Jeb Kinnison on Life and Love

Welcome to my blog. In between promos for my books, I write on topics from the news and cover the research reports on relationship, diet and health issues, as well as whatever I think is interesting and likely to be new to my readers. I respond to all reasonable comments and invite you to add your email to the mailing list or add the RSS feed to your reader so you’ll see new posts.

I try to respond to comments, but there are too many on some of the popular pages and its slows page loading, so I’d recommend you comment over at the forum: Forum Link — http://jebkinnison.boards.net/ — where there are other knowledgeable people who can answer questions.

I’ve started a new blog about my science fiction books and related topics, so please visit SubstrateWars.com for more.

Death by HR: Biased HR Degree Programs Create Biased HR Bureaucracies

Death by HR

Death by HR

So modern HR departments are risk-averse, feminized, and tend to know little about the technical requirements of jobs they are recruiting for while screening out candidates liberal arts majors don’t like. Perhaps the degree programs feeding industry new “HR professionals” are at fault? Let’s investigate…

Here’s a typical outline of what an HR degree program should include :

General Education and Business Courses

In the first and second years of the program… HR majors will usually need to take at least three credits of coursework in mathematics, statistics, English, writing, communications, history, political science, psychology, and social science… Since human resources professionals are given the responsibility of motivating employees, adhering to federal regulations, and developing successful workplaces, having sound business knowledge is a must. HR majors will likely have to complete introductory courses in business administration, finance, management, accounting, marketing, and business law.

Major Human Resources Coursework

… According to the SHRM curriculum guidebook, required content areas will include labor relations, employment law, ethics, globalization, job analysis, workplace diversity, organizational behavior, performance management, staffing, recruitment, strategic HR, compensation and benefits, training development, talent management, and workforce planning. In some cases, undergraduate programs will also deal with secondary content areas like career planning, human resource information systems, mergers and acquisitions, corporate social responsibility, outscoring, and workplace health….[1]

One clue is that HR degree programs necessarily train students in compliance with labor laws and government mandates on diversity and equal opportunity since a primary function of HR departments is to direct managers to avoid triggering punishments and lawsuits for violating those directives. But this means many HR program faculty come out of labor law and have picked up the tendency[2] of labor lawyers and economists to favor union and anti-free-market ideals.

Democratic and union-supported political machines further this bias by funding anti-business academic centers like the Labor Center at UC Berkeley[3]:

One of the ongoing stains on the integrity of the University of California system is its publicly funded labor institutes. They are union-controlled “think tanks” that are about engaging in left-wing political activism rather than balanced thinking. They churn out one-sided studies that provide fodder for union political objectives. Their most recent efforts gave cover to California’s decision to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022….

Universities are rightly home to varying ideologies and research. But it’s wrong to publicly fund a think tank that engages in bald-faced advocacy for one particular group. … it’s really disturbing to suggest these think tanks provide “various ideas” about anything. They provide ideas with the union stamp of approval.

“Far from what should be expected from academia, the institute doesn’t even hint at a non-partisan agenda and regularly not only trains union organizers (presumably for political purposes) but also authors biased studies,” wrote the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s legislative director… Note the people behind this effort: labor leaders, community activists, a labor-allied former legislator, state labor lobbyists. Check out the advisory board at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Virtually every member has a union affiliation. As Harper rightly notes, they are “partisan operations.”

State funding has been controversial, but the institute still receives direct public funding. It’s also dismaying seeing UC’s reputation sullied by such priorities. But the real problem is the nature of the research— and the effect it has on political debates across California.

“A new study found that a quarter of the region’s workforce would see a 20 percent pay bump if Santa Clara County upped the minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2019,” according to a report last week in a San Jose business publication. The county paid $100,000 to—you guessed it—a labor institute to provide such a rosy prediction. The study gave like-minded elected officials political cover.

I first came across the institutes in 2010 when the Berkeley institute produced a study suggesting that public-sector workers receive lower overall compensation than private-sector workers, despite their exceedingly generous pensions. I consulted experts and was astounded by its shortcomings. Take a look at the titles of institute studies. They drip with union bias.

California unions have myriad financial privileges. The state automatically deducts dues payments from public members. Workers must join the union to keep their jobs. Unions are the most powerful lobbies in Sacramento. If they want to produce research that backs their point of view, good for them. But why should taxpayers fund it? [4]

Labor law and economics departments and researchers are primarily funded by governments and labor unions that are biased toward increasing labor regulations, which in turn builds a larger empire for compliance staff — both in government and HR, where HR staffers act as their enforcement arm. This means academic HR training is also heavily biased toward regulation, and it’s rare for a new HR hire trained by such a program to wholeheartedly embrace the values of management for profit in a free market. It’s no surprise that people in charge of training others for a field believe their field is important and tend to want it to enlarge its scope of authority — which increases the status and power of those already high in its ranks.

But this means hiring a new HR staffer graduated from an HR degree program is more than likely hiring someone more committed to “social justice” than to your organization’s success, with an inherent conflict of interest — they will identify with the regulators more than the organization that pays their salary, and cooperate with likeminded careerists both in government and in your own organization to neglect goals of competitive efficiency. HR staffers will often support each other’s politicized progressive views and bias their decisions toward hiring mediocre employees they favor for cultural and diversity reasons while making life difficult for ornery but productive workers who don’t do as well sucking up to them. Management neglect — “it’s not important, it’s just HR” — lets HR progressives have a free hand, and they can slowly sink your company, then move on to the next with their credentials intact to repeat the process.

Not only do HR staff tend to have internalized progressive and labor values, they also have little subject area knowledge when screening potential hires, recommending people who don’t have deep understanding and screening out those who do using superficial degree and certification requirements.

This problem is quietly recognized in many companies, where candidates are theoretically brought to a hiring manager’s attention by HR after advertising and outreach, but where in practice hiring managers wisely ignore HR’s candidate lists to bring in people they have found themselves through industry contacts and their own more knowledgeable searches. If it were not for that, HR’s hiring screens would have crippled many corporations long ago, and this internal battle continues as HR responds to political pressure to reach diversity goals by trying to limit hiring managers’ ability to select the best hires. Resistance to these mandates continues as companies issue press releases on their success at improving diversity while pragmatic managers route around HR. A FEE article by Harrison Burge sums it up:

While HR employees may be equipped to attract talent, this is only one-half of their economic problem. The other half, the one in which HR is ill-equipped, is the process to secure (hire) these resources – specialized labor across a multitude of job functions – despite not understanding specific skills and relative importance of these skills to respective hiring managers.

