportionately benefiting from legacy admission and development cases(admission of the dim witted sons and daughters of the rich and famous like Malia Obama, Jared Kushner, all of Al Gore's kids).

Asians are the next up. Practically all Asians who've gone to the Ivy League or Stanford have voiced their support for affirmative action, many are left wing nuts like the Jews. CA house representative Ted Liu is one such kool-aid drinking Asian libtard, along with the HI judge Derrick Watson and Baltimore judge Theodore Chuang, both of whom blocked Trump's temp. suspension of Muslim refugees, both went to Harvard Law. As an Asian I would be more than happy if the Ivy League simply make themselves off limits to all Asians and turn their schools 100% black. We don't need more Asians to get indoctrinated in their dumb liberal ideology and go down in history as the group next to the Jews and the blacks who destroyed America.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm GMT

@Saxon You're non-white and really dumb to boot; you don't understand the ecology of a society. Even the white proles are better than your people's proles because they don't make functional civilizations impossible. If it were possible for a tiny minority to drag the lowers upwards you would be able to haul your lower castes upwards and make your own country work, then the Brahmins would have done it. They can't because the average abilities, intelligence and disposition of the masses is too low of quality in those countries to the point where tourists need to be given explicit warnings about rape and other problems which you will never need when visiting, say, some English village of completely average English people. The "white trash" you decry is probably only slightly below your midwit level of intelligence.

Asians do get affirmative action in employment and promotions in the workplace by the way, just not in education.

Asians do get affirmative action in employment and promotions in the workplace by the way, just not in education.

No they don't, as this very article explains. Could you BE more of a retard?

Plus, the fact that Asians get higher SAT scores than whites proves that they don't need it. There is a left-wing conspiracy to hide Asian success.

Now, regarding an underachieving WN faggot like you :

Remember that white variance is very high. Excellent whites (like me) exist only because genetic waste master has to be removed from the other end of the process. You and other WNs represent that genetic waste matter, and that is why white women are doing a heroic duty of cutting you off (at least the minority of WNs that are straight. Most are gay, as Jack Donovan has explained). Nature wants the waste matter you comprise of to be expelled.

If you cared about the white race, you would be extremely glad that white women are cutting you off, as that is necessary to get rid of the pollution that you represent.

Heh heh heh heh . it is so much fun to put a WN faggot in its place.

Heh heh heh heh

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm GMT

@Azn_bro Yes, what you say is true.

Any real American would be proud of Asian success, as that represents the American Dream that our country was founded on.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm GMT

@MarkinLA No, I talked about 8a even two weeks ago. Good god, you WN really do have negro IQs.

8a benefits Asians the least, and THE WHOLE THING SHOULD BE ABOLISHED ANYWAY. There should be no AA, ever.

8a harms Asians as it taints their otherwise pristine claim to having succeeded without AA. They don't need 8a, most don't qualify for it as they exceed the $250,000 cutoff, and it lets WN faggots claim that 'all of Asian success is due to AA', which is demonstrably false.

Read this slowly, 10 times, so that even a wigger like you can get it.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm GMT

@Abracadabra Heh.. good one.

Don't let these WN faggots get away with claiming all of Asian success is merely due to affirmative action. In reality, Asians don't get affirmative action (other than wrongly being included in the Section 8a code form the 1980s, which ultimately was used by barely 2% of the Asian community).

Remember that among us whites, variance is extremely high. The prettiest woman alongside pretty of ugly fat feminists (who the WN losers still worship). The smartest men, and then these loserish WNs with low IQs and no social skills. White variance is very high.

That is why WNs are so frustrated. They can't get other whites to give them the time of day, and white women are super-committed to shutting out WN loser males from respectable society.

Don't let them claim that Asian success is solely due to affirmative action. Remember, respectable whites hate these WN faggots.

Saxon > , August 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm GMT

@Thomm You're not white, though. You're a rentseeker hanging onto someone else's country and the fact that you write barely literate garbage posts with no substance to them tells all about your intellect and your "high achievement." You're not high quality. You're mediocre at best and probably not even that since your writing is so bad.

Do you even do statistics, though? Whites make up about 70% of the national merit scholars in the US yet aren't in the Ivies at that rate. Harvard for example is maybe only 25% white. Asians are over-represented compared to their merit and jews way over-represented over any merit. Now how does that happen without nepotism? The whole system of any racial favoritism should be scrapped but of course that wouldn't benefit people like you, Thomm.

George Orwell > , August 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT

Whites aren't more innovative and ambitious than Chinese people. You only have to look at the chinless Unite the Right idiots in Charlottesville to dispel any idea that whites are the superior race. The

üeljang > , August 17, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

This Thomm character is obviously of East Asian origin. His tedious, repetitive blather about Asians, white women, and "white nationalist faggots" is a telltale sign. One of his type characteristically sounds like he would be so much less distressed if those white males were not white nationalist faggots.

Diversity Heretic > , August 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh An interesting historical argument My reply Land isn't money Arguably the Normans came back in the form of the Plantagenets to contest the French throne in the 100 Years War. But by that time France wasn't nearly so feeble

Giving Negroes land in the form of a North American homeland appeals to me (provided whites get one too) although I know the geography is agonizing Blacks tend not to like this suggestion–they realize how depedent they are on whites That wasn't true of the Normans–quite self-reliant fellows!

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm GMT

@Thomm I'm not sure what it was that I said that made you think I think all Asian success is due to AA. In fact I think the opposite is true, that Asians succeed in spite of AA, which is set up solely to hinder Asians from joining the club, and as far as I'm concern, it's a club of sell-out globalist libtards that I wouldn't want more Asians to join.

I've worked in tech long enough to know that in tech, no one gives a fudge where you went to school. I am surrounded by deca-millionaires who went to state schools, many aren't even flagship, some didn't even study STEM. Some didn't even go to college or graduate. The only people I know who still care about the Ivy League are 1st generation often FOB China/India trash, and a small number of Jewish kids looking to benefit from legacy admission, most are gay and/or serious libtards.

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT

You can tell that Jewish achievement has fallen off a cliff as Ron Unz asserted by looking at a certain popular college website. The longest running thread that's been up there for nearly a decade with over a thousand pages and over 18,000 posts is called "Colleges for the Jewish "B" student". The site is crawling with uber liberal Jewish mothers and monitored by a gang of Ivy graduated SJWs who strictly enforce their "safe space", posters who post anything at all that might offend anyone (affirmative action is always a sensitive topic) are either thrown in "jail" i.e. ban from posting for a month, or kicked off altogether. The SJW forum monitors even directly edit user comments as they see fit, first amendment rights be damned. This is the future of all online forums if the left have their way, the kind of censorship that Piers Morgan advocates.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT

@Abracadabra Not *you* , them.

There are plenty of KKK losers on here claiming that Asian success is due to AA. I am saying you should join me in fighting them.

Note the comments above from Saxon, MarkinLA, etc. They are alll White Trashionalists.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 8:55 pm GMT

@Saxon

Asians are over-represented compared to their merit

False. The main article here alone proves otherwise, plus dozens of other research articles.

You just can't stand that Asian success is due to merit. But you have bigger problems, since as a WN, you can't even compete with blacks.

What bugs you the most is that successful white people like me never give WN faggots the time of day. Most tune you idiots out, but I like to remind you that you are waste matter that is being expunged through the natural evolutionary process.

Vinteuil > , August 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Priss, please, please, please try to get this right:

Stalin DID NOT favor Prokofiev, or Shostakovich. He treated them exactly the same way he treated everybody else – like dirt under his feet.

Shostakovich's (admittedly disputed) memoirs are essential reading, here. Please check them out before you say anything more.

Vinteuil > , August 17, 2017 at 9:57 pm GMT

@Thomm " successful white people like me never give WN faggots the time of day "

So you've got a problem with "faggots?"

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 11:04 pm GMT

@Vinteuil

So you've got a problem with "faggots?"

Yes, more so if they are leftists (including Nationalist-Leftists like WNs are). But the fact that WNs are disproportionately gay (as Jack Donovan points out) also explains why they tend to look grotesque, and it supports the scientific rationale that they are wastebaskets designed to expedite the removal of genetic waste matter.

White variance in talent/looks/intelligence is high. WN loser males and fat, ugly feminists represent the bottom. In the old days, these two would be married to each other since even the lowest tiers were paired up. Today, thankfully, both are being weeded out.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 11:12 pm GMT

I just realized something. a commenter like thomm is the perfect counter to some of the others. hahaha.

Pachyderm Pachyderma > , August 17, 2017 at 11:35 pm GMT

@Saxon God! you are stupid, Saxon he isn't a Paki, he is a Chinaman. No wonder the Normans put you guys in thrall!

Pachyderm Pachyderma > , August 18, 2017 at 1:00 am GMT

@Alden Sure you can why not go back to Europe to replace the growing number of Muslims? It can kill two birds with a single shor!

Thomm > , August 18, 2017 at 1:27 am GMT

@Pachyderm Pachyderma Not just that, but some of these 'white nationalists' are just recent immigrants from Poland and Ukraine. They are desperate to take credit for Western Civilization that they did nothing to create. Deep down, they know that during the Cold War, they were not considered 'white' in America.

400 years? i.e. when most of what is now the lower-48 was controlled by a Spanish-speaking government? Yeah Many of these WNs have been here only 30-70 years. That is one category (the domestic WN wiggers are the other)

Both are equally underachieving and loserish.

MarkinLA > , August 18, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

@Thomm It's too late, everybody knows what I wrote is true and that you are some pathetic millennial libertarian pajama boy. The sad fact is that you can't even man up and admit that you wrote that BS about "Asians don't get affirmative action just google it". See that would have at least have been a sign of maturity, admitting you were wrong.

There is no point reading anything, even once, from a pathetic pajama boy like you.

Thomm > , August 18, 2017 at 3:50 am GMT

@MarkinLA I openly said that I am proud to be libertarian. Remember, talented people can hack in on their own, so they are libertarians.

Untalented losers (like you) want socialism so that you can mooch off of others.

Plus, Asians don't get affirmative action outside of one obscure place (Section 8a) which they often don't qualify for ($250K asset cutoff), don't need, and was never used by more than 2% of the Asian-American community. The fact that Asian SAT scores are higher than whites explains why Asians outperform without AA.

Plus, this very article says that Asians are being held back. A WN faggot like you cannot grasp that even though you are commenting in the comments of this article. Could you be any dumber?

I realize you are not smart enough to grasp these basic concepts, but that is why we all know that white trashionalists have negro IQs.

Now begone; you are getting in the way of your betters.

Heh heh heh heh

Thomm > , August 18, 2017 at 4:03 am GMT

Remember that White variance in brains/looks/talent/character is extremely high. Hence, whites occupy both extremities of human quality.

Hence, the hierarchy of economic productivity is :

Talented whites (including Jews)
Asians (East and South)
Hispanics
Blacks
Untalented whites (aka these WN wastebaskets, and fat femtwats).

That is why :

1) WNs are never given a platform by respectable whites.
2) Bernie Sanders supporters are lily-white, despite his far-left views.
3) WN is a left-wing ideology, as their economic views are left-wing.
4) WNs are unable to even get any white women, as white women have no reason to pollute themselves with this waste matter. Mid-tier white women thus prefer nonwhite men over these WNs, which makes sense based on the hierarchy above.
5) WNs have the IQ of Negros, the poor social skills of an Asian spazoid, etc. They truly combine the worst of all worlds.
6) This is why white unity is impossible; there is no reason for respectable whites to have anything to do with white trashionalists.
7) Genetically, the very fact that superb whites even exists necessitates the production of individuals to act as wastebaskets for removal of genetic waste. WNs are these wastebaskets.
8) The 80s movie 'Twins' was in effect a way to make these wastebaskets feel good, as eventually, the Arnold Schwarzenegger character bonded with the Danny DeVito character. But these two twins effectively represent the sharp bimodal distribution of white quality. Successful whites are personified by the Schwarzenegger character, while WNs by the DeVito character. In reality, these two would never be on friendly terms, as nature produces waste for a reason.

This pretty much all there is to what White Trashionalists really are.

TWS > , August 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm GMT

@Thomm Tiny Duck? You decided to larp under a different handle?

Incontrovertible > , August 18, 2017 at 5:10 pm GMT

Elite colleges are a prime example of left wing hypocrisy. The same people who are constantly calling for an equal society are at the same time perpetuating the most unequal society by clamoring to send their kids to a few elite schools that will ensure their entry to or retain their ranks among the elites. Equality for everyone else, elitism for me and my kids. David Brook's nausea inducing self-hating pablum "How we are ruining America" is a prime example of this hypocrisy.

Another good example of left wing hypocrisy is on "school integration". The same people who condemn "bad schools" for the urban poor and call for more integration are always the first to move into the whitest possible neighborhoods as soon as they have kids. They aren't willing to sacrifice their own kids, they just want other people to sacrifice their children by sending them to bad schools.

If the left didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all.

Tradecraft46 > , August 18, 2017 at 10:00 pm GMT

Look, the world is short handed: we need good help or we pay dues.

Affirmative action and the EEOC are not the answer.

When you need help you get help and don't care if they are green [in the color sense or have supernumerary digits.

I don't need agreement with my whimsy, I just need people who will turn to.

Gene Su > , August 19, 2017 at 1:46 am GMT

When I first saw the title of this article, I, being an Asian, was a tad insulted. It smelled like Dr. Weissberg was attempting to create (or at least escalate) racial strife between Asians and blacks. I then read through the article and evaluated the bad and the good.

First the bad: Dr. Weissberg's assertion that Asians are being hurt by the Affirmative Action promotion of blacks is a bit exaggerated. This is because most Asians go into rigorous difficult programs such as engineering, science, and medicine. Most black affirmative action babies go into soft programs such as Black Studies (and whatever else the humanities have degenerated into).

Now the good: I think this is the most true portion of the essay.

Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner. This status driven divide just reflects human nature. Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's left behind in the Hood? This is the strategy of preventing a large-scale, organized rebellion by decapitating its potential leadership.

I have once wrote that whites stopped sneering at MLK when Malcolm X and the Black Panthers began taking center stage. They sure became more accommodating of "moderate" blacks. With all of the terrorist attacks going on and with blacks converting to Islam, I don't think we're going to get rid of affirmative action any time soon.

Nicholas Stix > , Website August 19, 2017 at 2:42 am GMT

This is a politically plausible but morally craven plan, if we're in 1960.

Oops.

Priss Factor > , Website August 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Vinteuil Stalin alternated between favoritism and intimidation. The truth is he did have an eye and ear for culture unlike Mao who was a total philistine.

If Stalin really hated artists, he would have killed all of them.

He appreciated them but kept a close eye.

He loved the first IVAN THE TERRIBLE by Eisenstein, but he sensed that the second one was a criticism of him, and Eisenstein came under great stress.

Vinteuil > , August 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm GMT

OK, well, Stalin loved the movies, and may have had an eye for effective cinema. But when it came to music he was, precisely, a total philistine. On this point, I again recommend Shostakovich's disputed *Testimony,* a work unique in its combination of hilarity and horror, both of which come to a head in his account of the competition to write a new national anthem to replace the internationale – pp. 256-64. A must read.

DB Cooper > , August 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT

@Thomm Can you explain why if South Asians has such high economic productivity India is such a sh*thole?

Stebbing Heuer > , Website August 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm GMT

@Rdm That's the second comment here picking on bald guys.

What do you have against the bald?

You do realise that it's not possible to control baldness? It's an outcome of genetics, yes?

You do also realise that there is zero correlation between baldness and the quality of one's character?

Are you really as stupid as you appear to be?

MarkinLA > , August 19, 2017 at 11:29 pm GMT

Is this the Onion?

http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/usc-mascot-traveler-comes-under-fire-having-name-similar-robt-e-lees-horse

I wonder how a Bruin is going to be a symbol of racism?

Thomm > , August 20, 2017 at 3:04 am GMT

@DB Cooper For the same reason North Korea is poorer than South Korea, despite being the same people.
For the same reason the GDR was so much poorer than the FRG, despite the same people.

You probably never even thought about that.

A bad political system takes decades to recover from. Remember that the British also strip-mined India for 200 years..

Come on, these are novice questions

If you think the success of Asian-Americans in general (and Indian-Americans in particular) does not jive with your beliefs, then the burden of explaining what that is, is on you.

Indians happen to be the highest-income group in the US. Also very high are Filipinos and Taiwanese.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

Most WNs are far, far below the intellectual level where they can grasp the complexities of issues like this.

Thomm > , August 20, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT

BTW, the economic center of gravity of the world has always been near Asia, except for a 200-year period from 1820-2020.