In this respect, HR and their algorithms serve as central planning commissars, devoid of the feedback and knowledge needed to approve or disapprove candidate hiring for the company’s departments. As technical innovation and the development of required skillsets to fill these openings inevitably continues, the service provided by the traditional, centralized HR hiring department to their coworkers in specialized, technical departments may suffer.

The contrast between HR departments, whose foremost objective is compliance with government regulations and whose structure reflects the bureaucracy that they enshrine, and companies’ other lean, innovative departments could not be more stark. Government interventions in HR have the unintended consequences of burdening companies’ other departments, which operate not according to government dictates, but solely based upon profit and loss.[5]

These pressures increase the dead weight of bureaucracy inside the company while distracting management from the focus necessary for survival and competitive success. We would think it intolerable if saddled with a Chinese Communist Party political officer who made sure the party songs were sung and banners displayed in the office — but we see the wall of labor law disclosures and politically-driven slogans and decrees foisted on us by the Party of Government as normal. The cynical management view — that it’s just a cost of doing business, to be ignored and avoided — has allowed a gradual increase in these directives until they are seriously compromising productivity.


[1] “What are the Core Courses in a Bachelor’s in Human Resources Program?” Humanresorucesmba.net, 2016. http://www.humanresourcesmba.net/faq/what-are-the-core-courses-in-a-bachelors-in-human-resources-program/
[2] “Economists Aren’t As Nonpartisan As We Think,” FiveThirtyEight, Dec. 8, 2014. “…macroeconomists and financial economists are more right-leaning on average while labor economists tend to be left-leaning.”
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/economists-arent-as-nonpartisan-as-we-think/
[3] UC Berkeley Labor Center. http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/
[4] “Funding Ideology, Not Research, at University of California ‘Labor Institutes’,” by Steven Greenhut, Reason.com, May 6, 2016. http://reason.com/archives/2016/05/06/funding-ideology-not-research-at-univers
[5] “What Your HR Department Could Learn from Hayek,” by Harrison Burge. Foundation for Economic Education, August 22, 2016. https://fee.org/articles/what-your-hr-department-could-learn-from-hayek/

More reading on other topics:

Death by HR: Pink Collar Ghettos, Publishing and HR
Death by HR: Who Staffs HR Departments? Mostly Women…
Death by HR: The Great Enrichment to the Great Slackening
Death by HR: Good-Enough Cogs vs Best Employees
Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy
The Justice is Too Damn High! – Gawker, the High Cost of Litigation, and the Weapon Shops of Isher
Regulation Strangling Innovation: Planes, Trains, and Hyperloop
Captain America and Progressive Infantilization
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

Death by HR: Pink Collar Ghettos, Publishing and HR

Women Dominate HR - Worldcrunch.com

Women Dominate HR – Worldcrunch.com

This is a followup to Death by HR: Who Staffs HR Departments? Mostly Women… motivated by Virgina Postrel’s query asking when publishing became a female-dominated field.

In Sisters of Perpetual Grievance: Gender Pay Gap we described how the “women make only 77 cents on the dollar” aggregate statistic is due to women’s choices of field, type of work, and desire to take time off for raising children. One of the counter-arguments is that female-dominated fields are paid less because of some sort of systemic discrimination. The Patriarchy has decided to pay less in those fields because they are dominated by women…!

Aside from the impracticality of such a conspiracy — implying the free market in labor somehow fails, forcing workers in those fields to accept lower pay instead of moving on to more lucrative opportunities — there’s some truth hiding in the claim. Fields dominated by women do tend to pay less. And there are a few examples where fields once male-oriented or at least balanced became female-dominated, and the average pay level dropped. Cause and effect? Or did the declining pay and improving security of these jobs lead them to become relatively more attractive to women looking for flexibility and more social workplaces?

Some examples of the phenomenon: 1) Public elementary school teaching, 2) Non-tenured higher education teaching, 3) Medical administrators, 4) HR administrators and staff (as we have seen).

The female dominance of elementary school teaching in the US was complete by 1900. Women were paid much less than men for the same teaching jobs — a result of real discrimination, and the sense that women would leave to marry and raise a family so their commitment was temporary. As a result, employing mostly young women as teachers became a cost-saving mechanism, and males left the field as salaries dropped and better opportunities with higher status and possibilities for advancement became available:

The drive for universal education increased the demand for teachers and the associated costs of instruction, giving an advantage to schools that hired female teachers. Female teachers were paid about half as much as their male counterparts in standardized schools (Grumet, p. 39). In fact, some scholars attest that “feminization occurred because school districts were unwilling or unable to pay the rising costs of retaining male teachers as school terms became longer and teaching became less attractive to men.” The wage gap between the genders was smaller in rural schools, possibly because there were fewer qualified candidates to fill teaching positions. Rural and southern areas tended to have more informal teaching with less discrepancy between the salaries of male and female teachers, and had mostly male teachers or an equal balance of men and women (Strober and Lanford). In the 1800s, male teachers tended to remain in their positions longer than female teachers, which may explain some of the wage gap. Women often used teaching as a way to earn an income between their own adolescence and motherhood. Teaching began as a job that was expected to cover living expenses for a young, single person or to supplement other sources of income. As teaching became a women’s career, the salary remained low even though a good number of female teachers never married and continued to teach.[1]

The era of young woman teaching for a few years before marrying and leaving the job market ended when mothers generally began to work outside the home. For some period during that transition, female teachers were expected to leave teaching when they married even when they wanted to continue, which led some to hide their marital status. Primary-school teachers were never of high status, but their status dropped further when men almost entirely abandoned public school teaching (many male teachers continued to teach at private schools, where their autonomy and status was greater.)

By 1850, the feminization of teaching had taken hold, especially in urban areas. Feminization was not a preference of schools at first. “School committees often searched in vain for men teachers before finally hiring women…. One major concern was discipline,” but separating classes by age in larger urban schools made discipline easier. The cost savings of female teachers may have been a result of feminization, rather than its cause. It was difficult for schools to find enough male teachers to fill all positions. “Teaching paid poorly compared with other jobs that men could get in urban areas, and the demands of teaching in big-city school systems–with eight months or more of school each year–precluded men teaching as a part-time job. Simultaneously, the nineteenth-century ideology of ‘domestic feminism’ limited the range of occupations to which young middle-class women could aspire.” There was a dearth of willing men and a plethora of educated, young white women qualified to teach for low salaries….

Teaching became formalized, and the percentage of women increased from 1850 to 1900. Schooling in the more urban North was more formalized, with more female teachers and sharp pay differences between men and women. When schooling became formalized, female teachers were seen as very desirable because they were seen as cheap, as better teachers of young children, and as more willing to conform to the bureaucratization of schooling. Male principals were employed to deal with disciplinary problems that their female teachers were unable to handle….

The feminized state of teaching has been both a boon and a burden to the women who teach. Female teachers historically postponed or hid marriages to maintain their careers. It was not until the mid-1900s that married women were allowed to continue teaching, but when they did, it was a career that integrated relatively well with childrearing. The teaching schedule has excellent “mommy hours,” with afternoons and evenings free, plus summer and winter vacations that correspond with children’s vacations. Since there is less of a hierarchy among teachers, it is easier to take time off and then re-enter the workforce than it is with other careers. Unfortunately, the salary and prestige of teaching are very low, and the mother-friendly benefits of teaching may contribute to maintaining it as a low-prestige career. The teaching hours and part-year schedule are well suited to women with children, making the profession fit easily into traditional women’s lives, but this has contributed to the feminization of the profession, leading to lower salaries and prestige. Teaching also has a relatively low retention rate compared to other occupations, especially for women. “Those who defected were mainly wealthier, smarter, and more often married than those who continued to teach[2].

The bureaucratization of a profession — with limited autonomy but greater security and reduced and more flexible hours, plus the ease of taking time off and moving between positions allowed by certification requirements and uncompetitive salaries — encourages female dominance. Highly-competitive, high-paying, performance-oriented occupations remained more difficult both to enter and succeed in, so the path of least resistance for a woman wanting a family-friendly career remained entry to one of the regulated fields where cooperative skills and consensus were more important than measurable productivity, and the pay reflected that.

Publishing is another field where women have come to dominate an industry — as in teaching, by the 1960s “There was a dearth of willing men and a plethora of educated, young white women qualified to [do editorial work] for low salaries.” Publishing had always employed large numbers of women in clerical and lower-level positions though men dominated editorial, managerial, and sales jobs. This began to change rapidly in the 1960s, and by the 1990s publishing was dominated by women, until today every part of the industry is female-dominated, from agents to editors to even authors. It’s often noted that the reading of books also became a primarily female-associated activity during that period, with women buying and reading far more books than men to the point where female-favored genres like romance outsell all other fiction.

Job Queues, Gender Queues: Explaining Women’s Inroads Into Male Occupations by Barbara F. Reskin and Patricia A. Roos has a detailed history of the rapid evolution of publishing from a male-dominated to a female-dominated industry, tracing it to factors including the increasing size and commercialization of the consolidating publishing companies and the historically low pay in the industry which discouraged men from entry while allowing upper-class educated white women to take it over from below:

Caplette observed that “the gradual increase of women editors in the last decade [the 1970s] has, within the last few years, become an upsurge—nearly half of trade and mass-market paperback editors are now women.” Confirming her impressions are those of more than forty industry informants who agreed that the 1970s brought dramatic progress for women in editing and other publishing jobs.

Although women advanced in many occupations in the 1970s, their gains in editing outstripped those in most other occupations…. I found that changes in the publishing industry and the editorial role set the stage for women’s gains by altering both the supply of male would-be editors and the demand for women….

For most of this century, publishing’s glamour and its image as a “gentlemen’s profession’ were sufficient to attract more than enough qualified recruits. Then, although industrial expansion heightened the demand for editorial workers, the concomitants of that growth reduced the industry’s attractive­ness to its traditional workforce: talented young men from high socioeconomic backgrounds.

Dwindling attraction for men. Publishing’s primary draw for such men had been entree into the world of culture without the taint of commerce. But commerce is exactly what outside ownership meant. At the same time, as we have seen, editorial work lost many of the features that had compen­sated nonwealthy workers for low wages. To make matters worse, commerce was supplanting culture without conferring the usual economic incentives of commercial careers. Although editorial wages had always been low, there were other compensations. One editor said, “I consider the right to publish books which don’t make money a part of my salary.” Just as some editors lost that right, wages may have actually declined. In 1982, entry-level pay for editorial assistants was as low as an $9,000 a year, and several people I interviewed noted that it is increasingly difficult, perhaps impossible, to survive—much less support a family—in Manhattan on editorial wages. An industry expert said, only partly in jest: “Only college graduates with rich parents willing to subsidize them can afford to work in editorial jobs any more.” In the face of society’s growing emphasis on a fashionable life-style and the increasing tendency to use income as “the measure of a man,” pub­lishing’s low wages further deterred men from pursuing editorial jobs. Better-paying media jobs (technical writing for high-tech companies, corporate public relations, film) and graduate school lured away talented men interested in communications.

With declining opportunities for mobility and challenges to the traditional promotion practices that had given men a fast track to the top, little remained to draw men to editorial work. A woman editor…in 1978 remarked, “The average man thinks that he has a God-given right to start in as an editor.” To the extent that this was true, entry-level iobs as editorial assistants (often a euphemism for secretary when these were women’s jobs) attracted few men, and the industry increasingly relied on women as editorial assistants.

Increasing supply of women. The gentility that had rendered publish­ing jobs appropriate for upper-status men did so too for “respectable” women whom traditional values encouraged to pursue cultural and aesthetic pursuits. As a long-time assistant at Harper & Brothers said, “Young women getting out of college were so anxious to get a job in something they could be proud of that they would go into publishing and work for practically nothing.” Gender-role socialization further enhanced women’s qualifications for publishing by schooling them in verbal and com­munications skills that equipped them with the facility and inclination to work with words and predisposed them toward the interpersonal work that editing often involved. One female holder of a master’s degree said of her secretarial job in the mid-1950s, “I thought it was an honor to read books and write… flap copy.” Working in an intellectual and cul­tural industry situated in one of the metropolitan publishing “capitals” offered an added incentive to women graduating from prestigious eastern colleges, particularly before the 1970s, when few alternatives presented themselves to career-minded women.