That the West would cede to Asia is really just a reversion to the historical norm.

WNs are not smart enough to understand maps/charts like this one, but others will find this interesting.

Russ Nieli > , August 20, 2017 at 8:11 am GMT

Bob,

Racial preferences were ended at California public institutions -- including the elite public universities Berkley and UCLA -- by ballot initiative. No black violence ensued. There is little reason to think the black response would be different if the 8 Ivy League universities ended their policies of racial preferences. Blacks would adjust their expectations. Fear of black rioting and the desire to jumpstart the creation of a large and peaceful black middle class may have been important motives for the initial development of racial preference policies in the late 1960s; they are not major reasons for their retention and continued support from white administrators today. Other reasons and motives are operative (including what I call R-word dread).
PS: Cornel West has moved from Princeton to Harvard Divinity School.

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 12:35 pm GMT

"Nevertheless, when all added up, the costs would be far lowers than dealing with widespread 1960s style urban violence."

Except back in the '60′s; the White, Euro-derived people were unwilling to fight back. They felt guilty and half-blamed themselves. Not. Any. More! The costs -- social, mental, emotional, physical; pick your metric! -- have now exceeded the patience of WAY more Americans than the media is letting on.

Did you not see 20- and 30-THOUSAND, mostly White Euro-derived, Americans rallying to candidate -- and now President -- Trump's side? (No, the media carefully clipped the videos to hide those numbers, but there they (we!) were! We're done! We're fed up! "FEEDING" these destructive vermin to keep them from destroying our houses and families (and nation and country!) is no longer acceptable! You "don't let Gremlins eat after midnight"? Well, we did -- and now we're in a war against them.

You think this capitulating in education is preventing 'widespread 1960s-style urban violence? Have you not watched the news? We pretty much already are: ask NYC how many "sliced with a knife" attacks they have there! In JUST Jan. and Feb., there were well more than 500! (Seriously vicious attacks with knives and razor blades -- media mentioned it once for a few days, and then shut up.) Look at the fair in Indianapolis; count up rape statistics; investigate the "knock-out game" ("polar bear hunting" -- guess who's the polar bear?!). (Oh yeah, and: Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago; look at ANY black-filled ruin of a city ) If (when!) we finally have to (CHOOSE to) deal with this low-grade war -- WHO is better armed, better prepared, SMARTER, and fed up?

"This peace-keeping aspect of affirmative action understood, perhaps we ought to view those smart Asians unfairly rejected from Ivy League schools as sacrificial lambs."

Wait, wait -- these are White schools, built by White Americans FOR White Americans! "Oh, the poor Asians are not getting their 'fair share' cause the blacks are getting way more than their 'fair share'?! The Asians' 'fair share' is GO HOME!! The Asians don't have a 'fair share' in White AMERICAN universities; we LET them come here and study -- and that is a KINDNESS: they don't have a 'fair share' of OUR country! How about: stop giving preferences to every damned race and nationality other than the one that BUILT this country and these universities!

Check your premises!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Call them what they are: "paperwork Americans"! Having the paperwork does NOT make them Americans, and nothing ever will!

Imagine a virgin land with no inhabitants: if you took all the Chinese "Americans" or all the Pakistani "Americans" or Black "Americans" or Mexican "Americans" (funny, why did you leave those last two out?! Way more of them than the others ) and moved them there, would they -- COULD they ever -- create another America? No, they would create another China, or another Pakistan -- or their own version of the hellholes their forebears (or they themselves) came from. ONLY White, ONLY Euro-derived Americans could recreate an America.

And this goes, also, to answer the grumbling "Native" Americans who were also NOT native, yes? Siberia, Bering land bridge, ever heard of those? Do you not even know your own pre-history?! What "America" was here when it was a sparse population of warring tribes of variously related Indian groups? What did your forebears make of this continent?

Nothing. There would be no "America" where everyone wants to come and benefit by taking; because ONLY the White settlers (not immigrants: SETTLERS!) were able to create America! And as all you non-Americans (AND paperwork "Americans") continue to swamp and change America for your own benefit -- you will be losing the very thing you came here to take (unfair!) advantage of!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT

@MEFOBILLS

At that point, new public money could be channeled into funding people to leave. Blacks that don't like it in the U.S. would be given X amount of dollars to settle in an African country of their choice.

Chip 'em and ship 'em! Microchip where they CAN'T 'dig it out' to prevent them from ever ever ever returning! And ship 'em out! I'd pay a LOT to have this done!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm GMT

@Mis(ter)Anthrope

Give the feral negroes what they have been asking for. Pull all law enforcement out of negro hellholes like Detroit and South Chicago and let nature take its course.

They (we!) tried that years ago. The BLACK COPS SUED because they were working in the shittiest places with the shittiest, most violent people -- and "the White cops had it easy."

NOT EVEN the blacks want to be with the blacks -- hence them chasing down every last White person, to inflict their Dis-Verse-City on us!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm GMT

@The peril of appeasement

The larger the immigrant group, the longer it takes to assimilate them.

Alas, typical "paperwork American" lack of understanding! I wrote this to a (White) American who wants to keep importing everyone ("save the children!") -- and, she insisted, they "could" assimilate. However, here's what 'assimilate" means:

Suppose you and your family decided to move to, say, Cambodia. You go there intending to "get your part of the Cambodian dream," you go there to become Cambodian citizens, to assimilate and join them, not to invade and change them. You want to adopt their ways, to *assimilate.* Yes? This is how you describe legal immigrants to OUR country (The United States.)

How long would it take for you and your children to be (or even just feel) "assimilated"? How long would it take for you to see your descendants as "assimilated" -- AS Cambodians? Years? Decades? Generations? Would you be trying to fit in -- and "become" Cambodians; or would you be trying to not forget your heritage? ("Heritage"?! Like, Cinco de Mayo, which they don't even celebrate IN Mexico? Or Kwanza -- a CIA-invented completely fake holiday!)

More important: since it's their country -- how long until THEY see you as "Cambodians" and not foreigners. I know a man and family who have lived in Italy for over 20 years. To the Italians in the village where they live, they are still "stranieri": strangers. After this long, to the local Italians, they're not just "the Americans who moved here" -- they're " our Americans" -- but they are still seen as 100% not Italian, not local: not "assimilated"!

Would you and your children and grandchildren learn to speak, read, and write Cambodian -- and stop trying to use English for anything much in your new homeland? Would you join their clubs -- would you join their NATIONAL RELIGION!? Does "becoming Cambodian" -- does "assimilating" -- not actually include (trying to) become Cambodian (and, thus, ceasing to be American)? (If that were even possible; and it's not.) "Assimilation" is a stupid hope, not a possible reality.

That is where my friend balked. She said: she and her family are very Christian, and no way at all ever would they drop Christianity and pick up Cambodian Buddhism. So -- how can they EVER "assimilate" when they (quite rightly) REFUSE to assimilate?!

Please stop buying into the lies the destroyers of OUR nation keep selling. There is no such thing as "assimilation"; only economic parasitism, jihadi invasion, and benefiting from the systems set up by OUR forebears for THEIR posterity!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm GMT

@Priss Factor

Just because National Socialism had some leftist elements doesn't make it a 'leftist' ideology.

Yes. Yes it does. Go watch/listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roMLmYnjslc

The official topic being debated is: "Are National Socialists a legitimate element of the Alt-Right?"
Greg Johnson argues, Yes.
Vox Day argues, No.

rec1man > , August 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm GMT

@DB Cooper Socialism and Affirmative Action

In my origin state of Tamil Nadu, the effective anti-brahmin quota is 100% ( de-jure is just 69% )

Sundar Pichai or Indira Nooyi or Vish Anand ( former Chess champ ) or Ramanujam ( late math whiz ), cant get a Tamil Nadu State Gov , Math school teacher job

Also, the US gets a biased selection of Indians in terms of caste, class and education

Of Tamil Speakers in USA, about 50% are Tamil Brahmins, vs just 2% in India

The bottom 40% in terms of IQ, such as Muslims, Untouchables and Forest Tribals, are no more than 10% in the US Indian diaspora

For comparison, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis ( muslim ), perform much much lower

Thomm > , August 20, 2017 at 10:01 pm GMT

@rec1man

For comparison, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis ( muslim ), perform much much lower

This is interesting, as it puts paid to the obsession that WN idiots have with 'whiteness'.

Pakistan is obviously much more Caucasoid than India and certainly Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan is whiter still. Many in Afghanistan would pass for bona-fide white in the US.

Yet Sri Lanka is richer than India, which is richer than Pakistan, which is richer than Afghanistan.

Either Islam is a negative factor that nullifies everything else including genetics, or something else is going on.

What there is no doubt of is that Asia has been the largest economic region of the world by far except for the brief 200-year deviation (1820-2020), as per that map I posted.

UtherWhys > , August 20, 2017 at 10:50 pm GMT

@Thomm Weissberg asks, "Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's left behind in the Hood?"

Why focus on the LEFT buttock? His point would be as relevant were he to ask, "Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's RIGHT behind in the Hood?" Either way, I smell kinkyness deep within Weissberg's question.

Saintonge235 > , August 21, 2017 at 12:34 am GMT

Not protection money. Imperialism.

"Divide and Rule" said the Romans. Incorporate the potential leaders of those you intend to rule into your hereditary upper class, and the vast majority will stay inert at the least. And many will actively support you. See this post by a black woman: Black Americans: The Organized Left's Expendable Shock Troops .

People like Cornel West are not only NOT rabble-rousing in the 'hood, they're telling blacks to support the people who actively keep them poor. "Affirmative Action" is designed to sabotage its alleged goals. Almost all who 'benefit' from it end up among people whose performance is clearly superior to their own, thus fostering feelings of inferiority, subtly communicating that it doesn't matter what the 'beneficiary' of AA does, they'll always fail. This is no accident.

Without AA, there might still be separation, (consider "ultra-orthodox" Jews), but the separate groups would have to be treated with some respect. Really, viewed amorally, it's a marvelous system for oppressing whites and minorities.

rec1man > , August 21, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT

@Thomm Islam is a negative factor, and the higher IQ castes did not convert to Islam

I have data from California National Merit list, IQ-140 bar

Among Indian Punjabis ;
Jat Sikh peasants = 3 winners ( 75% of Punjabis in USA )
Khatri merchants = 18 winners ( 25% of Punjabis in USA )

Both are extremely caucasoid, both appear heavily among Indian bollywood stars ; genetically very similar, just the evolutionary effect of caste selection for merchant niche vs peasant niche

MarkinLA > , August 21, 2017 at 1:06 am GMT

@Russ Nieli Racial preferences were ended at California public institutions -- including the elite public universities Berkley and UCLA -- by ballot initiative.

But the admissions people immediately started using other dodges like "holistic" admissions policies where they try and figure out if your are a minority from other inferences such as your essay where you indicate "how you have overcome". They also wanted to get rid of the SAT or institute a top X% at each school policy.

Thomm > , August 21, 2017 at 3:19 am GMT

@rec1man I don't know . a lot of the richest Indians in the US are Gujratis who own motels and gas stations. Patels and such..

They were not of some 'high caste' in India; far from it.

Plus, a Tamil who is of 'high caste' is not Caucasoid in the least. Caste does not seem to correlate to economic talent, since business people are the #3 caste out of 4. The richest people in India today are not 'Brahmins'..

Islam is a negative factor, and the higher IQ castes did not convert to Islam

I disagree. Pakistan is 99% Islam, so all castes converted to Islam and/or many of the lighter-skined Pakistanis are Persians and Turks who migrated there..

Afghanistan's religion prior to Islam was Buddhism, not Hinduism

rec1man > , August 21, 2017 at 8:39 am GMT

@Thomm I don't know.... a lot of the richest Indians in the US are Gujratis who own motels and gas stations. Patels and such..

They were not of some 'high caste' in India; far from it.

Plus, a Tamil who is of 'high caste' is not Caucasoid in the least. Caste does not seem to correlate to economic talent, since business people are the #3 caste out of 4. The richest people in India today are not 'Brahmins'..


Islam is a negative factor, and the higher IQ castes did not convert to Islam
I disagree. Pakistan is 99% Islam, so all castes converted to Islam and/or many of the lighter-skined Pakistanis are Persians and Turks who migrated there..

Afghanistan's religion prior to Islam was Buddhism, not Hinduism... Afghanistan was 33% Hindu, 66% buddhist before islam, but in actual practise lots of overlap between Hinduism and Buddhism, and many families had mixed Indic religions

Pakistan was 22% non-muslim in 1947, these 22% were higher caste Hindus and Sikhs – all got driven out in 1947 ; Pakistan is low IQ islamic sludge residue of Punjabi society

I am Tamil speaking, 80% of Tamil brahmins ( 2% ) can be visually distinguished from the 98% Tamil Dravidians ;

vs

Tamil dravidian

Fotosynthesis > , August 21, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

Thomm you take up too much oxygen in the room insisting on the importance your opinions, the whole conversation is much more interesting when i skip past your stupid WN focused city boy sheltered viewpoint. Big words and that retarded hehehe thing you do would get you wrastled to the ground and your face rubbed in the dirt

Truth > , August 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT

@Fotosynthesis hehehehe

Truth > , August 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

@rec1man Does anyone want to fill in my comment here in "Miss" Lakshimi?

Thomm > , August 21, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT

@Fotosynthesis By you and what army?

Remember, WNs represent the absolute bottom of every desirable trait.

Heh heh heh heh

Bill the Kid > , August 21, 2017 at 10:17 pm GMT

@jim jones They look the same because they are all clones of the same body.

Not Another Unz Commenter > , August 21, 2017 at 10:30 pm GMT

@Thomm Why would 'idiot WNs' be happy about the fact that blacks successfully chased asians out of the country, though? That would be a sign that they are gaining a scary degree of power, would it not? Moreover how are white males who want to escape SJW idiocy going to like a country that still actively enforces all sorts of thought control policies of its own? You wannabe libertardian analysts always say silly things like this and it just sounds dumber every time.

Thomm > , August 21, 2017 at 11:13 pm GMT

@Not Another Unz Commenter

Why would 'idiot WNs' be happy about the fact that blacks successfully chased asians out of the country, though? That would be a sign that they are gaining a scary degree of power, would it not?

It would be, but WN retards don't think that far.

You wannabe libertardian analysts always say silly things like this and it just sounds dumber every time.

This is what WNs want, not want I want. It is easy to predict WN opinions.

Plus, being a libertarian is much more desirable than being a WN socialist. Talented people thrive in a libertarian society. WN losers just want to mooch off of successful whites.

JohnMc > , August 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

"Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner."

Really? All that does is give the man a bigger sanctioned soap box. In the ghetto he might affect a couple of hundred people. Siting in academia he gets a lever than can affect tens of thousands. Not a good trade.

S. B. Woo > , August 22, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT

Dear Mr. Weissberg.

Truth is often stranger than fictions. The real reason for discriminating against Asian Ams is not to help make the other minority happy. It is to benefit the whites. The Ivy League schools are using the diversity to give the white applicants an advantage of 140 pst in SAT points. Please see below:

In Table 3.5 on p 92 of Princeton Prof. Espenshade's famous book, "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal", the following shocking fact was revealed:

Table 3.5 (emphasis added)
Race Admission Preferences at Public & Private Institutions
Measured in ACT & SAT Points, Fall 1997
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!-
Public Institutions Private Institutions
ACT-Point Equivalents SAT-Point Equivalents
Item (out of 36) (out of 1600)
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!-
Race
(White) -- –
Black 3.8 310
Hispanics 0.3 130
Asian -3.4 -140

Why are 140 SAT pts. taken away from AsAm applicants? To give the white applicants an advantage of 140 SAT pts. over the historically disadvantaged AsAms by using the nobility of diversity as a cover? This is the reverse of affirmative action. This is a gross abuse of affirmation action. This is outrageous discrimination. If
the purpose is to give the blacks an advantages, why not add more SAT points to blacks and hispanics?

S.B. Woo

Incontrovertible > , August 23, 2017 at 4:30 am GMT

@Avalanche That's an interesting point you brought up, whether anyone can ever really be "assimilated". Even after hundreds of years, blacks and Jews in this country remain very distinct groups. I think for blacks the reason is skin color and culture, while for Jews it is the religion. Both groups have had low out marriage rate until maybe the last couple of decades.

Assimilation is most successful when there's a high intermarriage rate, but intermarriage rate and immigration rate tend to go in opposite directions. The higher the immigration rate, the lower the intermarriage rate.

Hispanics and Asians have been in this country since the 1800s yet you rarely ever meet a hispanic or Asian person who's been here for more than 3 or 4 generations. Why is that? I think it's because many of these earlier groups, due to their small number at the time relative to the population, had intermarried, blended in and disappeared. I would say these earlier immigrants have fully assimilated. The ones who are unassimilated are the new arrivals, those who arrived in large numbers since 2000.

But for some peculiar reason blacks who are mixed with whites often continue to identify as blacks. We see this in Obama, Halle Barry, Vanessa Williams and many other black/white mixes. Black identity is so strong even Indian-black mixed race people call themselves black, like Kamala Harris.

My theory is that most white-hispanic and white-asian marriages are white males with hispanic/asian females. In most cases the white males who married hispanic/asian women are conservatives who prefer women in cultures that are perceived to be more traditional compared to white females who are often selfish and want a divorce at the first sign of personal unhappiness. Many of them then raise their children in full white traditions including as Christians and encourage them to identify themselves as whites.

OTOH, many white-black mix marriages are white female with black male, in many instances these women marry black men because they are liberal nuts who want to raise black children. Jewish women for instance marry black men at a high rate. Many of these women then raise their children as black or biracial children and encourage their children to identify themselves as black.

Education used to be the biggest tool for assimilation, but these days thanks to libtards running amok, our schools are where racial identity is amplified rather than de-emphasized. Now all minority groups are encouraged to take pride in their own cultural identity and eschew mainstream (white) culture. Lured by affirmative action, more and more mixed race hispanic kids are beginning to identify themselves as latino. Thankfully mixed race Asian kids are running in the opposite direction and now mostly identify themselves as white so they are not disadvantaged by AA.

I think assimilation can occur when you have low immigration rate coupled with high intermarriage rate and a smart education system that discourages racial and individual identity and focuses on a single national identity. The biggest reason assimilation is failing now is a combination of high immigration rate, and a failed education system that promotes identity politics and victimhood narrative. The internet and easy air travels back to the homeland also make it much harder to assimilate newcomers. For these reasons I'm in favor of a moratorium on immigration for the next 20 years. All those not yet citizens should be encouraged to return to their home countries. No more green cards, work visas or even student visas should be issued.

Incontrovertible > , August 23, 2017 at 4:36 am GMT

@S. B. Woo That's the argument of mindless Asian SJWs who've been fed the libtard kool-aid. Just look at the numbers you yourself provided. Whites who were turned down still vastly outperformed blacks and hispanics who were given admission, to the tune of 340 points and 130 points respectively. Libtards who came up with AA want everyone to turn against whites, and mindless Asian SJWs like you are parroting them without thinking things through.

So much for "smart Asians".

Truth > , August 24, 2017 at 12:02 am GMT

@Incontrovertible

OTOH, many white-black mix marriages are white female with black male, in many instances these women marry black men because they are liberal nuts who want to raise black children. Jewish women for instance marry black men at a high rate. Many of these women then raise their children as black or biracial children and encourage their children to identify themselves as black.

Yeah, and the rest of them wanted the SCHLONG!

Truth > , August 24, 2017 at 12:03 am GMT

@Incontrovertible That's the argument of mindless Asian SJWs who've been fed the libtard kool-aid. Just look at the numbers you yourself provided. Whites who were turned down still vastly outperformed blacks and hispanics who were given admission, to the tune of 340 points and 130 points respectively. Libtards who came up with AA want everyone to turn against whites, and mindless Asian SJWs like you are parroting them without thinking things through.

So much for "smart Asians". But they still needed a lower score for admittance than Asians

!--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Elite_theory/index.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Propaganda/index.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Financial_skeptic/casino_capitalism.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Financial_skeptic/index.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Elite_theory/Deep_state/Bulletin/deep_state_bulletin2016.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Corporatism/neofascism.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Financial_skeptic/inequality.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/Identity_as_wedge_issue/index.shtml--> !--file:///f:/Public_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Two_party_system_as_poliarchy/index.shtml--> !--file:///F:/Public_html/Education/index.shtml-->

[Aug 10, 2017] Critical thinking either not taught or discouraged.

Notable quotes:
"... John Gatto has traced the roots of western education back to the Hindu schools in India; teaching docility and obedience. His book, The Underground History of American Education, is superb. ..."
Aug 10, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bolt | Aug 5, 2017 1:40:54 AM | 50

Only two continents for this one; and yes, critical thinking either not taught or discouraged.

I have found Usaian's particularly lacking in this skill; especially the last 50+ years.

John Gatto has traced the roots of western education back to the Hindu schools in India; teaching docility and obedience. His book, The Underground History of American Education, is superb.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 5, 2017 4:28:14 AM | 53

[Jul 17, 2017] The dumbing down of America is going full steam

What is bunch of moron those modern educators are
Notable quotes:
"... Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics. ..."
"... Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students. ..."
"... One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software. ..."
"... Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

kirill , July 16, 2017 at 6:05 am

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-15/3-examples-show-how-common-core-destroying-math-education-america

The dumbing down of America is going full steam. This "Rube Goldberg math" is something else.

Patient Observer , July 16, 2017 at 7:08 am
Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics.

Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students.

One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software.

Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall.

Here is a tin-foil hat theory based on the linked article. If Bill Gates is promoting a method of education that stunts learning among the masses while sending his own kids to private school that does not use the same method, could this be a way help to create a society of dysfunctional masses ruled by a well-trained elites?

yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 8:11 am
When it comes to Math, I think the traditional textbook approach is the best. For History and the social sciences, though, I would recommend replacing big textbooks with individual monographs and other study materials focusing on specialized themes.

Reason being: For Math, there is a standard (finite) set of facts and techniques that need to be mastered at the school level; whereas there is no such thing as a "standard" or finite sets of historical facts.

marknesop , July 16, 2017 at 9:57 am
A commenter to the article suggested Microsoft was setting itself up to step seamlessly into public education when the IT bubble bursts.
yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 10:53 am
Somebody else suggested they are trying to prepare kids to become programmers of digital computers (like Bill Gates started out). But that doesn't make any sense either, because digital computers do not use this method to subtract. Instead, they use a method called "2's complement addition".

This YouTube video explains quite clearly how it is done in binary computer registers: https://youtu.be/vfY7bN_3VKw

Matt , July 16, 2017 at 11:16 am
Computers do use binary arithmetic, but for a human to do so, it involves converting from base 10 to base 2 and then subtracting. In order to convert from base 10 to base 2, you have to follow a step-by-step procedure which involves the remainder.

Compare converting from base 10 to 2:

https://mathbits.com/MathBits/CompSci/Introduction/frombase10.htm

to the image given in the ZH article of the new subtraction method being taught:

You can see there is some similarity in the thought process, "carrying" the remainder forward is the main lesson being taught.

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

marknesop says: July 16, 2017 at 9:55 am
That is just bizarre. One commenter suggested the methods might be geared toward more complex problems where numbers do not represent real things, but concepts; but I just can't see that, either. But then, I've never been good at math and was always afraid of it. Whatever the case, I would have dropped out of school in Grade Three if I'd had to learn this way. It makes math problems ten times more complicated than they need to be, and every time you introduce another step you introduce another possibility of making a mistake.
likbez says:
July 16, 2017 at 9:06 pm Very true ! I am pretty good in math but this is still too much artificially introduced complexity for me too. Still it would be a perfect way to work with roman numbers. And that's BTW why Arabic notation is so much superior.

What a bunch of morons !!!

[Jul 17, 2017] Hallucinating Banks Believe They Are Technology Start-Ups

Notable quotes:
"... And this begs an obvious question: if customers complain about how banks let them down, why are the banks not concentrating on what customers are telling them is wrong with the products and services the banks provide already – rather than spending time and money on creating new supposedly innovative ones? The answer is, of course, that it generates profits for the banks to do things which customers find annoying (high fees, obscure product features and even bank errors which cause the customer to lose and the bank to win). Or else it costs money, such as to train staff and then retain that knowledge in their workforces or to have sufficient numbers of staff available in the first place, to fix the problem. ..."
"... In a digital world filled with choice ..."
"... choice, empathy and ease of use designed into every interaction they have with the bank ..."
"... For one thing, which may not be obvious to those outside the industry, working in finance is usually incredibly boring, frustrating, tedious and slow. While the outsized pay can and does attract intelligent and talented people, some of whom are quite creative, it is just about the worst place for those sorts of people to work. Systems and operations are convoluted and difficult to change because of their complexity. Banks are large bureaucracies with fiefdoms, turf wars, massive egos and driven by the need – in the cause of maximising shareholder value, the alter upon which many business have to sacrifice themselves – to implement the lowest cost solutions. ..."
"... It is not uncommon for the graduates and those recruited from the top performers in science and technology to join banks. They are lured by high pay and the promise of joining the Masters of the Universe. Sadly, they often find that the reality is form-filling, battles with nickel-and-diming accountants and internecine warfare. Boredom, for want of a better word, drives many of them to seek out vanity projects or resume-burnishing novelties such as fintech. ..."
"... There is no greater trojan horse to change an organization than design thinking,¯ said Stephen Gates, head of Citi Design. " Especially with something where there are lawyers, regulators Part of what we had to do was change thinking, not behavior. If it's new behavior on old thinking, we didn't really change anything.¯" ..."
"... lawyers, regulators "¯ ..."
"... Perhaps banking has killed off its most appealing aspects and left its minions filthy rich but with nothing stimulating to do. ..."
"... Automated decisioning has removed a lot of the skill and judgement for banks' credit officers. It has also removed a lot of credit officers! There's virtually no discretion available in retail credit policy and no-one empowered to override standard-model largely FICO derived lending decisions. As you say, a lot of local market knowledge helped banks and their lending teams make credit decisioning much more flexible in the past. ..."
"... It fascinates me how fascinated banks are with big data now. When banks were the first and ultimate big data company – just the data processors were people, not machines. Then they used the machines to streamline processes, seemingly w/o realisation that streamlining processes gets you commoditised (as its eminently copiable). So now banks are struggling to avoid a commoditization while working very very hard at it. ..."
"... I agree with Doctor Duck: the idea that because it's programmed, it's a better bureaucracy has really turned out to be a false promise. Just look at the financial crisis and reverse redlining (ie, predatory loans) was used as a financial weapon against minorities. ..."
"... Aside from racial injustices, it's pretty obvious that "the programming" is there to reify existing class divisions. There's no bureaucratic computer program that seeks to free people from the crushing bonds of class. Max Weber would have a field day. Bureaucratic technology ensures that there's no charisma appearing in the system. ..."
"... "On average", a college degree is an order acceptance and an endurance performance index within that order,thus, it is a cost efficient recruiting tool to exclude online non degree applicants from the very outset ..."
"... If you really want to get disgusted, look up "Learning Analytics". Venture capital is streaming into these startups that are aggressively data mining students. None of it ever passes through an ethics board and much of it violates FERPA, but the Department of Education seems to shrug their collective shoulders about it. Probably because many Dept of Ed personnel end up at those companies as advisors. ..."
"... And don't get me started on those tablets. Google hands out Chromebooks and swears up and down that they don't collect usage data. ..."
"... Well, see, arithmetic and maths and English and composition and Physics and Chemistry change so often that using paper textbooks would leave paper textbook students hopelessly behind students using tablets. OK, tablets cost on the order of 3 times what paper textbooks cost for the same usable time-span. But, hey! It's new! It's now! It's happening! (And also, too, rents.) /s ..."
"... One aspect you didn't cover, that I think may be more important than fighting off regulations (although that plays a role, I'm sure) is that I think execs are looking to get a piece of the silicon valley, techland infinite money-pile. They see Tesla worth more than Ford and they dream of where their stock price (and their stock options!) might go if they were thought of as tech companies instead of boring old banks. ..."
"... And part of it is fear. They are afraid of being the next Sears or local taxi company or whoever getting disrupted by the infinite silicon valley money-pile, either by the startups that can burn billions of dollars buying market share or by the big players who can leverage their entrenched monopoly positions in their core markets to spend billions trying to take over any market they feel like. ..."
"... The issue is that the banks have no incentive to address the 5 issues that you raised. They are a rent seeking cartel that does not care about the well being of the general populace at all. They certainly are not tech start-ups. I get the impression that most people think that tech startups are God, but in reality there are many bad start-ups too. ..."
"... Basically, their money is made screwing the general public over at this point. That's sad to say, but it is not far from the truth. What we need is a public bank and/or larger credit unions that can offer all the financial services of a big bank. ..."
Jul 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The first paragraph states what may be obvious to those outside the finance industry bubble. Namely that users of financial services mostly do not want or need so-called innovative financial products or any new ways of using finance in their lives. Rather, they want banks to provide simple, easy-to-understand basic financial products that work. According to the copious data available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which I've analysed, retail bank customers' top five sources of complaint are:

  1. Fees.
  2. Poor customer service.
  3. Unpaid checks or other bounced payments.
  4. "Gotcha's" hidden in product Terms and Conditions small print.
  5. Bank errors (which were either not corrected, took a lot of effort to get corrected or the corrections caused other knock-on issues).

I've worked in finance for nearly 30 years. The very first list I ever saw for complaints looked exactly the same as this.

And this begs an obvious question: if customers complain about how banks let them down, why are the banks not concentrating on what customers are telling them is wrong with the products and services the banks provide already – rather than spending time and money on creating new supposedly innovative ones? The answer is, of course, that it generates profits for the banks to do things which customers find annoying (high fees, obscure product features and even bank errors which cause the customer to lose and the bank to win). Or else it costs money, such as to train staff and then retain that knowledge in their workforces or to have sufficient numbers of staff available in the first place, to fix the problem.

Customers, even if we are supposed to be " In a digital world filled with choice " don't need " choice, empathy and ease of use designed into every interaction they have with the bank "¯. We want to not be ripped off and for the banks to act competently in our dealings with them.

It is too much of a stretch to expect that the banks, unprompted or without being cajoled by regulators, will address structural issues around their business culture, executive conduct and outlandish profitability ratio expectations. However, we should expect continued wailing and gnashing of teeth from the banks about "innovation"¯ and the need to be "competitive"¯ in "the marketplace"¯. The latter is a complete and immediately disprovable canard though, because the top 5 banks control nearly half of the market .

So why, then, do the banks keep going, broken-record like, with their claims about the need to innovate?

For one thing, which may not be obvious to those outside the industry, working in finance is usually incredibly boring, frustrating, tedious and slow. While the outsized pay can and does attract intelligent and talented people, some of whom are quite creative, it is just about the worst place for those sorts of people to work. Systems and operations are convoluted and difficult to change because of their complexity. Banks are large bureaucracies with fiefdoms, turf wars, massive egos and driven by the need – in the cause of maximising shareholder value, the alter upon which many business have to sacrifice themselves – to implement the lowest cost solutions.

It is not uncommon for the graduates and those recruited from the top performers in science and technology to join banks. They are lured by high pay and the promise of joining the Masters of the Universe. Sadly, they often find that the reality is form-filling, battles with nickel-and-diming accountants and internecine warfare. Boredom, for want of a better word, drives many of them to seek out vanity projects or resume-burnishing novelties such as fintech.

Lining up alongside a desire to do anything to relieve the monotony push, bank C-level leaderships then adds a pull all of their own. A preoccupation with trying to escape regulatory and legal constraints. For evidence, let's return to the Tearsheet post:

There is no greater trojan horse to change an organization than design thinking,¯ said Stephen Gates, head of Citi Design. " Especially with something where there are lawyers, regulators Part of what we had to do was change thinking, not behavior. If it's new behavior on old thinking, we didn't really change anything.¯" ( emphasis mine)

Superficially, this doesn't sound especially problematic. It could even be construed as plodding old legacy businesses like banks trying to adapt themselves to the modern knowledge economy era. Such superficial analysis would be wrong. Firstly, repeating a cliché of innovation and relying on invisible hands that ceaselessly drive any and all businesses to discard everything they've done historically and start afresh is just that, clichéd.

The notion that everything a business has learned and any intellectual property it possesses has suddenly, somehow, been rendered obsolete by some vague notion of an immense technological development is repeated so often that it's become part of our prevailing culture. But aside from a very small number of breakout products, such as the personal computer, the internet and the smartphone, most products you buy or services you use are only ever incremental improvements on what has preceded them.

The same applies to banking. Without getting too bogged down in the technicalities, a bank's only functions are to intermediate maturities and interest rates on deposits taken and loans made, plus to offer some money transmission services. Within financial services, the only two true innovations in the past 50 years or more which stand up to a scrutinizing of that term are the ATM and the credit card. Changes to how customers are serviced such as the migration from the branch channel to the telephone or the internet have shifted the "where"¯ and the "how"¯ banks interact with their customers, but not the "what"¯ of those interactions.