The massive influx of women into the labor force during the 1970s expanded the pool of women available for editorial jobs, and the women’s liberation movement encouraged women to consider occupations customarily reserved for men. Publishing attracted women also because it reputedly pre­sented fewer obstacles than many other industries. Moreover, male occupations in predominantly female industries—particularly growing industries­—tend to be more hospitable and hence more attractive to women. Thus, although women knew they faced discrimination in publishing, they probably realized that other commercial fields were worse. Publishing’s low wages were less likely to deter women than men because their socialization had not encouraged them to maximize income. Because women lacked access to many better-paying jobs, they did not have to forgo more lucrative opportunities for jobs as assistants or editors, and their limited alternatives presumably also explained their willingness to accept the changes that were making editorial work less desirable to men. As a result, the supply of female applicants remained unabated or grew, while that of males declined. Moreover, several interviewees contended that because publishing could no longer attract the most qualified men, female applicants often had better credentials than the males who did apply. If publishers chose the best applicant {as the new emphasis on profits dictated), it would probably be a woman….

In other words, women became attractive to publishers because of their literary and interpersonal skills, their presumed ability to read for a largely female readership, and their expertise in growing segments of the industry—and because they would work cheap. These factors, combined with their avail­ability as a surplus labor pool that could be readily drawn into the workforce, made women an acceptable solution to publishing’s economic fluctuations[3].

As publishing grew to be dominated by upper-class white women, it also came to be dominated by progressive feminists — of both sexes. Not all women in publishing are third-wave feminists, but many are, and like the Ivy League males they replaced, they view their power to get politically-progressive but uncommercial books published as a partial compensation for their low-paid and otherwise low-autonomy jobs. The industry relies on a cheap labor pool of new graduates hoping for an entry into more stable, higher-paying tenured editorial jobs, much as academia now relies on low-paid, abused adjunct teachers. The last of the older generation of editors and managers is leaving now, which leaves the legacy publishing industry with few editorial workers who understand more typical American families and blue-collar or male values. Those small and contrarian publishers who put out books of more interest to mainstream readers and men, like the Hollywood producers that made a bundle on the movie American Sniper — which respectfully told the morally-complex story of a Texas-based sniper in Iraq and the aftermath of his service — have discovered that big publishing’s neglect of this large audience makes it much more profitable to serve it.

Jason Pinter, bestselling thriller writer, discovered this downside when, working as an editor, he could get no support for a male-attracting book:

In an essay…, Pinter describes how (during his days in publishing) he attempted to acquire a book by professional wrestler Chris Jericho. His efforts almost failed for lack of men in the acquisitions meeting, he says–if one colleague’s 15-year-old nephew hadn’t been a wrestling fan, the book wouldn’t have made it through. It was “the fault of a system in which in a room of 15-20 people, not one of them knew what I was talking about…”

The same type of less-competitive, bureaucracy-tolerant, socially-oriented person has gone into HR as a field, studying sociology, psychology, and diversity, while employing personal relationships to make their way up in a field where results are very hard to quantify. The lower salaries in HR keep more effective thought-leaders from entering, yet companies continue to increase HR staff without realizing that they are bringing in people who don’t highly value excellence or competitive success. And the result will be emphasis on diversity and harmony over long-term growth and profit. Companies that carefully screen their HR staff and keep the focus on necessary business activity will have a competitive advantage and avoid the long-term decline a politicized HR department will cause.


[1] “The Feminization of Teaching in America,” By Elizabeth Boyle, MIT Progam in Women’s and Gender Studies – Kampf Prize, 2004.
https://stuff.mit.edu/afs/athena.mit.edu/org/w/wgs/prize/eb04.html
[2] “The Feminization of Teaching in America,” By Elizabeth Boyle, MIT Progam in Women’s and Gender Studies – Kampf Prize, 2004.
https://stuff.mit.edu/afs/athena.mit.edu/org/w/wgs/prize/eb04.html
[3] Job Queues, Gender Queues: Explaining Women’s Inroads Into Male Occupations by Barbara F. Reskin and Patricia A. Roos, Temple University Press, March 3, 2009. http://amzn.to/2b4vuCq

 

More reading on other topics:

Death by HR: Who Staffs HR Departments? Mostly Women…
Death by HR: The Great Enrichment to the Great Slackening
Death by HR: Good-Enough Cogs vs Best Employees
Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy
The Justice is Too Damn High! – Gawker, the High Cost of Litigation, and the Weapon Shops of Isher
Regulation Strangling Innovation: Planes, Trains, and Hyperloop
Captain America and Progressive Infantilization
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

Your Betters Decide For You: (Not) Choosing a Tenant in Seattle

The Socialist Alternative for Seattle

The Socialist Alternative Party for Seattle


The Party of Government knows better than owners and managers how to run a business properly — look what they did for Detroit and Flint! We’ll talk about the $15 minimum wage (really outlawing jobs worth less than that) and the movement to prohibit prospective employers from asking about criminal records or checking credit ratings, but the latest brilliant idea from the socialist progressives (including the new Socialist councilwoman) in Seattle wins the prize for harmful intrusion pretending to do good: landlords must take the first tenant candidate who meets their qualifications, which must be set forth in advance. This is of course intended to prevent invidious housing discrimination in a city with a shortage of rentals and rapidly-increasing prices as Seattle goes the way of California, inhibiting new housing construction (because that only benefits greedy developers) and then blaming the business of providing housing for the shortage and high prices of same.

From the article “A primer on Seattle’s new first-come, first-served renters law,” by Daniel Beekman in the Seattle Times of August 10, 2106:

Seattle is apparently breaking new ground by requiring landlords in the city to rent their housing units to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Officials say they’re unaware of any other U.S. city with a policy like the one the Seattle City Council approved Monday, along with other rental-housing changes.

This might be a clue that your new law might be a bad idea. Good luck with those lawsuits!

The goal is to ensure prospective renters are treated equally, according to Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who championed the policy. When landlords pick one renter among multiple qualified applicants, their own biases — conscious or unconscious — may come into play, she says.

May come into play! To prevent thoughtcrime, one must banish discretion. A similar law in employment will help even more, when jobs aren’t handed out on the whim of those who are responsible for production. Every applicant will have a place in tractor factory! The city will tackle discrimination in mating and friendship next.

Some landlords don’t mind the policy, saying they already operate on a first-come, first-served basis. But others are upset, saying they should be able to use their own judgment to choose the renters they believe will be most reliable.

The landlords who say they don’t mind may be running shithole low-end buildings with low maintenance and high turnover. And lying, since they’ve been trained to discriminate covertly by previous regimes. One of the casualties of socialist systems is truth — everyone pretends and works the system. Underground economies spring up — the best apartments go to the connected who can trade favors or outright bribes to get in, as in San Francisco’s rent-controlled units.