The line I highlighted in the Tearsheet article gave the game away. The participants who's thinking purportedly needs to change are not the accountants picking through expense reports stripping out costs (which usually means reducing headcount). Nor is it the thinking of executives to reduce their outsized compensation packages. Nor is it in boards who will only look at changes through the lens of a 5-year business case which must pay back within the shortest of short-term timeframes and satisfy outlandish Return on Investment (ROI) targets. These ways of thinking have been with us for at least 20 years or more, but apparently aren't in any danger of approaching a sell-by date.

No, the thinking that needs to change is that of " lawyers, regulators "¯ who are being exhorted to change to embrace the latest design trends and technological innovations. But regulators and lawyers are not and cannot be creative types who spend their time considering new colors for logos and typefaces for websites. Their jobs are to enforce or provide advice and guidance on the laws governing a corporation's products and services or to interpret regulatory frameworks which have been enacted by regulators and lawmakers. Creativity, design thinking and behavior doesn't come into it. Just because a bank wants to label a change as being innovative doesn't -- or shouldn't -- lessen the obligations on a bank's legal team or the regulators to comply with laws or existing regulations.

Gutting regulatory compliance and trying to side-step legal obligations aren't "design thinking". They're the same connivances which would have killed the entire banking industry 10 years ago, had we not all been coerced into bailing it out.

You can't blame the banks for trying it on. They are what they are and will continue to be so until they are forced to change. You can, however, fairly and squarely blame regulators and lawmakers for not pouring a lot of cold water on this craving for technological fervour. Making the banks tackle their long-standing issues as evident in the CFPB's complaint data before they can try anything fancy like fintech would be a start.

Banking industry , Guest Post , Ridiculously obvious scams , Technology and innovation on July 12, 2017 by Clive . About Clive

Survivor of nearly 30 years in a TBTF bank. Also had the privilege of working in Japan, which was great, selling real estate, which was an experience bordering on the psychedelic.

timotheus , July 12, 2017 at 7:09 am

A question from a total outsider: if modern banking is tedious and frustrating, could this be related to the (often-mentioned here) move away from servicing credit needs to algorithm-driven mechanics? If I think of the banker who sat in a front window of his bank on the main square of my home town, he was surely engaged in figuring out who was mortgage-worthy, what businesses might be good bets for loans, etc. It might have had its routine aspects, but it was engaged, integrated into the town's life, and required complex skills including how to say no to the guy who would sit next to your family at church. Perhaps banking has killed off its most appealing aspects and left its minions filthy rich but with nothing stimulating to do.

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 7:42 am

Automated decisioning has removed a lot of the skill and judgement for banks' credit officers. It has also removed a lot of credit officers! There's virtually no discretion available in retail credit policy and no-one empowered to override standard-model largely FICO derived lending decisions. As you say, a lot of local market knowledge helped banks and their lending teams make credit decisioning much more flexible in the past.

I was though more referring here to the technology side of banks -- they are the antithesis of what many attracted to enter the sector think it will be like. There's so many internal bureaucracy hurdles, complexity constraints and cost-focussed management to work with, the people who unwisely buy into the hype the recruitment consultants proffer end up frustrated and disappointed. It is almost inevitable they go looking for glamour projects -- however unworkable they may be like a lot of fintech -- to try to latch onto.

Jim A , July 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

Of course the bad mortgages that were a big part of the RE bubble were approved by poorly thought out algorithms. As were the ratings on the bonds created from them. Algorithms are really only as good as the data that they are based on and the knowledge of the people who write them. And when it is profitable in the short term to ignore the long term, rest assured that somebody will figure out a way to make the algorithms do that.

EricT , July 12, 2017 at 9:19 am

Not algorithms, fraud. Mears, Countrywide and Goldman come to my mind.

Vatch , July 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

Who or what is Mears?

Tinky , July 12, 2017 at 10:20 am

Probably meant "MERS", aka "Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc."

Though "Mears" is an anagram of "reams", so

Vatch , July 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Oh, okay, that makes sense. Thank you.

MERS is the source of much trouble.

vlade , July 12, 2017 at 8:29 am

Amen.

That said, it's an interesting world out there, as banks do vary from country to country (having had experience in a number of them, on both sides of the fence).

Say in NZ, I had a bank manager, and he had some (reasonably) ability to vary the interest rate on my mortgage when I came asking. He could also offer special rates on deposits (over a certain amount).

In the UK, I also had a bank manager. Who wasn't even told by the bank's credit card department my CC application was rejected as I wasn't in the country for long enough, so he kep submitting it in the belief it got lost.. To modify an interest rate on anything was impossible. And, most recently it's even impossible to override the automated lending decision. Hurrah for automation!

It fascinates me how fascinated banks are with big data now. When banks were the first and ultimate big data company – just the data processors were people, not machines. Then they used the machines to streamline processes, seemingly w/o realisation that streamlining processes gets you commoditised (as its eminently copiable). So now banks are struggling to avoid a commoditization while working very very hard at it.

notabanker , July 12, 2017 at 8:50 am

Screams Utility, doesn't it?

programmer3 , July 12, 2017 at 8:43 am

On the flipside, removing personal discretion from credit judgement calls also makes the process more fair – less "redlining," and no denying credit based on personal prejudices (or approving loans for friends and family)

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 8:54 am

That's a valid point -- it was too easy for a friends-and-family bias and even bribery to creep in to human decisions before model-based credit decisions became the norm. The happy-medium was when predefined scoring criteria were used as the foundation for a loan but you could appeal to head/regional offices for an over-ride if you had good extenuating circumstances or other reliable evidence to back you up.

The latter option is now no longer available, for the most part.

Doctor Duck , July 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

Your nick is 'programmer' and you think an algorithm couldn't be written to include a few "red lines"? Hmmm

Harry , July 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Exactly what I was thinking

Thuto , July 12, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Exactly, see my comment below

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

I agree with Doctor Duck: the idea that because it's programmed, it's a better bureaucracy has really turned out to be a false promise. Just look at the financial crisis and reverse redlining (ie, predatory loans) was used as a financial weapon against minorities.

Aside from racial injustices, it's pretty obvious that "the programming" is there to reify existing class divisions. There's no bureaucratic computer program that seeks to free people from the crushing bonds of class. Max Weber would have a field day. Bureaucratic technology ensures that there's no charisma appearing in the system.

We've created machines in our image, with all our prejudices and all of our assumptions in place, preserved in silicon forever.

Sue , July 12, 2017 at 3:54 pm

cocomaan,
very good points!

Mel , July 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Process more objective. The red lines are the ones written into the algorithms. I recall a Ted Rall post about Dayton OH that described them demolishing empty historic buildings to get their occupancy rate up. Banks algos wouldn't grand mortgage funds in areas with high un-occupancy rates. This is death to Jane Jacobs' recommended city environment, where a range of available rents, low-to-high, nourished every kind of development. A new-scale developer, blogging as Granola Shotgun has a lot to say about this -- the linked posts and a lot before.

Scott F , July 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Actually, a recent study took a classic psychology evaluation used on humans to detect bias and modified them to apply to so-called Artificial Intelligence and found that the same biases pop-up. The authors conjectured that the training data – compiled by humans – introduced the humans' biases into the system.

https://www.princeton.edu/news/2017/04/18/biased-bots-artificial-intelligence-systems-echo-human-prejudices

David Barrera , July 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm

This reminds me of the statistical gender discrimination algorithms used in the past. Some subindustries considered cost efficient to screen out women for employment because of the probability of maternity leave-apparently there were other "average gender biased considerations too"-. This excluded first, women who did not want to have any kids, and secondly-and independently from that- diverse, able, capable and willing labor participants. Have you ever asked yourself why some jobs which would not require a college degree by any stretch of the imagination screen out electronically the non-college degree applicants? "On average", a college degree is an order acceptance and an endurance performance index within that order,thus, it is a cost efficient recruiting tool to exclude online non degree applicants from the very outset. This way the enterprise leaves out that which the average does not include and which in certain cases could bring terribly needed different approaches to a job .Yet, no one ever said enterprises were democratic, truly inclusive and open to certain changes.

In regards to the financial theme, programmer 3 commented "removing personal discretion approving loans from friends and family". Anyone who worked for a lending company in the past knows it was a matter of policy that no employee could make loans to relatives or friends.

Remember that personal discretion-as opposed to personal arbitrariness-acts within written and unwritten guidelines and rules too. Also, what your stand alone algorithmic dictatorship does to how delinquencies are currently managed by the mortgage industry it just simply has no name.

HotFlash , July 13, 2017 at 2:09 am

"On average", a college degree is an order acceptance and an endurance performance index within that order,thus, it is a cost efficient recruiting tool to exclude online non degree applicants from the very outset

.

These days, a college degree is also a prime indicator of life-controlling debt.

Thuto , July 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Not in South Africa, where race is big factor in determining the risk profile of the client. As you can probably guess, the machines have been programmed to grant punitive interest rates to black people

Mrs Smith , July 12, 2017 at 7:49 am

Someone just sent me this link, and it's a perfect example of the above.

Don't miss the "native negroni" complete with "chilled vibes" and "bonus badassness."

[A "nope" gif isn't nearly strong enough to constrain my gag reflex for this stuff.]

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/time-something-new-james-haycock?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BT57ItR8S3HRsqyVGECS1vw%3D%3D

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

That is the worst example of this kind of thing I've ever seen! And we've seen plenty here it deserves some kind of award, in the same vein as the anti-Academy Award "Golden Raspberries" does for motion pictures. It might, Clive says hoping, be some sort of parody. Unfortunately, I think it is for real.

Arizona Slim , July 12, 2017 at 8:35 am

And it's all too typical of the bovine manure that gets posted on LinkedIn Pulse. Consider the source.

Stephen Gardner , July 12, 2017 at 9:30 am

But was the gin in the negroni curated by a hipster in tight pants and an ironic mustache? If not I just am not interested. LOL.

John Wright , July 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

To show my disconnect from the modern world, the linkedin article closes with "PI-shaped people"

I had to search for that, first suspecting it meant a person who levers their abilities by 3.14159xxxx

From what I found, there are T-shaped, PI-shaped and Comb-shaped people and the symbol's shape is a sort of expertise indicator.

A T-shaped person has one area of expertise under their generalist/broad knowledge top hat, a PI shaped person has TWO areas of expertise under their generalist/ broad knowledge top, while a comb-shaped person has MULTIPLE expertise areas under their generalist/broad knowledge top.

Do people make a living coming up with this stuff?

NotTimothyGeithner , July 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm

"Do people make a living coming up with this stuff?"

Delta shaped people do.

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Is this satire? I know if I have to ask that I'm the negative negroni, but this can't be real.

Bill Smith , July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

From the list, the first one, fees, aren't going away given that the interest margins are so narrow.

I've seen a number of banks partner with one of the non bank fintech's (even pre IPO fintech's) to make the bank fintech savvy. To get their computer driven credit system? It will take a while to see how that works out.

notabanker , July 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

The agile design led stuff reminds me a lot of the TQM programs I went through in the 80's / 90's. Independent thinking within the group, commitment to the group to do the work, rolled out in large scale. We're even moving away from the cube farm to the factory floor, with foosball, xbox's and (sometimes free) coffee for all.

Likewise, the whole spinoff/startup thing was in vogue back in the early 90's when banks were faced with e-commerce, this is just the 2017 version.

Legacy is, and in some ways should be, their issue. Systems of record for fin transactions should have a long shelf life. With that comes people, process, costs and profits, all major drags on change. They won't be able to have it both ways.

fajensen , July 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

Me thinks that this kind of hype reaching banks and even politicians (the Danish government has created a "Disruption-council") is a sign that things are not going so well inside the engine room on the mother ship of the technopocalypse. Governments and Banks are kinda the very last people on earth to discover anything. At All. When they are suddenly "getting the vibe" whatever "the vibe" was about, is absolutely over :).

I think that Silicon Valley is leaking flim-flam merchants and "evangelists" because the money is getting thinner, the sell is becoming harder, easy consulting opportunities are diminishing and fewer are being procured by the real operators (Apple, Google, Facebook, CISCO .) to provide their stunning insights and bold visions for the future. The accountants are ascending, ROI is being scrutinised, exponential growth is levelling off so now there is time to do that.

The visionaries and evangelists still like to be paid (and the travel), so instead of canvassing Silicon Valley harder with work better suited to the actual future, they spread out and seek new markets for the same old stuff, kinda like what happened when Monsanto poured PCB into everything plasticky when the market for oil-filled capacitors was tapped out.

I'd say, in only one-two years, there will be good "SPLAT!" in the .unicorn market.

HotFlash , July 13, 2017 at 2:17 am

Thanks, fajensen, I think you are quite right. Totally looking forward to the Big Splat!

SoCal Rhino , July 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

Keeping score from recent battles among local demi deities, currently turf beats innovation, and in a stunning reversal that may not last, cost cutting prevailed over turf. These battlefields rather than the PowerPoint campaigns being where I observe corporate culture.

vlade , July 12, 2017 at 9:14 am

I'd add one innovation to the list though – smart sweep systems. That is, something that optimises the costs of an account/accounts for a client. That could be just sweeps between saving/checking accounts (not talking US here), to queuing transactions as to minimize costs etc.

But the banks that implemented this found very quickly that it led to a significant drop in client profitability (namely overdraft fees collapsed, interest paid went up), so quietly canned it.

But the story doesnt' end there – the smart ones figured out that optimization doesn't care whether you do max or min, so used the technology to optimise the profit from the client – hence things like applying debits before credits (to take you into overdraft) etc. Forunately, this "innovation" went out too, but it took regulators to get it done.

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

Yes indeedey. My TBTF stopped allowing new sweeps / pooling arrangements which was a great service for customers who wanted to keep money on deposit or even in a market-linked account but didn't want to have to worry about constantly keeping an eye on what was in their current (checking) account to make sure they weren't going to go overdrawn.

Simple to understand, easy to set up for both customers and the bank, worked flawlessly because it was just a nightly batch job with easy-peasy logic -- what was there not to like? Erm unfortunately for the customers, the hit on bank profitability.

flora , July 12, 2017 at 9:19 am

Gaaa. Let me fix a bit of the Tearsheet intro:
"In a digital world filled with choice, banks' customers need choice, empathy and ease of use need sound information, good customer service and accurate accounting designed into every interaction they have with the bank."

I use my bank as a utility, not as an exciting "experience."

Great post.

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

Hey Clive, loved this piece. This really caught my attention:

For one thing, which may not be obvious to those outside the industry, working in finance is usually incredibly boring, frustrating, tedious and slow. While the outsized pay can and does attract intelligent and talented people, some of whom are quite creative, it is just about the worst place for those sorts of people to work. Systems and operations are convoluted and difficult to change because of their complexity.

I've worked in higher education and you see the same thing going on right now. Education, to me, is a social process of imparting knowledge. Simple solutions to perennial problems in education are: (1)Smaller class sizes (2) Better pay/benefits for teachers (3) Support systems for parents to help them help their children do well.

But what happens in education? Well the same thing you mention above: technology is thrown at these kids a mile a minute. Suddenly, the solution to problems in the classroom is monitoring grades through centralized systems with their databanks on the cloud, where student's every move is considered and they are flagged technologically for not living up to expectations. There's a huge complex of technological charlatan/consultants infesting higher and primary education at the moment.

Before long, the "boring" solutions are impossible. Why? As you say above, the technology becomes ensnared in itself, taking on its own inertia. Before you know it, you can't afford to change anything for the better because you have several legacy systems running simultaneously and weighing down budgets.

Clive , July 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm

It takes a lot to shock me, nowadays, but I was genuinely taken aback when an educator friend of mine (in our equivalent of K-12) told me she'd been given a tablet with -- from what I could tell, I didn't see it in action -- proprietary software used by the chain academy (charter school as it would be called in the US) where she works which prompted her during lessons to capture certain metrics (numbers of students voluntarily putting their hands up when asked certain previously defined questions in class, time spent on a particular PowerPoint slide -- a PowerPoint slide I thought for cryin' out loud -- which had been similarly predefined and "tagged for follow up" versus the estimated "best practice" time slot for this classroom content, a teacher-subjective "score" for student "engagement" and similar).

As a bit of a data nerd, I was appalled not just by the intrusion into territory where, surely, experienced educators knew best what to do, how to pace lessons, how to make best use of classroom time and so on but -- more importantly -- by the risible quality of the data being gathered. It was what I call pseudo facts, things which sound like they might be telling you something worth knowing but don't actually prove anything.

It all reminded me of those animal behaviour studies, the ones which come to conclusions like "when a cat comes towards you and it has its tail upright, it is engaged with you and wants you to interact with it". Sufficed to say when I tried out the theories on my mother-in-law's cat, I got a scratched top of my hand for my trouble.

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Love the cat analogy. Glad, or rather not glad, to know that it's reached across the pond.

If you really want to get disgusted, look up "Learning Analytics". Venture capital is streaming into these startups that are aggressively data mining students. None of it ever passes through an ethics board and much of it violates FERPA, but the Department of Education seems to shrug their collective shoulders about it. Probably because many Dept of Ed personnel end up at those companies as advisors.

And don't get me started on those tablets. Google hands out Chromebooks and swears up and down that they don't collect usage data.

flora , July 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm

an aside, and off topic (apologies):

Well, see, arithmetic and maths and English and composition and Physics and Chemistry change so often that using paper textbooks would leave paper textbook students hopelessly behind students using tablets. OK, tablets cost on the order of 3 times what paper textbooks cost for the same usable time-span. But, hey! It's new! It's now! It's happening! (And also, too, rents.) /s

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Yeah, it's not like those old fashioned printed text books wouldn't go out of date (unless there was a lot of needless curriculum churn) and not have a useable economic life, even allowing for students' not-too-careful handling, of 5 to 10 years or so. Oh wait a minute

PKMKII , July 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Example of what I like to the call the "If you want faster-than-light-speed travel tomorrow, you have to let us commit fraud today" argument. Question is, whose eyes are they trying to pull the wool over? Investors to be wooed by web 2.0 jibberish? The top brass, to justify their continued employment and/or promotions? The public, as a horse and pony show to distract us from the bezzle? Regulators, hoping that the innovation and tech talk will intimidate them from paying attention to the man behind the curtain?

Some Guy , July 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Good post Clive, as someone who's been in banking for a few decades now, the current moment is very reminiscent of the late 90's, even down to some of the details.

Was on a call with some senior folks a while back rhapsodizing about how cutting edge neural network models would revolutionize our business, and I turned to a colleague who also been around the block and said, 'yeah we tried all that in the 90's, it didn't really make a difference' (vs. the standard approach of using multiple regression for credit scoring), and he said to me, 'yeah we tried that at my bank too, same result'

One aspect you didn't cover, that I think may be more important than fighting off regulations (although that plays a role, I'm sure) is that I think execs are looking to get a piece of the silicon valley, techland infinite money-pile. They see Tesla worth more than Ford and they dream of where their stock price (and their stock options!) might go if they were thought of as tech companies instead of boring old banks.

And part of it is fear. They are afraid of being the next Sears or local taxi company or whoever getting disrupted by the infinite silicon valley money-pile, either by the startups that can burn billions of dollars buying market share or by the big players who can leverage their entrenched monopoly positions in their core markets to spend billions trying to take over any market they feel like.

DH , July 12, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Wells Fargo tried that where they made account creation essentially click-bait for their workers. It worked for a while until it didn't. It turned out that their account creation approach was just a retread of the 1999 dot.com model, so they really were a tech start-up after all.

Altandmain , July 12, 2017 at 6:29 pm

The issue is that the banks have no incentive to address the 5 issues that you raised. They are a rent seeking cartel that does not care about the well being of the general populace at all. They certainly are not tech start-ups. I get the impression that most people think that tech startups are God, but in reality there are many bad start-ups too.

Basically, their money is made screwing the general public over at this point. That's sad to say, but it is not far from the truth. What we need is a public bank and/or larger credit unions that can offer all the financial services of a big bank.

ScottS , July 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm

From http://m.builtinla.com/2017/06/30/4-la-startups-named-prestigious-fintech-list :

Manhattan Beach-based PeerStreet closed out 2016 with a bang, raising a $15 million Series A anchored by strong growth over the course of the year. The company developed a crowdfunding platform that gives real estate investors access to high-yielding loans, with individual investments starting from as low as $1,000.

What could go wrong?

Colonel Smithers , July 13, 2017 at 6:49 am

Thank you for this post and reader contributions.

Many of the examples cited apply (equally) to my former employer, Barclays. Having been shafted by shysters from Wall Street, the bank jumped into the frying pan of (pseudo-)techies (often from a particular part of the world). My current employer, the German twin of Barclays, is just the same as the blue eagle.

Clive , July 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

Mine too, they must be putting something in the water.

[Jul 16, 2017] There is an older abomination, known as outcomes based education, which was a scheme to destroy the syllabus, while keeping teachers too busy with paperwork (recording outcomes ) to preserve copies of the syllabus or properly teach.

Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

saskydisc , July 16, 2017 at 7:41 am

There is an older abomination, known as outcomes based education, which was a scheme to destroy the syllabus, while keeping teachers too busy with paperwork (recording "outcomes") to preserve copies of the syllabus or properly teach.

It started in USA, was rejected there, got foisted on South Africa and Australia, got rejected by 2008 in RSA, not sure when in Australia, then got foisted on Canada, although opposition is building.

Seeing that high school teachers can see through it and opposition precedes it, the OBE clowns changed tack!

Now Engineering colleges in North America must follow this tomfoolery if they want to retain accreditation.

[Jul 16, 2017] The dumbing down of America is going full steam

What is bunch of moron those modern educators are
Notable quotes:
"... Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics. ..."
"... Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students. ..."
"... One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software. ..."
"... Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

kirill , July 16, 2017 at 6:05 am

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-15/3-examples-show-how-common-core-destroying-math-education-america

The dumbing down of America is going full steam. This "Rube Goldberg math" is something else.

Patient Observer , July 16, 2017 at 7:08 am
Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics.

Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students.

One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software.

Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall.

Here is a tin-foil hat theory based on the linked article. If Bill Gates is promoting a method of education that stunts learning among the masses while sending his own kids to private school that does not use the same method, could this be a way help to create a society of dysfunctional masses ruled by a well-trained elites?

yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 8:11 am
When it comes to Math, I think the traditional textbook approach is the best. For History and the social sciences, though, I would recommend replacing big textbooks with individual monographs and other study materials focusing on specialized themes.

Reason being: For Math, there is a standard (finite) set of facts and techniques that need to be mastered at the school level; whereas there is no such thing as a "standard" or finite sets of historical facts.

marknesop , July 16, 2017 at 9:57 am
A commenter to the article suggested Microsoft was setting itself up to step seamlessly into public education when the IT bubble bursts.
yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 10:53 am
Somebody else suggested they are trying to prepare kids to become programmers of digital computers (like Bill Gates started out). But that doesn't make any sense either, because digital computers do not use this method to subtract. Instead, they use a method called "2's complement addition".

This YouTube video explains quite clearly how it is done in binary computer registers: https://youtu.be/vfY7bN_3VKw

Matt , July 16, 2017 at 11:16 am
Computers do use binary arithmetic, but for a human to do so, it involves converting from base 10 to base 2 and then subtracting. In order to convert from base 10 to base 2, you have to follow a step-by-step procedure which involves the remainder.

Compare converting from base 10 to 2:

https://mathbits.com/MathBits/CompSci/Introduction/frombase10.htm

to the image given in the ZH article of the new subtraction method being taught:

You can see there is some similarity in the thought process, "carrying" the remainder forward is the main lesson being taught.

    • marknesop says: July 16, 2017 at 9:55 am That is just bizarre. One commenter suggested the methods might be geared toward more complex problems where numbers do not represent real things, but concepts; but I just can't see that, either. But then, I've never been good at math and was always afraid of it. Whatever the case, I would have dropped out of school in Grade Three if I'd had to learn this way. It makes math problems ten times more complicated than they need to be, and every time you introduce another step you introduce another possibility of making a mistake. Reply
      • likbez says: July 16, 2017 at 9:06 pm Very true ! I am pretty good in math but this is still too much artificially introduced complexity for me too. Still it would be a perfect way to work with roman numbers. And that's BTW why Arabic notation is so much superior.

        What a bunch of morons !!!

[Jun 21, 2017] Neoliberalism and opioids abuse

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova, June 21, 2017 at 07:25 PM

Over 33K people in US died of opiates overdoses in 2015 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not only unemployed abuse opioids, but more and more college students and recent graduates are abusing the opioids as well, according to a survey of 1200 college aged adults commissioned the same year by Christie foundation.

Federal law does not require colleges to report drug death unless they are deemed criminal. But fatal overdoses have been rising at schools nationwide underscoring and horrifying reality of for administrators: in addition to binge drinking and marijuana, they have another crisis firmly entrenched on campus.

Now losing 30K people in one year is like small scale civil war (like the one they have in Ukraine) and in a way it is: war of wealthy and medical industrial complex against those in difficult circumstances, with dreams crashed and, especially, unemployed.

https://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2016-06-14/opioids-linked-with-deaths-other-than-overdoses-study-says

== quote ==

CHICAGO (AP) - Accidental overdoses aren't the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers - the drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, new research suggests.

Among more than 45,000 patients in the study, those using opioid painkillers had a 64 percent higher risk of dying within six months of starting treatment compared to patients taking other prescription pain medicine. Unintentional overdoses accounted for about 18 percent of the deaths among opioid users, versus 8 percent of the other patients.

"As bad as people think the problem of opioid use is, it's probably worse," said Wayne Ray, the lead author and a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University's medical school. "They should be a last resort and particular care should be exercised for patients who are at cardiovascular risk."

His caution echoes recent advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trying to stem the nation's opioid epidemic. The problem includes abuse of street drugs like heroin and overuse of prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, codeine and morphine.

The drugs can slow breathing and can worsen disrupted breathing that occurs with sleep apnea, potentially leading to irregular heartbeats, heart attacks or sudden death, the study authors said.

In 2014, there were more than 14,000 fatal overdoses linked with the painkillers in the U.S. The study suggests even more have died from causes linked with the drugs, and bolster evidence in previous research linking them with heart problems.

The study involved more than 45,000 adult Medicaid patients in Tennessee from 1999 to 2012. They were prescribed drugs for chronic pain not caused by cancer but from other ailments including persistent backaches and arthritis.

Half received long-acting opioids including controlled-release oxycodone, methadone and fentanyl skin patches. Fentanyl has been implicated in the April death of Prince, although whether the singer was using a fentanyl patch, pills or other form of the drug hasn't been publicly revealed.

Long-acting opioids remain in the body longer. The study authors noted that the body's prolonged exposure to the drugs may increase risks for toxic reactions.

The remaining study patients had prescriptions for non-opioid drugs sometimes used to treat nerve pain, including gabapentin; or certain antidepressants also used for pain.

There were 185 deaths among opioid users, versus 87 among other patients. The researchers calculated that for every 145 patients on an opioid drug, there was one excess death versus deaths among those on other painkillers.

The two groups were similar in age, medical conditions, risks for heart problems and other characteristics that could have contributed to the outcomes.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association .

The study involved only Medicaid patients, who include low-income and disabled adults and who are among groups disproportionately affected by opioid abuse.

Ray noted that the study excluded the sickest patients and those with any evidence of drug abuse. He said similar results would likely be found in other groups.

Dr. Chad Brummett, director of pain research at the University of Michigan Health System, said the study highlights risks from the drugs in a novel way and underscores why their use should be limited.

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 13, 2017] Education Failure is the New Success

Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Happily, an alternative exists to the billion dollar "don't blame kids" approach, one that has historically proven itself and will cost far less than $16,000 per pupil to impart adequate academic skills. It is simple: pressure laggards to shape up and punish those who disrupt the learning of classmates. Just return to an earlier era when students themselves were held responsible for learning their lessons.

Junk the Rousseauian fantasy that children naturally have a thirst for acquiring knowledge so "educators" need only let nature take its course. Yes, Homo sapiens relish learning, but youngsters are not innately disposed to sit quietly for long periods and dutifully suffer failure. Learning may be natural; schooling is not. The corollary is that school for the cognitively weak will be the most painful. Thus, for many African Americans cultivating self-esteem is anathema to academic achievement.

Fortunately, the repertoire to impose this necessary discipline is well-known and requires only modest skill to implement. High-priced rocket science it is not. This is almost forgotten educational world of shame, stigma, humiliation, dunce caps, browbeating even corporal punishment where teachers forcefully exert authority over the little savages who refuse to learn while impeding the progress of others. Further require teachers to impose clear, grammatically correct English to those with slurred speech and reflexively use profanity. If the teacher's efforts fail, the little miscreants can immediately be sent out for discipline to be monitored by a wicked witch. Conceivably, some retired discipline-skilled Nuns from Catholic schools or a retired Marine drill sergeant could offer three-day workshops on how to manage the classroom

Students can practice sitting still and being quiet for longer and longer times, marching in step when changing classes, mastering polite conversation when addressing authority figures ("Thank you Mr. Smith" not 'hey teach'") memorizing famous orations, and build the habits of punctuality, restraint and patience.

Anonymous June 13, 2017 at 9:06 am GMT

Cheapest offer of "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools "
by Robert Weissberg, used,
is $ 46.00 + $ 3.99 S&H, is

https://www.amazon.com/dp/141281345X/?tag=unco037-20

AngloBerserkerJew , June 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm GMT

I run a large AP program in a what is euphemistically called a "priority" neighbourhood in a major Canadian city. Although most of our students are East Asian and South Asian and come from outside our catchment area, the majority of the local community is black.

After twenty years of our program offering completely subsidized AP exams, after-class tutorials, and massive promotion efforts emphasizing the advantages of taking AP directed to our black students, still less that 5% of the population of our AP classes consists of blacks.

And we have never had a black AP National Scholar. Not one. The local school board would LOVE to see such an event, and I can't imagine it ever happening

Dr. X , June 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm GMT

Are you suggesting that our alien, Third-World, clan-based minority populations adopt the values of discipline, accountability, punctuality, and rule-following typical of the majority's beyond-kin, altruistic-based culture from northern Europe in the hope of achieving similar social, academic, technical, and economic outcomes?

There's an extent to which this does work. Parochial schools with strict discipline policies have always gotten more out of black students than public schools. African students, who do not typically have a race card to play and are products of Euro-colonial school systems, in my experience are nearly always better students than black Americans.

Imagine a Venn diagram, in which one circle represents cognitive ability (IQ) and the other circle represents discipline and culture. The overlapping area represents "educational achievement." The overall black cognitive ability circle, by itself, will always be smaller than a corresponding white circle, but it is possible to gain more achievement with more structure and discipline. There is a limit to how far you can go with this approach, but you can make some gains.

Of course, public schools and colleges practically kiss blacks on the ass for misbehavior rather than discipline them. Blacks are fully aware that the black teachers and administrators are incompetent frauds, that liberal whites are easily pushed around or manipulated, that they can always play the "racism" card, and that Afrocentric curricula is pure bullshit and that it was the white man who invented their iPhones, space flight, etc.

One aspect of the black personality is that blacks respond to, and generally respect, a show a force. You see this in sports, for instance, in prison, and the military. Some of the most competent and useful blacks you will encounter are in the military, where there is a set of expectations, a white chain of command, and punishment for failure.

Blacks wouldn't necessarily become geniuses if you applied a military structure to education, but you'd see some improvement.

Agent76 , June 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT

Jan 23, 2017 Why Good Teachers Want School Choice

Can every child receive a good education? With school choice and competition, yes. The problem? Powerful teachers unions oppose school choice. Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher who took her case against the teachers union all the way to the Supreme Court, explains why school choice is the right choice.

https://youtu.be/PnQu8iRiVYU

Diversity Heretic , June 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm GMT

@Njguy73 There's no need to racially segregate schools. The solution has already been implemented. It's called having a school district where the housing prices do the discrimination, so the schools don't have to. An awfully expensive solution that consigns white working class children to the tender mercies of the snarling black underclass.

anon , June 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm GMT

The plight of black students in black schools became especially dire when the education establishment and the media pulled a slight of hand and started labeling lazy ( a personal fault) students as unmotivated (and therefore the fault of society not motivating them.)

What hasn't been pointed out is while public schools in poor areas have been failing for decades, Catholic schools located in the same areas have continued to turn out hundred of thousands of literate, well behaved black students.

The real tragedy is that these very productive ghetto Catholics schools have been closing at an increasing rate despite their successes because of economic problems. Vouchers would help them to stay open,

THE ACLU however, would make sure that they wouldn't get them.

Simon in London , June 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

I'm always impressed by the quality of my black African postgrad students, who mostly come from lower middle/upper working class backgrounds in cities like Laos. They are clearly decently educated, by methods the exact opposite of what is advocated in the USA – strict discipline, uniforms, regulation, a decent amount of rote memorisation (but not the passivity of the Middle East/South Asia).

US educationists could learn a lot from Nigeria, or even Jamaica, but are clearly far too arrogant to do so.

Greg Schofield , June 14, 2017 at 12:13 am GMT

I am an old Australian teacher, run out of my profession by managers embracing the American system of de-education.