Even proponents of the policy acknowledge it could have unintended consequences, and some details still need to be worked out before it takes effect Jan. 1.

“There seems to be a strong common-sense argument for this,” said Leland Jones, regional spokesman for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “But we’ll have to wait and see.”

Like common-sense gun regulations, progressives label whatever micromanaging policy they want that week obvious and sensible. Those who point out the unintended consequences are just standing in the way of progress and fairness for all. Unicorns and rainbows happen when we cut up that pie our way! After all, housing is a human right. Those who own it have to give it to those who need it.

Before accepting a prospective renter’s application materials, a landlord will need to provide the renter with information on the landlord’s minimum screening criteria, Kranzler said. When the landlord receives a completed application — in person, electronically or through the mail — the landlord will be required to make note of the date and time. The landlord will be required to screen multiple applications in the order in which they were received and make offers to qualified renters in that order. A prospective renter won’t necessarily know her position in line, but she can ask SOCR [Seattle Office of Civil Rights] to investigate by checking the landlord’s records. Prospective renters will also have the option to sue a landlord when they think they’ve been skipped — an aspect of the policy that bothers landlord groups.

To aid enforcement, the next update to the law may require all landlords to maintain an open Internet connection which transmits all changes to their records directly to the SOCR.

Ann LoGerfo, a directing attorney with Columbia Legal Services who pushed for the policy, offered an example: A landlord with two qualified applicants picks a name he associates with his own ethnicity, rather than a name that sounds foreign to him. Under Seattle’s new policy, if the latter completes her application first and meets the landlord’s criteria, the landlord will be required to offer her the unit.

One Seattle landlord who likes the idea is Jason Truesdell, who rents out a duplex in Madison Valley. Truesdell says he practices first-come, first-served now. “Because my goal is to get a unit occupied as quickly as possible by someone reliable,” he said.

While that sounds quite reasonable, Jason, your ability to set those criteria for reliability is being taken away. You won’t be allowed to use credit scores, criminal histories, or reports from previous landlords to refuse a new tenant — the next generation of this ordinance will set qualifications that your political masters decide. Your pain and suffering in dealing with bad tenants and the apartments they trash and the good tenants they run off matters not at all; giving protected classes do-overs to cover up their irresponsibilities of the past is more important. Because literally nothing in their lives was ever their fault. The Man has kept them down, and you’re The Man now, Jason — we’re taking control of your property for reparations.

And Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said the policy means Seattle is taking a leadership role. “We’ve been asking people to address this issue for years,” but landlords always push back, said Smith. “We know landlords skip people all the time, and often the people they skip are people of color, people with vouchers and families with children.”

Stupid landlords. What do they know? Shanna knows better. Section 8 people are the salt of the earth and belong in quiet buildings. They can be key in the neighborhood Party Committee that will dole out scarce food and housing to those who support the goals of the Council.

Not everyone is happy about the policy, however. Don Taylor, who rents out a small building off Aurora Avenue North, said he doesn’t need policing. “How do I do it? Part of it is just feel,” Taylor said, recalling an instance in which he chose one qualified applicant over another because her salary was lower and he guessed she’d be less likely to buy a home and move out. “The longer you can keep a tenant, the better off you are,” the landlord said. “I don’t care whether you’re black, white or purple.”

I was a landlord in an area where good apartments were in great demand, and this is exactly how a smart landlord thinks. There’s little or no racism or improper discrimination involved — I chose black men and lesbians quite cheerfully when they were the most likely to pay the rent, be good neighbors to others, and take good care of the apartment. Taking away all the subtle discretionary factors that go into making these decisions amounts to harming small landlords who are doing it right.

Sean Martin, spokesman for the Rental Housing Association of Washington, says the group already advises landlords to operate on a first-come, first-served basis — to avoid discrimination claims. But he’s worried about unintended consequences. He wonders whether the race-to-apply policy will give an advantage to people with cars, smartphones and free time over people who ride the bus and work three jobs….

Then there’s the question of enforcement. Taylor says he’ll keep going with his gut. “I plan to find a way to work around the law,” he said.

False times and dates. Different screening criteria. Pre-application interviews. Those are all possibilities, said [Jason] Truesdell, who plans to adhere to the policy. “I can easily imagine how this could be gamed,” he said.

That’s why… the national expert says Seattle will need to ramp up its sting operations. According to SOCR, it will need to add two staffers to handle work related to the first-come, first-served policy — to the tune of more than $200,000 next year.

Your tax dollars at work, making housing more expensive and harder to find by discouraging new rental housing construction. Seattle is on the road to San Francisco’s impossibly expensive, two-class housing market, where only the very wealthy or connected can find comfortable and affordable apartments.

Death by HR: Who Staffs HR Departments? Mostly Women…

Death by HR

Death by HR

Information on the staffing of Human Resources (HR) departments themselves is not easy to come by. HR-focused writings tend toward academic Social Justice gobbledygook, and commonly-observed dominance of HR staffing by women and “soft” degree majors is hard to confirm with hard data from individual companies, though there are some statistics collected at the national level in the US. Historically, Personnel departments were staffed by the same type of people one would find in accounting or finance — clerks and paperwork handlers — but the managers tended to be male (as they were for other corporate functions.) As Personnel became HR and HR-specific degree programs began to appear, hiring shifted to people who had studied HR as a field — with simple organizational psychology, benefits law, and concepts of social equity and diversity baked in to new graduates. What did not get studied so thoroughly was economics, technology, specific types of business knowledge, or statistics. HR graduates today are trained in a party line Social Justice ideology which sets them up as enforcers of government edicts on diversity, with less emphasis on ideals of merit and productivity that would promote the competitiveness of the business they are supposedly helping to direct.

Business advisor Ram Charan noted that typical HR managers had little perspective on the overall business, as he wrote in the Harvard Business Review:

But it’s a rare CHRO [Chief Human Resources Officer] who can serve in such an active role. Most of them are process-oriented generalists who have expertise in personnel benefits, compensation, and labor relations. They are focused on internal matters such as engagement, empowerment, and managing cultural issues. What they can’t do very well is relate HR to real-world business needs. They don’t know how key decisions are made, and they have great difficulty analyzing why people—or whole parts of the organization—aren’t meeting the business’s performance goals.