Your understanding of education is deplorable, and the results of it are horrific, here are a few points that should be carefully considered together.

[Hide MORE]

IQ tests are nonsense.

Testing and teaching are incompatible to one another, less tests and more teaching.

Primary school is NOT the most important time, a few essential skills, a wide and rambling exposure to general knowledge, and some actual fun will do.

Primary school should produce a student capable of writing coherent sentences, reading 80-120 words per minute (well written texts only with unusual words), general knowledge of science, the general framework of modern world history, and enough maths to do simple algebra - anything more is a bonus, but not essential to secondary school.

Secondary school is the secondary level of knowledge - it has nothing much in common with Primary education.

Secondary school is about the development of concepts in different subjects - and the study of literature (a self-contained concept), is foundational to all the other higher subjects.

Literature is about concepts, not morals, slogans, good behaviour or anything else. They are complete, honest works supremely well written world view of the author. The quality of literature is it most important feature - the best and only the best.

The conceptual integrity of literature, not a particular style of language is critical. Literature should not be chosen because it is reverent, but because it is good and great. Confession I hate reading Jane Austin, a girly book of all girly books, but when I finish her work I understand the world were being good is not just a virtue, but an aspiration. For many reasons she was one of the most read authors in the trenches of World War I.

The quality of text books (books of text not pictures) is ESSENTIAL there is no choice in this, no leeway. They must be coherent, the work of the best minds in the subject, comprehensive, and clearly written - only a true expert can make things simple without also making it stupid.

Text books of quality do not have to be up-to-date, but they have to be conceptually complete and clear - a good textbook is not necessarily a recent one.

Textbooks are the last resort, which is the reason they have to be good - it is where the student goes to understand what they do not understand - that is always hard and they need a reliable source material - only the best textbooks will do.

Textbooks are not teaching material, they are reference material.

Standard tests are rubbish, written examinations twice a year are best - this is why text books are important - hitting the books is not easy, I say it again, they therefore need to be the very best - not the normal US textbook - which is CRAP.

The best mark of a substantial work should be the grade, not the average mark - students who learn have to be brave and need to push things - a good student tries and fails long before they try and succeed (the order is sometimes in the reverse).

A student's progress is marked by their best mark, their highest achievement that counts, all the rest are run-offs. A student can be lazy, a student might rest on their laurels, that does not matter, what they achieved, not how they went about it is what examination should do.

It does not matter what a teacher is called by students, but that teacher actually knows their area, is enthusiastic about their knowledge, is supported by the school, encouraged to do more and occasionally make mistakes in trying.

Micro-management, in fact management in general, and good teaching are incompatible.

School discipline is simple and only breaks down because of mismanagement.

Heads and deputies are not there to attend meetings, they must be seen, patrol the halls, greet the students and be known.

Teachers need only have a disruptive student leave the class room and stand in the hall. The deputies need to take them to detention where they sit and do nothing until the next lesson.

Do not trap students behind files of bad behaviour. Boys especially do stupid things, often and repeatedly, only the mean acts should be recorded in detail.

Stop trying to get kids to apologise, girls will do it, and the better boys won't.

Make sure the kids get food, and have fun exercise (competitive sport should be an elective).

Running education is not hard, the fundamentals have been known for hundreds of years. What exists now has been made, it is a policy of de-education and it is working all too well.

[Jun 12, 2017] 5 Questions Universities Must Answer after the Duke Divinity Controversy

If diversity represents sort of "reverse racial discrimination", academic achievements be damned?
Notable quotes:
"... is the notion of "diversity" that is being aimed at supposed to replicate among faculty the current demographic breakdown of our country as a whole? ..."
"... Conversely, if the goal of diversity is compensatory, i.e., seeks to make up for past social injustices and the demographic disequilibrium they have produced, then here too we must be explicit about the point of reference that is to guide our remedial efforts. ..."
"... is diversity pursued under that principle to amount to a retroactive balancing of sorts, an open-ended institutional "reparation" for past injustices and inequities? ..."
"... Leaving aside logistical difficulties, to which one may certainly be sympathetic, why exclude any number of other descriptors from our conception of diversity, such as social class, ethnic background, veteran status, political views, religious belief, childhood trauma, aesthetic preferences, dietary philosophy, dance and gardening skills, past struggles with mental disability, etc.? ..."
"... 'Diversity' was always at best a racket and at worst a knowing stage – a mere stage – in the war to replace Western Civilization. ..."
Jun 12, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The recent controversy surrounding my colleague and friend, Paul Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology in the Duke Divinity School (DDS), has been widely covered. Countless op-ed pieces, fueled by Rod Dreher's online publication of internal memos and public emails at The American Conservative , as well as prominent editorials in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times , have reached many readers.

... ... ...

Unfortunately, that dialogue remains more elusive than ever. Instead, for quite some time now, the word "diversity" has served two distinct and equally problematic purposes: the magical and the litigious. Some university administrators, particularly those less loyal to the job they have than to the one they covet next, have embraced "diversity" as a professional talisman of sorts, a term that, if wielded frequently and with conspicuous reverence, will magically unlock doors higher up on the professional ladder. Conversely, to faculty members craving moral ascendancy over colleagues whose superior achievements they may regard with a mix of dread, inadequacy and envy, there is no more powerful weapon than to charge the target of their resentment with opposition to diversity, which in the present order of opportune allegations ranks just below that of the child molester. To put it in Platonic terms, contemporary academia has been mirroring our country's deteriorating civic discourse by supplanting knowledge with opinion, and by weaponizing our opinions, rather than understanding them as something for which we bear great responsibility.

1) Is the notion of "diversity" to be understood as a mimetic or compensatory endeavor? That is, is the notion of "diversity" that is being aimed at supposed to replicate among faculty the current demographic breakdown of our country as a whole? Or is the objective to compensate for the extreme dominance of a certain type of faculty-white, Caucasian, male, and (putatively) heterosexual-as it undeniably prevailed well into the 1990s at many institutions of higher learning?

2) Supposing, then, that higher education understands itself to be committed to a mimetic conception of diversity, then what is to serve as our point of reference? Is diversity, as currently affirmed by institutions of higher education, to be modeled on the overall demographic breakdown of the population in the United States-say, as captured by the most recent national census? Or is the university's conception of diversity aimed at some other norm of proportionate representation of minorities, say, one prevalent in academia as a whole or as endemic to specific disciplines?

3) Conversely, if the goal of diversity is compensatory, i.e., seeks to make up for past social injustices and the demographic disequilibrium they have produced, then here too we must be explicit about the point of reference that is to guide our remedial efforts. Is the objective to compensate for a historical lack of diversity that for many decades prevailed inside the academy? And, if so, is diversity pursued under that principle to amount to a retroactive balancing of sorts, an open-ended institutional "reparation" for past injustices and inequities? Here it ought to be kept in mind that, to cast the matter in sacramental terms, there can be no atonement without forgiveness. Hence, if diversity is understood as compensation, then not only must past wrongs in this regard be clearly identified, but any institutional acknowledgment of past injustice must also be met by, and conclude with, an act of comprehensive forgiveness. Otherwise, institutions would remain forever caught up in a downward spiral of moral recrimination and self-abasement, respectively.

4) Assuming that these questions can be openly deliberated and satisfactorily answered (which in the present climate is to assume a great deal indeed), more intractable issues yet will arise. For regardless of whether the modern research university opts for a mimetic or compensatory approach to diversity, it is by definition an inherently selective, elite institution. Thus, one must wonder whether institutions of higher education can balance their highly selective practices of faculty recruitment-practices directly related to the goal of the university as such, viz., advancing knowledge-with a demographically representative notion of "diversity" such as it exists outside of academia?

5) Finally, we should ask why currently prevailing assumptions and practices concerning "diversity" are conceived in such peculiarly narrow, not to say non-diverse ways. We know that empirical demographic studies, including the national census conducted by the U.S. government every decade or so, rely on many categories and descriptors and, consequently, yield a far more inflected and robust conception of our society's diverse composition. That being so, what justifies higher education's conception of "faculty diversity" being mainly restricted to the categories of race and gender? Leaving aside logistical difficulties, to which one may certainly be sympathetic, why exclude any number of other descriptors from our conception of diversity, such as social class, ethnic background, veteran status, political views, religious belief, childhood trauma, aesthetic preferences, dietary philosophy, dance and gardening skills, past struggles with mental disability, etc.?


connecticut farmer, says: June 12, 2017 at 8:18 am

Notwithstanding my agreement with the author, this article is very poorly written and filled with academic jargon, each sentence representing the very antithesis of Churchill's observation that there is nothing more powerful in the English language than a simple, objective sentence.

G Harvey , says: June 12, 2017 at 10:12 am

"'Diversity' is turning into idolatrous worship of empty notions"

The above statement is false because the verb tense is wrong. This is not something new. 'Diversity' was always at best a racket and at worst a knowing stage – a mere stage – in the war to replace Western Civilization.

Professor Pfau: Did you stand up and defend the Duke lacrosse team and its head coach? Did you condemn colleagues such as Leftist Houston Baker.

[Jun 09, 2017] A big reason Corbyn's a commie is because he wants to abolish tuition to bring the UK back to its communist past of 1997 and give young people the same deal all the people in charge had

Notable quotes:
"... Tutition used to be free in the UK. Then they decided that those lazy students needed to have some skin in the game and suddenly tuition was 1000 pounds. Then a few years later it was 9000 pounds and all the college grads there now have US-level student debt. ..."
"... A big reason Corbyn's a commie is because he wants to abolish tuition to bring the UK back to its communist past of 1997 and give young people the same deal all the people in charge had. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Christopher H., June 09, 2017 at 01:35 PM
Oh look, Atrios blogged something. I guess he didn't get the memo from PGL and the establishment Democrats.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/06/the-kids-are-alright.html

FRIDAY, JUNE 09, 2017

The Kids Are Alright

No actual figures, but presumably there was big yute turnout in the UK Everyone will now claim that a non-commie Labour leader like that nice Ed Miliband would OF COURSE have done as well as Joseph Stalin Lenin Marx Corbyn, and in fact BETTER, but that's bullshit.

That nice Ed Miliband couldn't do in 2015, and I'm not sure who the "unnamed generic normal Labour candidate" would otherwise be. Theresa May's incompetent evil helped, but Corbyn staved off what was supposed to have been a Labour extinction election and while there will still likely be a Tory-led government, it will be pretty fragile. A coalition with a bunch of bigoted religious nutters from Northern Ireland who aren't on board with May's Brexit plans.

Labour went after The Kids Today and got them to the polls. Wasn't enough to win, but the polling outfit predicting a likely hung parliament was considered to be "insane" even just a few days ago.

Tutition used to be free in the UK. Then they decided that those lazy students needed to have some skin in the game and suddenly tuition was 1000 pounds. Then a few years later it was 9000 pounds and all the college grads there now have US-level student debt.

A big reason Corbyn's a commie is because he wants to abolish tuition to bring the UK back to its communist past of 1997 and give young people the same deal all the people in charge had.

In 2015, Miliband said he'd cut them. To just SIX THOUSAND POUNDS. Maybe if he'd gone all the way...

by Atrios at 08:30

[May 24, 2017] Universities serve as finishing schools for the ruling class by Rob Montz

May 23, 2017

Originally from: Why Colleges Fold to Students' Anti-Intellectual Hysterics The American Conservative

Middlebury College just completed its final round of disciplinary hearings for students involved in March's violent disruption of a lecture by Charles Murray, the influential but controversial social scientist.

The punishments to date have been laughably lax. Guilty students have been presented with non-official "probation" letters that'll vanish upon graduation .

This toothless response reflects a deeper rot. Middlebury, like many prestigious colleges, has steadily gravitated away from its core educational mission and now serves primarily as a sort of finishing school for the ruling class. Professors and administrators alike are simply expected to shower students with affirmation-and then hand over a degree securing smooth entry into America's elite. College has become four years of expensive fun. This is what parents and students now demand.

This change-from institutions of learning to institutions of affirming-threatens the nation's future as colleges foster a vicious strain of anti-intellectualism.

At over $60,000 a year, Middlebury's tuition buys much more than books, lodging, and classes. Students also get a campus-wide square dance , dining halls that host culinary " world tours ," lavish fitness facilities, and an annual winter carnival complete with fireworks, a hot chocolate bar, and snow sculptures.

The student body is ultra-affluent. Middlebury is among a small handful of schools with more students from the top one percent of the income distribution than those from the bottom 60 percent . And on graduation, newly christened alums are typically funneled right back into their elite enclaves, taking jobs at places like Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, and Amazon .

... ... ...

Rob Montz is a fellow at the Moving Picture Institute. Find his work at: RobMontz.com. Check out his interview with TAC executive editor Pratik Chougule at Fearless Parent Radio: http://fearlessparent.org/free-speech-controversy-us-elite-universities-episode-104/

[May 12, 2017] How Financialization and the New Economy Hurt Science and Engineering Grads