Among the few CHROs who do know, I almost always find a common distinguishing quality: They have worked in line operations—such as sales, services, or manufacturing—or in finance. The celebrated former CHRO of GE, Bill Conaty, was a plant manager before Jack Welch brought him into HR. Conaty weighed in on key promotions and succession planning, working hand in glove with Welch in a sweeping overhaul of the company. Mary Anne Elliott, the CHRO of Marsh, had had several managerial roles outside HR. She is overhauling the HR pipeline to bring in other people with business experience. Santrupt Misra, who left Hindustan Unilever to join Aditya Birla Group in 1996, became a close partner of the chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla, working on organization and restructuring and developing P&L managers. He runs a $2 billion business as well as heading HR at the $45 billion conglomerate.[1]

Charan’s observation is that effective HR heads came out of business operations, not from academic programs with a social sciences and labor-influenced background. But new HR hires are now low-paid (relative to engineers and sales) and inexperienced recent graduates who have limited understanding of the business, its products, and competitive markets. Such people will likely have no difficulty believing in the mythical gender “pay gap” because they themselves have jobs in a kind of feminine and minority ghetto within the company, where most of their fellow HR staff believe in affirmative action and social justice efforts as a moral crusade. One lesson from this tendency: if you are staffing up your own company’s HR department, start at the top with someone who is deeply experienced in your business and will hire HR staff who demonstrate a commitment to making the best products with the best people to survive and profit in a competitive marketplace. “Activist” HR staff who see your business as a platform for doing social work—who want to mold your employees to promote social welfare and support social justice causes—will gradually dull your company’s competitive edge and in the long run destroy it. Overseas competitors, especially Asian companies, will not be as hampered by hiring policies designed to right social wrongs.

We’ll look later at how the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is top-heavy with blacks and women, showing that the EEOC itself is not achieving statistical representation or diversity. The same is true of their internal enforcers, the HR departments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects statistics on occupations and shows this data for 2015:[2]

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Composition of workforce by job category

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Composition of workforce by job category

Notice that women dominate the HR profession—with above-70% representation in both management and staff of HR. Blacks, meanwhile, don’t do quite as well in HR management—but are overrepresented by 30-40% at lower levels.

This is US-economy-wide, of course, and individual companies and industries may diverge from these averages further. It is a common observation, for example, that Silicon Valley companies have even more female-centric HR staffs. And as at the EEOC, Latinos remain underrepresented in both HR management and staff. When your HR rep comes to tell your team that you have to give preference to minority and female hires, ask them when HR staffs will recruit enough men, Asians, and Latinos to achieve true equity and diversity.

Some HR professionals decry the female ghettoization of HR. James A. Landrith, a male HR professional, wrote of his experience as a male in a female-dominated role:

For years, men did rule the HR world as most companies could not see a female employee outside of the administrative ranks, food service or cleaning help. As the profession transitioned from “personnel” to “human resources” the gender mix tilted out of balance. I don’t particularly view this imbalance as negative or positive. It simply is the reality….

As a man working in a field heavily dominated by women, it can be both a challenge and an advantage. I’ve been dismissed or treated as a nuisance as the sole male in a given group by a female supervisor who was quite happy to develop her female subordinates, while doing her best to alienate or ignore me….

The reactions from employees outside of HR departments have been the most dramatic. Quite often, they are surprised when the “new HR” is a man or they wonder if I am “from corporate.” I work hard to win the trust and respect of the people who depend on me to assist them with their concerns or interpret policy and ensure it is enforced fairly. My gender is not key to my success in human resources work, but it is obvious to employees that I am different. After over a decade of HR experience, I am still contacted periodically by employees from prior locations and even former employers. Often, they just need a friendly ear to listen to them vent or they want to pick my brain regarding an issue that is bugging them. That is about building trust and confidence—not gender.

… The assumption that women are naturally more compassionate and maternal when in positions of power or authority is quickly dispatched when dealing with an authoritarian type in a human resources role. There are plenty of women who operate under that philosophy while performing their duties. I’ve encountered them in supervisory roles or as peers.[3]

Stereotypes and generalizations about female-dominated organizations would suggest that they are more emotional, less logical; more safety-oriented and less willing to take risks to accomplish higher goals; more likely to talk about feelings than to act; and more cliquish and petty, and less likely to focus on the larger goals of the organization. Of course these generalizations are untrue of many specific women in HR roles, but “Ben” writing as a young male HR professional comments:

I can still remember the first time I walked into a NASHRM event and looked around. There were about a hundred people in the room. Of that number the six guys (including me) stuck out like sore thumbs. It kind of made me laugh, because I’ve never worked in a job where the men outnumbered the women. It doesn’t really bother me, but I’ve always been a little curious about why the imbalance occurs.

I don’t want to lay any blanket statements on the ladies out there, but my little experience seems to point to most of them focusing on compliance and how to keep things “safe.” More of the males, however, seem to be focused on how to keep the goals moving forward and holding onto the strategic focus.

Like I said, I don’t like blanket statements and generalities, because I’ve certainly met dozens of female HR pros with a high strategic focus. However, due to the high percentage of women overall, there certainly are a lot of them who are doing that compliance work…[4]

Some HR professionals are quite happy with female dominance and see it as a natural result of stereotypically feminine strengths in nurturing and empathy. Male writer John Sumser hyperventilates at HR Examiner:

HR is the only predominantly female function in the contemporary organization. It is the beach-head of accomplishment in the generational move of women from home to the executive suite. While the oft-repeated stereotype is that men are HR’s decision makers, the truth is that women occupy two-thirds of the HR executive seats.

It’s useful to imagine that the people who populate the HR Department are heroes. The function provides work, upward mobility and access to the heart of organizational culture for a class of people with little organizational history.

Being a fundamentally female function, HR behaves differently than other parts of the organization. It’s more networky and can be nurturing. It’s natural that development is housed here.

The essence of HR might be its ability to make clear judgments about really intangible things like personality, potential and match-making. These are stereotypical female things.[5]

Some feminists suggest high-performing women have been slotted in HR roles as a means of shunting them off the CEO track.[6] It has become a self-fulfilling prophecy—as women came to dominate HR departments, HR has come to be viewed as a pink-collar ghetto, a feminized and lower-status department from which few would graduate into the highest levels of management. As managers from the rest of the company rise, they see HR as a nuisance that does more to impair their work than assist, and so when they become CEOs and members of the board, they continue to see HR as a necessary evil and not a source of competent and effective executives.