Notable quotes:
"... Weinstein argues that the GUI agenda (inspired by Reaganomics) sought to prevent these salary increases. He contends that the legislation that enabled this oversupply was the Immigration Act of 1990 that expanded the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and instituted employment-based immigration preferences. ..."
"... As I show in my book Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? , the beginning of the end of CWOC was the transformation of IBM, the world's leading computer company, from OEBM to NEBM from 1990 to 1994. In 1990, with 374,000 employees, IBM still bragged about its adherence to the CWOC norm (calling it "lifelong employment"), claiming that the company had not laid off anyone involuntarily since 1921. By 1994 IBM had 220,000 employees, and, with senior executives under CEO Louis Gerstner themselves getting fired for not laying off employees fast enough, CWOC was history. Over the course of the 1990s and into the 2000s, other major Old Economy companies followed IBM's example, throwing out of work older employees, many of them highly educated and with accumulated experience that had previously been highly valued by the companies. ..."
"... The salaries of S&E employees tended to increase with years of experience with the company, with a defined-benefit pension (based on years of service and highest salary levels) in retirement. These types of secure employment relations, and the high and rising pay levels associated with them, were the norm among established high-tech companies in the mid-1980s, but, as exemplified by IBM's transformation, started to become undone in the early 1990s, and were virtually extinct a decade later, as Old Economy companies either made the transition to the NEBM, or disappeared.8 The culprit in the weakening in the demand for, and earnings of, S&E PhDs from the early 1990s was the demise of CWOC-a phenomenon that Weinstein (and Teitelbaum) entirely ignore. ..."
"... As exemplified by IBM in the 1990s and beyond, a company's stock price could be raised by laying off expensive older workers and using the resultant "free" cash flow (as the purveyors of MSV called it) to do stock buybacks. 12 ..."
"... "But the company is "returning" capital to shareholders who never gave the company anything in the first place; the only time in its history that Apple has ever raised funds on the public stock market was $97 million in its 1980 IPO." ..."
"... During that period, the only job market for native PhD STEM students became the American Defense and Intelligence agencies, because they required security clearances and US Citizenship. I found myself driven in those directions too. ..."
"... Technology for the most part is just increasing complexity and increasing complexity has diminishing returns. With energy becoming less available, we probably need a lot less complexity. ..."
"... I wouldn't say that there is a lack of R&D - it just isn't done in-house any more. Gone are the Bell Labs and the Xerox PARCs; welcome to the brave new world of university partnerships and non-profit R&D shops (most famous: the Southwest Research Institute). ..."
"... Basically the rich are waging class war. That's the problem no matter how you slice and dice this one. This whole "New Economy" has been one big war on wages. I mean look at the collusion too between Google, Apple, and Intel to keep wages low. ..."
"... Basically it comes down to, the rich are really greedy. The issue right now for the rich is that they are desperate to keep the looting from happening, while people are increasingly aware that the system is against them. Bernie Sanders got a lot of support in the Valley and while it is a very Democratic leaning area, I cannot imagine that Trump's anti-H1B and L1B stance would have been opposed by the average employee. I think that the rich are not going to concede anything and that there needs to be some sort of solidarity union amongst all workers. ..."
"... Is there a single person here who has worked on Wall Street (writ large) who can convince us that his job or his company had an overall positive effect on the US and/or world economy over five years, ten years, or twenty-five years? ..."
"... Its not just PhDs. I know several Engineers who advise their children to do something else. It's just not worth the amount of effort that is required to be put into it and there is no future hope of a turn around. As bad as it is for graduates today, it's only going to get worse. ..."
"... They're catching up with us arts and humanities majors. Sad! ..."
"... I am a civil engineer and one of my daughters is studying to become a structural engineer. I would not have advised her to go into engineering because of the problem with the H-1B visas. ..."
"... But who am I to advise? Who can know the future? The world is just changing too fast now to really be able to advise our children on what careers to take. Besides, one of the advantages of studying engineering as you can work anywhere in the world. ..."
"... Post WWII labor overplayed its hand by the 1970's. Corporations and their decided they had had it. Corps and management proceeded to change the rules of the game on everything -- courts, trade, taxation and regulation. These countermeasures have had disastrous long term consequences. Corporations now run the country in a fascist manner. Government capture has created myriad problems beyond financialization, only one tool in the corporate quiver. Oligopolies across most to all industries comes to mind. Rail, air, health insurance, banking, defense, telecom, entertainment . ..."
"... Not sure about the labor part overplaying their hand. They just wanted an even wage and productivity rise. It is capital IMO that has overplayed its hand and the rise of neoliberal economics which has led to declines in public R&D spending. There isn't anything like the Space Race anymore. ..."
"... Frankly, labour underplayed its hand. At one point it had capital by the throat, and should have finished it off then. If peace is not an option, you should utterly and permanently destroy your enemy. ..."
"... Labor did NOT overplay its hand after WW2 - Taft-Hartley was a HUGE smack-down to labor after the privations of the Depression followed by the war effort. The decent wages during the post-war period were part of a concerted effort to convince workers that they didn't need unions and to be complacent. ..."
"... Labor leadership certainly became corrupt from all the money sloshing around without global competition due to war devastation of Europe and Japan, the Cold War, and the death throes of colonialism, but this was not due to "overplaying" their hand. ..."
"... Contrary to popular belief, in aggregate U.S. corporations fund the stock market, not vice versa. Note that almost all of the buybacks in the decade 1976-1985 occurred in 1984 and 1985 after in November 1982 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted Rule 10b-18 that gave license to massive buybacks, in essence legalizing systemic stock-price manipulation and the looting of the U.S. business corporation. ..."
"... Actually though, watching the train wreck that is the outlook for the youngest generation today, provides some grim amusement. For instance noting that the "bubble-driven" economy composed of companies desperate to prevent their stock becoming "badly diluted" by having fire sales on capitol and expertise that probably took their predecessors decades to build can really only have one outcome. Depression, misery, socialism. Maybe we skip the Mao route this time, maybe not. ..."
"... Gregory Peck: "The Robber Barons of old at least left something tangible in their wake - a coal mine, a railroad, banks. THIS MAN LEAVES NOTHING. HE CREATES NOTHING. HE BUILDS NOTHING. HE RUNS NOTHING. And in his wake lies nothing but a blizzard of paper to cover the pain. Oh, if he said, "I know how to run your business better than you," that would be something worth talking about. But he's not saying that. He's saying, "I'm going to kill you because at this particular moment in time, you're worth more dead than alive." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJRhrow3Jws ..."
"... IBM. Poster child of everything wrong at the executive-level and the shareholder-level. ..."
"... Yes, the IBM reference is interesting.The author gives an ordinal lead to IBM as a mover from the OEBM to NEBM. I ask myself if, from a mere one large corporation managing perspective, this was IBM's 11th hour response to the by then devastating rise of its competitors like Apple & Microsoft. ..."
"... Also the irony that it did not help IBM at least in the midterm. So, IBM was the prime mover to initiate some aspects of a model change -change which every major player adhered to- in response to a new technological disadvantage vs. competitors, and in turned did not seem to do much for IBM in the immediate years. Although, if I recall well, IBM was immersed in many political battles and internal problems, legal and otherwise. Nevertheless, I doubt there was a historic inevitability on IBM's ordinal force. Outstanding work by Lazonick ..."
"... "IBM is the poster child for shenanigans. Last month, IBM reported its 20th quarter in a row of declining year over year revenues .. a 13% drop in earnings, profit margins that declined in every business segment ( much worse than expected ), free cash flow that plummeted over 50% year over year and an earnings "beat" of 3 cents per share. How could this "beat" happen? .. a negative tax rate of -23% . This is why they pay the CEO Rometti the big bucks ( estimated at $50 to $65 million last year)." ..."
"... And this is one of the Bluest of the Blue Chip companies in the world. ..."
"... Amazon has lost money every fucking quarter for the last 20 fucking years, and that Bezos motherfucker is the king. ..."
"... In addition, the rise of 401(k) based investing, in which workers are tax-incentivized to buy in to the corporate stock scheming, but lack the normal shareholder voice in corporate governance, has taken the chains off the looters as well. ..."
"... The impact on the Grads was secondary a byproduct of a larger agenda which included the transfer offshore and consolidation of "IP" of the entire American, EU and Asian industrial economies along with the withdrawl of capital, while at the same time intentionally sabotaging future innovations with the handicap of diversity. Who got the loot and capital? Usual suspects. ..."
May 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

... By William Lazonick, professor of economics at University of Massachusetts Lowell. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

How the U.S. New Economy Business Model has devalued science & engineering PhDs This note comments on Eric Weinstein's, " How and Why Government, Universities, and Industries Create Domestic Labor Shortages of Scientists and High-Tech Workers ," posted recently on INET's website.

At the outset of his paper, Weinstein argues that:

Long term labor shortages do not happen naturally in market economies. That is not to say that they don't exist. They are created when employers or government agencies tamper with the natural functioning of the wage mechanism.

The contention, written from the perspective of the late 1990s, is that in the first half of the 1990s an oversupply ("a glut") of science and engineering (S&E) labor that depressed the wages of PhD scientists and engineers was primarily the result of the promotion of a government-university-industry (GUI) agenda, coordinated by the National Science Foundation under the leadership of Erich Bloch, head of the NSF from 1984 to 1990. Beginning in 1985, the NSF predicted a shortfall of 675,000 S&E personnel in the U.S. economy over the next two decades. According to a study by the NSF's Policy Research and Analysis (PRA) division, quoted by Weinstein, salary data show that real PhD-level pay began to rise after 1982, moving from $52,000 to $64,000 in 1987 (measured in 1984 dollars). One set of salary projections show that real pay will reach $75,000 in 1996 and approach $100,000 shortly beyond the year 2000.

Weinstein argues that the GUI agenda (inspired by Reaganomics) sought to prevent these salary increases. He contends that the legislation that enabled this oversupply was the Immigration Act of 1990 that expanded the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and instituted employment-based immigration preferences. Given that most of these foreigners came from lower-wage (Asian) nations, it is assumed that they were attracted to work in the United States by what for them were high wages, whereas Americans with S&E PhDs began to shun S&E careers as the salaries became less attractive.1

There is a lot missing from Weinstein's perspective, which is also the perspective of demographer Michael Teitelbaum, who Weinstein cites extensively and who was at the Sloan Foundation from 1983 to 2013, rising to Vice-President in 2006. Weinstein and Teitelbaum view the salaries of scientists and engineers as being determined by supply and demand on the labor market ("the natural wage rate" and "the natural functioning of the labor market"). From this (neoclassical) perspective, they completely ignore the "marketization" of employment relations for S&E workers that occurred in the U.S. business sector from the mid-1980s as well as the concomitant "financialization" of the U.S. business corporation that remains, in my view, the most damaging economic problem facing the United States. This transformation of employment relations put out of work large numbers of PhD scientists and engineers who previously had secure employment and who enjoyed high incomes and benefits as well as creative corporate careers. The marketization of employment relations brought to an end of the norm of a career with one company (CWOC)-an employment norm that was pervasive in U.S. business corporations from the 1950s to the 1980s, but that has since disappeared. 2 The "financialization" of the corporation, manifested by massive distributions to shareholders in the forms of cash dividends and stock buybacks, undermined the opportunities for business-sector S&E careers.

The major cause of marketization was the rise of the "New Economy business model" (NEBM) in which high-tech startups, primarily in information-and-communication technology (ICT) and biotechnology, lured S&E personnel away from established companies, which offered CWOC under the "Old Economy business model" (OEBM). As startups with uncertain futures, the New Economy companies could not realistically offer CWOC, but instead enticed S&E personnel away from CWOC at Old Economy companies by offering these employees stock options on top of their salaries (which were typically lower than those at the Old Economy companies). The stock options could become extremely valuable if and when the startup did an initial public offering (IPO) or a merger-and-acquisition (M&A) deal with an established publicly-listed company.

The rise in S&E PhD salaries from 1982 to 1987, identified in the NSF study that Weinstein quotes, was the result of increased demand for S&E personnel by New Economy companies, with some of the increase taking the form of stock-based pay, which in the Census data drawn from tax returns is lumped in with salaries.3 Competing with companies for S&E personnel, the rise of the NEBM in turn put pressure on salaries at Old Economy companies as they tried to use CWOC to attract and retain S&E labor in the face of the stock-based alternative. By the last half of the 1980s, this New Economy competition for talent was eroding the learning capabilities of the corporate research labs that, in many cases from the early twentieth century, had been a characteristic feature of Old Economy companies in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries. 4

The CWOC norm under OEBM had provided employment security and rising wages from years-of-service with the company and internal promotion of S&E personnel (significant proportions of whom in science- based companies had PhDs). As I show in my book Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? , the beginning of the end of CWOC was the transformation of IBM, the world's leading computer company, from OEBM to NEBM from 1990 to 1994. In 1990, with 374,000 employees, IBM still bragged about its adherence to the CWOC norm (calling it "lifelong employment"), claiming that the company had not laid off anyone involuntarily since 1921. By 1994 IBM had 220,000 employees, and, with senior executives under CEO Louis Gerstner themselves getting fired for not laying off employees fast enough, CWOC was history. Over the course of the 1990s and into the 2000s, other major Old Economy companies followed IBM's example, throwing out of work older employees, many of them highly educated and with accumulated experience that had previously been highly valued by the companies.

Already in the early 1990s, the marketization of employment relations was responsible for a precipitous decline of employment at the corporate research labs that had underpinned the twentieth-century growth of Old Economy high-tech companies, of which IBM was an exemplar. In 1993, a conference held at Harvard Business School decried the "end of an era" in industrial research, with papers from the conference appearing in a volume Engines of Innovation , published in 1996.5 In the introductory chapter, entitled "Technology's Vanishing Wellspring," conference organizers and volume editors Richard Rosenbloom and William Spencer argued that industrial research (as distinct from product development) of the type that had been carried out by corporate labs in the "golden era" of the post- World War II decades "expands the base of knowledge on which existing industries depend and generates new knowledge that leads to new technologies and the birth of new industries." In the more competitive environment of the 1980s and 1990s, however, in the new industries of "biotechnology, exotic materials, and information products (and services based on them)", Rosenbloom and Spencer observed that it was more difficult for companies "to keep new technologies fully proprietary", and hence "research activities have been downsized, redirected, and restructured in recent years within most of the firms that once were among the largest sponsors of industrial research." 6

There is little doubt that S&E PhDs were major victims of this transformation. But the problem that they, along with most other members of the U.S. labor force, have faced is not simply the marketization of employment relations. For reasons that I have fully described in my publications cited above, the transition from OEBM to NEBM was accompanied by the "financialization" of the U.S. business corporation as, from the last half of the 1980s, U.S. boardrooms and business schools embraced the ideology that, for the sake of superior economic performance, a business enterprise should be run to "maximize shareholder value" (MSV). Instead of retaining employees and reinvesting in their productive capabilities, as had been the case when CWOC had prevailed, MSV advocated and legitimized the downsizing of the company's labor force and the distribution of corporate revenues to shareholders in the forms of both cash dividends and stock repurchases. 7

With the demise of CWOC, older employees were the most vulnerable, not only because they tended to have the highest salaries, but also because the shift from OEBM to NEBM was a shift from proprietary technology systems, in which employees with long years of experience were highly valued, to open technology systems that favored younger workers with the latest computer-related skills (often acquired by working at other companies). Under CWOC, older employees were more expensive not because of a "natural wage rate" that was the result of supply and demand on the S&E labor market, but because of the internal job ladders that are integral to a "retain-and-reinvest" resource-allocation regime. The salaries of S&E employees tended to increase with years of experience with the company, with a defined-benefit pension (based on years of service and highest salary levels) in retirement. These types of secure employment relations, and the high and rising pay levels associated with them, were the norm among established high-tech companies in the mid-1980s, but, as exemplified by IBM's transformation, started to become undone in the early 1990s, and were virtually extinct a decade later, as Old Economy companies either made the transition to the NEBM, or disappeared.8 The culprit in the weakening in the demand for, and earnings of, S&E PhDs from the early 1990s was the demise of CWOC-a phenomenon that Weinstein (and Teitelbaum) entirely ignore.

With the rise of NEBM, companies wanted employees who were younger and cheaper , and that was the major reason why at the end of the 1980s the ICT industry pushed for an expansion of H-1B nonimmigrant visas and employment-based immigration visas. It is not at all clear that an influx of PhDs from foreign countries via these programs was undermining the earnings of S&E PhDs in the early 1990s. Most H-1B visa holders had Bachelor's degrees when they entered the United States. At the same time, large numbers of non-immigrant visa holders entered the United States on student visas to do Master's and PhD degrees, and then looked to employment on H-1B visas to enable them to stay in the United States for extended periods (up to seven years).9 It was in response to the availability of advanced- degree graduates of U.S. universities that in 2005 an additional 20,000 H-1B visas were added to the normal cap of 65,000. Without the influx of foreign students into U.S. S&E Master's and PhD programs, many of these programs would not have survived. Through this route, the H-1B visa program has made more foreign-born PhDs available to corporations for employment in the United States. But I posit that it has been the demise of OEBM and rise of the NEBM, not an increased supply of foreign-born PhDs, that has placed downward pressure on the career earnings of the most highly educated members of the U.S. labor force.

Besides giving employers access to an expanded supply of younger and cheaper high-tech labor in the United States, the H-1B visa along with the L-1 visa for people who had previously worked for the employer for at least one year outside the United States have another valuable attribute for employers: the person on the visa is immobile on the labor market-he or she can't change jobs-whereas under NEBM the most valued high-tech workers are those who are highly mobile. This mobility of labor can boost the worker's pay package but is highly problematic for a company that needs these employees to be engaged in the collective and cumulative learning processes that are the essence of generating competitive products. Under OEBM, CWOC was the central employment institution for college-educated workers precisely because of the need for collective and cumulative learning. But it was the rise of NEBM, not the Immigration Act of 1990, that undermined CWOC. The growing dominance of NEBM with its open systems architectures then led employers to make increased use of H-1 and L-1 visas in the 1980s, prompting them to get behind an expanded cap for H-1B visas in the Immigration Act of 1990. 10

Once OEBM was attacked by NEBM, with its offer of stock-based pay, these corporations became fertile territory for the adoption of the ideology that a company should be run to "maximize shareholder value" (MSV). This momentous transformation in U.S. corporate governance occurred from the late 1980s, legitimizing the transition from a "retain-and-reinvest" to a "downsize-and-distribute" corporate- governance regime. In the 1990s and beyond, this corporate-governance transformation laid waste to CWOC across corporate America, knowledge-intensive companies included. 11 With corporate research eroding as high-tech personnel responded to the lure of stock-based pay from NEBM companies- including not only startups but also those such as Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Cisco Systems that during the 1990s grew to employ tens of thousands of people, most of them with stock- based pay-senior executives at the Old Economy high-tech companies began to see their company's stock price as not only key to the size of their own stock-based pay packages but also as an instrument to compete for a broad-based of high-tech personnel. As exemplified by IBM in the 1990s and beyond, a company's stock price could be raised by laying off expensive older workers and using the resultant "free" cash flow (as the purveyors of MSV called it) to do stock buybacks. 12

As I have documented in detail, over the past three decades this legalized looting of the U.S. business corporation has only gotten worse. As shown Table 1, driven by stock buybacks, net equity issues by U.S. nonfinancial corporations were, in 2015 dollars, minus $4.5 trillion over the decade 2006-2015. In 2016 net equity issues were minus $586 billion. Net equity issues are new stock issues by companies (in this case nonfinancial corporations) minus stock retired from the market as the result of stock repurchases and M&A deals. The massively negative numbers in recent decades are the result of stock buybacks. I have calculated net equity issues as a percent of GDP by decade to provide a measure of the value of buybacks done relative to the size of the U.S. economy. In both absolute inflation-adjusted dollars and as a percent of GDP, buybacks have become a prime mode of corporate resource allocation in the U.S. economy. Contrary to popular belief, in aggregate U.S. corporations fund the stock market, not vice versa. Note that almost all of the buybacks in the decade 1976-1985 occurred in 1984 and 1985 after in November 1982 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted Rule 10b-18 that gave license to massive buybacks, in essence legalizing systemic stock-price manipulation and the looting of the U.S. business corporation.