The reasons for the disparity and the gender imbalances [in HR] remain open for debate, as does the impact created by the imbalances. For some, it is a taboo subject that stretches the limits of political correctness and therefore is only marginally discussed. For others, the imbalance is profoundly important and demands further discussion and research…. Willock (2007) states that “75% entry of women into HR is too high, and you get the sense that something is wrong here.” Other comments from HR executives interviewed for Willock’s article ranged between moderate concerns with the high percentages, to an alarming concern that this should be a burning issue that needs to be addressed… there are varying opinions as to whether or not the high numbers even matter. Some believe that the imbalance may hurt the profession in ways that cannot be clearly validated, and might be speculative at best. Are women, for example, hiring their own into the profession because of a certain comfort level within the majority? Or is it simply because men see the profession as a matriarchal stronghold designed to nurture and administrate, while offering little in the way of power and advancement?[7]

HR departments have in many companies been “captured” by the political forces outside the company that regulate labor, punish violations with fines and public shaming, and pressure companies into paying off diversity activists looking for support for their causes and sinecures for their political allies. The increasing complexity of regulations and government enforcement have, as in academia and hospitals, increased the number of deadweight HR employees needed to handle administration. Like the commissars and parallel political officers of the old USSR, HR functionaries are unconsciously acting not only for managements wanting managers to avoid legal and ethical trouble, but for governments reaching into the organization to achieve political goals and promote government control of private businesses. Smart managements will neutralize these tendencies by paying close attention to attitudes and activities of HR managers and staff. While companies need to avoid trouble with governments, they need the best employees and competitive products and services to survive and thrive.

[edit: Welcome, Instapundit readers! And thanks to Janet Bloomfield for blogging about my book here. She adds some useful comments from her perspective.]

—

Death by HR

Death by HR

This is an excerpt from the upcoming book Death by HR: The Great Slackening, to be published in October, 2016.

[1] “It’s Time to Split HR,” by Ram Charan. Harvard Business Review, July-August 2014.
https://hbr.org/2014/07/its-time-to-split-hr
[2] “Household Data Annual Averages,” 2015. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “HOUSEHOLD DATA ANNUAL AVERAGES. Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity [Numbers in thousands]” http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf
[3] “The New ‘Women’s Work’: On Being A Male Human Resources Professional,” by James A. Landrith. The Good Men Project, October 30, 2012. https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-new-womens-work-on-being-a-male-human-resources-professional/
[4] “Men in HR: A National Geographic Exclusive,” by Ben, UpstartHR, September 23, 2010. http://upstarthr.com/men-in-hr-a-national-geographic-exclusive/
[5] “HR is Female,” by John Sumser. HR Examiner, March 30, 2011. http://www.hrexaminer.com/hr-is-female/
[6] “60% of compliance officers are women—and that may be a bad thing,” by Shanto Atkins, Quartz, March 28, 2014. http://qz.com/191569/60-of-compliance-officers-are-women-and-thats-a-bad-thing/
[7] “Human Resources: The Complexity of the Gender Imbalance,” by Benjamin Banks of St. John Fisher College, May 2010. http://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=business_etd_masters

More reading on other topics:

Death by HR: The Great Enrichment to the Great Slackening
Death by HR: Good-Enough Cogs vs Best Employees
Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy
The Justice is Too Damn High! – Gawker, the High Cost of Litigation, and the Weapon Shops of Isher
Regulation Strangling Innovation: Planes, Trains, and Hyperloop
Captain America and Progressive Infantilization
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

Flossing: Absence of Proof is Not Proof of Absence

Flossing: Never Like the Photo

Flossing: Never Like the Photo

Dentists and media have been telling us for generations that brushing and daily flossing are absolutely critical for preservation of teeth and gums into old age. A flurry of publicity in the last few days has people wondering if this is another instance of authorities blindly asserting healthy living ideals that are not only wrong, but might actually be harmful, as the USDA’s Food Pyramid and advice to eat low-fat, high-carb diets were.

Let the New York Times story, which was typical, explain:

For decades, the federal government — not to mention your dentist — has insisted that daily flossing is necessary to prevent cavities and gums so diseased that your teeth fall out. Turns out, all that flossing may be overrated.

The latest dietary guidelines for Americans, issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, quietly dropped any mention of flossing without notice. This week, The Associated Press reported that officials had never researched the effectiveness of regular flossing, as required, before cajoling Americans to do it.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the American Academy of Periodontology acknowledged that most of the current evidence fell short because researchers had not been able to include enough participants or “examine gum health over a significant amount of time.”

The revelation has caused a stir among guilt-ridden citizens who strive to floss daily but fall short of that lofty goal. Among experts, however, it has been something of an open secret that flossing has not been shown to prevent cavities or severe periodontal disease.

A review of 12 randomized controlled trials published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2011 found only “very unreliable” evidence that flossing might reduce plaque after one and three months. Researchers could not find any studies on the effectiveness of flossing combined with brushing for cavity prevention.

“It is very surprising that you have two habits, flossing and toothbrushing without fluoride, which are widely believed to prevent cavities and tooth loss, and yet we don’t have the randomized clinical trials to show they are effective,” said Dr. Philippe Hujoel, a professor of oral health sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

But this is not unusual. Double-blind scientific studies are very expensive, and impractical for long-term effects on large populations. Because flossing is a procedure done by the study subjects themselves, there is no way of telling whether self-reported flossing is done correctly or at all, and lying about having faithfully flossed to your dentist is one of the most common white lies. “I always floss daily” is right up there with “I never think lustful thoughts about [sexually-attractive person who is not my spouse]!” in the book of self-serving fibs.

“Absence of Proof is Not Proof of Absence” — the lack of evidence of an assertion (“flossing helps prevent gum disease and preserves teeth”) is not evidence that the assertion is false. That would be the fallacy of Argument from Ignorance, often seen in the argument that there is no God because there is no evidence that He/She/It exists. If we have no evidence, we can’t determine anything about truth or falsehood. So all of these clickbait stories hinting everyone has been wasting their time flossing and authorities are full of it are simply wrong.

No studies are really needed because long experience of millions of dentists shows that regular brushing and flossing do tend to prevent gum disease and loss of teeth. While the evidence is not proof as the FDA might require it if it were a newly-proposed drug, my own personal results from periods of less and more dental hygiene efforts demonstrated that flossing helps. My gums improved and I had far fewer problems once I found two excellent time-saving devices for brushing and flossing.