Table 1: Net equity issues of nonfinancial corporations in the United States, 1946-2015, by decade, in 2015 dollars, and as a percent of GDP

Decade Net Equity Issues,

2015$ billions

Net Equity Issues

as % of GDP

1946-1955 143.2 0.56
1956-1965 110.9 0.30
1966-1975 316.0 0.58
1976-1985 -290.9 -0.40
1986-1995 -1,002.5 -1.00
1996-2005 -1,524.4 -1.09
2006-2015 -4,466.6 -2.65

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Reserve Statistical Release Z.1, "Financial Accounts of the United States: Flow of Funds, Balance Sheets, and Integrated Macroeconomic Accounts," Table F-223: Corporate Equities, March 9, 2017, at https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/current/ .

Over the years 2006-2015, the 459 companies in the S&P 500 Index in January 2016 that were publicly listed over the ten-year period expended $3.9 trillion on stock buybacks, representing 53.6 percent of net income, plus another 36.7 percent of net income on dividends. Much of the remaining 9.7 percent of profits was held abroad, sheltered from U.S. taxes. Mean buybacks for these 459 companies ranged from $291 million in 2009, when the stock markets had collapsed, to $1,205 million in 2007, when the stock market peaked before the Great Financial Crisis. In 2015, with the stock market booming, mean buybacks for these companies were $1,173 million. Meanwhile, dividends declined moderately in 2009, but over the period 2006-2015 they trended up in real terms.

Among the largest repurchasers are America's premier high-tech companies. Table 2 shows the top 25 repurchasers over the decade 2006-2015. Among the companies that one would expect to employ large numbers of S&E PhDs are Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Pfizer, Oracle, Intel, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. We do not know the historical numbers of S&E PhDs at these companies, but I hypothesize that numbers would be much higher than they are if the companies were not financialized. Many of America's largest corporations

routinely distribute more than 100 percent of net income to shareholders, generating the extra cash by reducing cash reserves, selling off assets, taking on debt, or laying off employees.13 As I have shown, the only logical explanation for this buyback activity is that the stock-based pay that represents the vast majority of the remuneration of senior corporate executives incentivizes them to manipulate their companies' stock prices, leaving most Americans worse off. 14

Table 2: The 25 largest stock repurchasers among U.S.-based corporations, 2006-2015, showing net income (NI) stock buybacks (BB), and cash dividends (DV)

Source: Calculated from data downloaded from Standard & Poor's Compustat database.

The Weinstein-Teitelbaum focus on a GUI design to expand the supply of S&E PhDs ignores the transformations of corporate governance and employment relations that have decimated career employment for this group of workers over the past three decades. At the same time, the channeling of trillions of dollars of value created in U.S. nonfinancial corporations to the financial sector has opened up jobs on Wall Street that can provide quick income bonanzas for highly-educated members of the U.S. labor force, many of whom might have otherwise pursued S&E careers. Among the wealthiest of these Wall Street players are corporate predators-euphemistically known as "hedge-fund activists"-who have billions of dollars in assets under management with which they can attack companies to pump up their stock prices through the implementation of "downsize-and-distribute" allocation regimes and, even if it takes a few years, dump the stock for huge gains.15

In the case of Apple, we have shown how Carl Icahn used his wealth, visibility, hype, and influence to take $2 billion in stock-market gains by buying $3.6 billion of Apple shares in the summer of 2013 and selling them in the winter of 2016, even though he contributed absolutely nothing of any kind to Apple as a value-creating company.16 Apple CEO Tim Cook and his board (which includes former U.S. Vice President Al Gore) helped Icahn turn his accumulated fortune into an even bigger one by having Apple repurchase $45 billion in shares in 2014 and $36 billion in 2015-by far the two largest one-year stock buybacks of any company in history. Imagine the corporate research capabilities in which Apple could have invested, and the S&E PhDs the company could have employed, had it looked for productive ways to use even a fraction of the almost unimaginable sums that it wasted on buybacks.17 From 2011 through the first quarter of 2017, Apple spent $144 billion on buybacks and $51 billion on dividends under what it calls its "Capital Return" program. But the company is "returning" capital to shareholders who never gave the company anything in the first place; the only time in its history that Apple has ever raised funds on the public stock market was $97 million in its 1980 IPO. 18

A number of "hedge-fund activists"-Nelson Peltz of Trian, Daniel Loeb of Third Point, and William Ackman of Pershing Square are among the most prominent-have been able to put up one or two billion dollars to purchase small stakes in major high-tech companies, and, with the proxy votes of pension funds, mutual funds and endowments, have been able put pressure on companies, often by placing their representatives on the boards of directors, to implement "downsize-and-distribute" regimes for the sake of "maximizing shareholder value."19 In the summer of 2013, Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management bought DuPont stock worth $1.3 billion, representing 2.2% of shares outstanding. In May 2015 Peltz lost a proxy fight to put four of his nominees on the DuPont board, but in October 2015 DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman, who had opposed Peltz, resigned, and the new management began to implement Peltz's plans to cut costs and hit financial targets, to be done in the context of a merger with Dow Chemical, which had fallen into the hands of another corporate predator Daniel Loeb. Meanwhile, in October 2015, Peltz bought 0.8 percent of the shares of General Electric (GE), and began to pressure another iconic high-tech company to cut costs and increase its stock price. GE was already a financialized company that had done $52 billion in buybacks in the decade 2006-2015 (see Table 2)-a massive amount of money for the purpose of manipulating its stock price. Undoubtedly responding to additional pressure from Peltz, during 2016, GE, with profits of $8.0 billion, paid out $8.5 billion in dividends and spent another $22.0 billion on buybacks. This financialization of U.S. high-tech corporations undermines, among other things, the employment of S&E PhDs.

We need research on this subject to quantify its impacts. I submit, however, that such a research agenda must focus on transformations of regimes of corporate governance and employment relations. Relying on the neoclassical economist's notion of a "natural wage rate" determined by the interaction of supply and demand, Weinstein, a mathematician, and Teitelbaum, a demographer, missed the transformations in corporate governance and employment relations that marked the late 1980s and early 1990s-and beyond-and as result, in my view, failed to understand the changing fortunes of S&E PhDs in the marketized, globalized, and financialized New Economy. Given the dominance of what I have called "the myth of the market economy"20 in the thought processes of economists, Weinstein and Teitelbaum were by no means alone in erroneously focusing on supply and demand on the PhD labor market while failing to recognize the centrality of corporate governance and employment relations in determining the earnings and career prospects of S&E PhDs. It is time for new economic thinking on these critical questions.

Footnotes

Tom_Doak , May 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

It was indeed a tough article to read to the end, but this nugget near the end was worth it:

"But the company is "returning" capital to shareholders who never gave the company anything in the first place; the only time in its history that Apple has ever raised funds on the public stock market was $97 million in its 1980 IPO."

Wow!

David McClain , May 12, 2017 at 10:10 am

As one who actually lived this process, I can tell you that the premise of this article must be basically true.

Back in the early '90s I set out to fill in the gaps of my own computer science background (I'm actually an astrophysicist). And my classes were filled entirely by people from Asia, except for myself and one other Anglo. Job ads in the journals were already beginning to ask for PhD level CompSci with emphasis on, e.g., voice recognition, for a pay rate of $26K (1992 !). That was definitely appealing to the foreign students and unappealing to American STEM students.

During that period, the only job market for native PhD STEM students became the American Defense and Intelligence agencies, because they required security clearances and US Citizenship. I found myself driven in those directions too.

Now, after many years doing my own thing, I look around at the STEM marketplace and I am shocked to find large numbers of compatriots being pressured into the GIG Economy, and pay rates are appalling by former standards. There is a serious lack of expenditure on research and development today.

tony , May 12, 2017 at 10:44 am

There is a serious lack of expenditure on research and development today.

From another perspective this is just over investment in education. Technology for the most part is just increasing complexity and increasing complexity has diminishing returns. With energy becoming less available, we probably need a lot less complexity.

flora , May 12, 2017 at 10:49 am

"American Defense". hmmm, wonder if sending the jobs and know-how to China and India in the belief both will always be the US's willing subcontractors is such a good idea (from a US national defense point of view).

Ranger Rick , May 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I wouldn't say that there is a lack of R&D - it just isn't done in-house any more. Gone are the Bell Labs and the Xerox PARCs; welcome to the brave new world of university partnerships and non-profit R&D shops (most famous: the Southwest Research Institute).

Altandmain , May 12, 2017 at 10:21 am

Basically the rich are waging class war. That's the problem no matter how you slice and dice this one. This whole "New Economy" has been one big war on wages. I mean look at the collusion too between Google, Apple, and Intel to keep wages low.

https://www.wired.com/2015/01/apple-google-tech-giants-reach-415m-settlement-poaching-suit/

Considering how slap on the wrist this was, what incentive is there to not do it again? They know they can get away with this. Not to mention, this H1B and L1B program has become a way to keep wages low in the technology sector. In many sectors, there really isn't a "shortage" of Americans. Oh and for all the talk of these companies being "innovative", if they are prioritizing money on stock buybacks over R&D, that's not really innovative as much as it is trying to boost salaries by capitalizing on the huge cash reserves they get for being the dominant companies in their sector. Same could be said about Exxon. Not much being spent on R&D means that they are more about rent seeking rather than innovation. Perhaps not yet as blatant as those patent trolls, which are little more than shell companies that sue other companies over patents, but that is their ideal business model.

I think that at the end of the day, even though many engineers in the tech companies are in the top 10% in terms of income percentile, their interests are closer aligned with working class people. The other issue is that I bet when many of these engineers turn into their 40s, they are going to witness first hand the very real age discrimination that exists in the technology industry.

Basically it comes down to, the rich are really greedy. The issue right now for the rich is that they are desperate to keep the looting from happening, while people are increasingly aware that the system is against them. Bernie Sanders got a lot of support in the Valley and while it is a very Democratic leaning area, I cannot imagine that Trump's anti-H1B and L1B stance would have been opposed by the average employee. I think that the rich are not going to concede anything and that there needs to be some sort of solidarity union amongst all workers.

Expat , May 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

Is there a single person here who has worked on Wall Street (writ large) who can convince us that his job or his company had an overall positive effect on the US and/or world economy over five years, ten years, or twenty-five years?

I'll go first: three investment banks under my belt and one was a giant financial and moral sucking machine called Citi. The other two were wannabe's but certainly did not add value.

Sluggeaux , May 12, 2017 at 11:12 am

While "maximizing shareholder value" is the huge problem wrecking our economy, having watched the genesis of New Economic Paradigm through the experiences my wife and most of my friends going through the Silicon Valley start-up Tulip-mania from the mid-'80's through the first decade of th e 2000's, the author is hitting important points while over-simplifying and missing other equally important points, such as the role of the "Peace Dividend" in the collapse of aerospace and research funding, and the role of the Reagan and Clinton "tax reforms" in driving stock-based compensation systems.

Early on, the use of stock-based compensation drove down wage-based compensation and increased the role of financial speculators. Today, the speculators get the stock, but wages remain suppressed and only foreign workers will accept them. The author is correct: the causes are complicated, but the result drove down wages and job security for STEM workers.

mary , May 12, 2017 at 11:30 am

I got my Ph.D. in biology in 2000. It was absolutely the worst decision in my life. In fact, it actually destroyed my life, reducing me to near homelessness and starvation because-GASP--regular employers (like office jobs, retail etc.) will not hire Ph.D.s. There there is the lovely student debt that has grown exponentially, as my wages could not make the smallest dent. Convicted felons make more that I do. So to make a long story short, I started a small on-line business 9 years ago and got the FFFFF OUT of the rotten POS United States and moved to Ecuador, one of the most progressive countries in the world. I cannot believe how the US abuses its national treasures-is is truly a POS and I do not miss it for one day. I hope the US crashes and rots in hell.

JDS , May 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Good for you! I wish I could do the same that is, leave the country!

visitor , May 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Out of curiosity: what happened to your student debt when you emigrated?

fritter , May 12, 2017 at 11:40 am

Its not just PhDs. I know several Engineers who advise their children to do something else. It's just not worth the amount of effort that is required to be put into it and there is no future hope of a turn around. As bad as it is for graduates today, it's only going to get worse.

nycTerrierist , May 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm

They're catching up with us arts and humanities majors. Sad!

B1whois , May 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I am a civil engineer and one of my daughters is studying to become a structural engineer. I would not have advised her to go into engineering because of the problem with the H-1B visas.

But who am I to advise? Who can know the future? The world is just changing too fast now to really be able to advise our children on what careers to take. Besides, one of the advantages of studying engineering as you can work anywhere in the world.

I bought houses for each of my children and told them if they wanted to go to college they could trade the house in for the education. I personally think they should have considered keeping the house and working minimum wage jobs that they enjoy. But both of them are pursuing educations, my son to be history teacher!

cr , May 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Post WWII labor overplayed its hand by the 1970's. Corporations and their decided they had had it. Corps and management proceeded to change the rules of the game on everything -- courts, trade, taxation and regulation. These countermeasures have had disastrous long term consequences. Corporations now run the country in a fascist manner. Government capture has created myriad problems beyond financialization, only one tool in the corporate quiver. Oligopolies across most to all industries comes to mind. Rail, air, health insurance, banking, defense, telecom, entertainment .

But this paper is also lamenting a lack of business capex, which is directly correlated to public investment. When you decided to offshore manufacturing and fail to invest in infrastructure you get a double whammy that hits business capex. Increasing regulation and taxation on small and midsize companies has lead to consolidation. Approximately 5000 public companies have likely been consolidated. Sarbanes-Oxley added millions to compliance costs making it highly uneconomical to be a public company with less than $300 million in revenue. Dodd-Frank has created increases in cost for financial firms that had nothing to do with the crisis. In fact, the big banks have benefited enormously from implementation of this legislation.

Vatch , May 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm

For anyone else who was confused by the terminology, as I was briefly, capex = capital expenditure.

Altandmain , May 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Not sure about the labor part overplaying their hand. They just wanted an even wage and productivity rise. It is capital IMO that has overplayed its hand and the rise of neoliberal economics which has led to declines in public R&D spending. There isn't anything like the Space Race anymore.

tony , May 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Frankly, labour underplayed its hand. At one point it had capital by the throat, and should have finished it off then. If peace is not an option, you should utterly and permanently destroy your enemy.

Sluggeaux , May 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Labor did NOT overplay its hand after WW2 - Taft-Hartley was a HUGE smack-down to labor after the privations of the Depression followed by the war effort. The decent wages during the post-war period were part of a concerted effort to convince workers that they didn't need unions and to be complacent.

Labor leadership certainly became corrupt from all the money sloshing around without global competition due to war devastation of Europe and Japan, the Cold War, and the death throes of colonialism, but this was not due to "overplaying" their hand.

allan , May 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Reply to cr@May 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Sarbanes-Oxley Dodd-Frank

The trends described in the post predate by decades the communist tyranny [/s] imposed by those bills.
The wholesale closing or offshoring of corporate research labs already started in the 1980s,
driven in part by corporate raiders like Milken, Pickens and Icahn.
IBM, GM, Kodak, Xerox, GE they all had labs that provided jobs to STEM graduates
and a stream of discoveries and inventions to generate more jobs.
Now these are largely gone or substantially off-shored.
What has happened to corporate R&D shouldn't be used as an excuse to make life easier
for the Wall Street culture largely responsible for it.

Vatch , May 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Yes, any burdens imposed by Sarbanes Oxley are the fault of numerous unethical business executives over recent decades, and not the fault of people in government.

visitor , May 12, 2017 at 3:02 pm

When I was a student in IT, the shining stars at the firmament of industrial computer science and engineering R&D were Xerox PARC, DEC SRC, ATT Bell Labs and IBM Yorktown Heights.

They are gone or a shadow of their former selves.

Science Officer Smirnoff , May 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Contrary to popular belief, in aggregate U.S. corporations fund the stock market, not vice versa. Note that almost all of the buybacks in the decade 1976-1985 occurred in 1984 and 1985 after in November 1982 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted Rule 10b-18 that gave license to massive buybacks, in essence legalizing systemic stock-price manipulation and the looting of the U.S. business corporation.

William Lazonick, "Stock Buybacks: From Retain-and-Reinvest to Downsize-and-Distribute," Center for Effective Public Management, Brookings Institution, April 2015 at http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/04/17-stock-buybacks-lazonick .

See Lazonick's footnoted paper for many loving particulars. Especially note the details of how Rule 10b-18 offers no protection from abuse and (no news to NC readers) is a pillar of general corporate asset-stripping .

Science Officer Smirnoff , May 12, 2017 at 12:43 pm

P. S. pages 10 and 11 of Lazonick's pdf lay out Rule 10b-18 in full.

David Barrera , May 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Thanks. Tremendous article!