First, electric toothbrushes with high-speed oscillating brush heads make brushing your teeth thoroughly yet gently easy and quick. These are marketed as ultrasonic, though that’s exaggerating bit. Here’s the one I use:


Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Toothbrush

Flossing is notoriously tedious, with some types of floss shredding between teeth, cutting into fingers trying to hold it, and being almost impossible to get between back molars without stretching your mouth uncomfortably. There are several flossing helpers that ease this by holding a short segment of floss at the end of a long handle you can reach back with, but this is still time-consuming.

I found a great appliance which uses puffs of water or mouthwash instead of floss, and easily reaches back to flush the spaces between back molars:


Philips Sonicare Airfloss Ultra

This does a decent job of flushing out food particles, but is far more practical than the dental irrigators (Waterpiks) which spray far more water and take much more time to use. With the Airfloss, you place the head at the lower end of the junction between two teeth, push the button, and *puff* a tiny amount of high-speed liquid flushes out the crack. The consensus is that while this is not as good as thorough flossing, it is much better than the haphazard and occasional flossing most people do, and by making it easy to add to your routine, far more likely to become a regular habit. My dentist started complimenting me on my gum health shortly after I started using it regularly, and it continues to be excellent. One note: because of the high-tech nature of the machine, it doesn’t last as long as one might like — I went through a warranty replacement, but the company was good about sending me a new one when it stopped working. If you have to buy one every two years, it’s still a great deal better than gum surgery. You also need to practice to avoid spraying your surroundings, but it’s still far less messy than Waterpiks.

More reading on health and diet:

Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Who Killed Prince? Restrictions on Buprenorphine
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy
Study: Gut Bacteria on Artificial Sweeteners
Soy Protein Blunts Testosterone Response
Junk Science: Vitamin Mania
Progressive Neighborhoods: Low Vaccination Rates Create Epidemics
Smarter Babies when Mothers Eat More Salmon
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Green Coffee Extract for Weight Loss: “Dr. Oz” Hypesters Fined
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Daily Aspirin Regimen Reduces Cancer Rates
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Low-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pancreatic Cancer

Death by HR: The Great Enrichment to the Great Slackening

We’re going to talk about the Great Slackening and Human Resources (HR’s) role in damaging team effectiveness, and thus hamstringing business productivity and growth. But first we need to see the even bigger picture: the Great Slackening comes after a long period of powerful growth and change which started in Europe but swept most of the world, transforming stagnant, poverty-and-disease-ridden societies into a thriving, world-spanning technical civilization — the Great Enrichment. We refer to the culture that laid the foundation for this miracle as Western Civilization — though it’s not especially Western now as many elements have been adopted in the East.

The Great Enrichment - from Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing

As wealth has grown, those protected from life’s harsher lessons by being born to great wealth and privilege have turned to sabotaging the very freedom and free markets that created that wealth — but that is nothing new in the world, where it has long been folk wisdom (“clogs to clogs in three generations”[1]) that the first generation of family wealth is generated by driven and productive founders, the next by not-so-driven conventional maintainers, and by the third generation, wealth is dissipated and pampered decadents run the family business into the ground if they are still in charge. Something similar happens to entire cultures unless leadership transfers to newer and hungrier elements as older generations grow wealthy and forget hunger, and the Great Slackening can be viewed as the consequence of the clinging to power of a wealthy elite who unconsciously act to keep down threats to their status from the new fortunes that might arise if free enterprise is allowed to grow unchecked.

Human status is relative, and those unwilling to work hard to keep their already-high status tend to rely on keeping down threats from nouveau riche others, which requires nothing more than political contributions and unthinking support of the status quo administrative state, which will happily regulate away threats of competition. This is certainly bad for hard-working, newly-middle-class strivers, but it’s also bad for society as a whole, stifling those who might have created the new technologies and businesses of a brighter future.

Economist Deirdre McCloskey has written some great books summarizing the culture that produced the Great Enrichment. Her latest, Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World,[2] recaps the cultural features that allowed billions of people to escape poverty in the last few centuries. Her paper “The Great Enrichment: A Humanistic and Social Scientific Account,” summarizes:[3]

From 1800 to the present the average person on the planet has been enriched in real terms by a factor of ten, or some 900 percent. In the ever-rising share of places from Belgium to Botswana, and now in China and India, that have agreed to the Bourgeois Deal — “Let me earn profits from creative destruction in the first act, and by the third act I will make all of you rich” — the factor is thirty in conventional terms and, if allowing for improved quality of goods and services, such as in improved glass and autos, or improved medicine and higher education, a factor of one hundred. That is, the reward from allowing ordinary people to have a go, the rise at first in northwestern Europe and then worldwide of economic liberty and social dignity, eroding ancient hierarchy and evading modern regulation, has been anything from 2,900 to 9,900 percent. Previous “efflorescences,” as the historical sociologist Jack Goldstone calls them, such as the glory of Greece or the boom of Song China, and indeed the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century in Britain, resulted perhaps in doublings of real income per person—100 percent, as against fully 2,900 percent since 1800.

What needs to be explained in a modern social science history, that is, is not the Industrial Revolution(s) but the Great Enrichment, one or two orders of magnitude larger than any previous change in human history. If we are going to be seriously quantitative and scientific and social we need to stop obsessing about, say, whether Europe experienced a doubling or a tripling of real income before 1800, or this or that expansion of trade in iron or coal, and take seriously the lesson of comparative history that Europe was not unique until 1700 or so. We need to explain the largest social and economic change since the invention of agriculture, which is not the Industrial Revolution, not to mention lesser efflorescences, but the Great Enrichment.

In explaining it, I have argued, it will not do to focus on capital accumulation or hierarchical exploitation, on trade expansion or class struggle. This is for two sorts of reasons, one historical and the other economic…. Historically speaking, neither accumulation nor exploitation nor trade or struggle is unique to the early modern world. Medieval peasants in Europe saved more, in view of their miserable yield-seed ratios, than did any eighteenth-century bourgeois. Slave societies such as those of the classical Mediterranean could in peaceful times see a doubling of real income per person, but no explosion of ingenuity such as overcame northwestern Europe after 1800. The largest trade until very late was across the Indian Ocean, not the Atlantic, with no signs of a Great Enrichment among its participants. Unionism and worker-friendly regulation came after the Great Enrichment, not before. Thus world history.

Economically speaking, capital accumulation runs out of steam (literally) in a few decades. As John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1936, the savings rate in the absence of innovation will deprive “capital of its scarcity-value within one or two generations.” Taking by exploitation from slaves or workers results merely in more such fruitless capital accumulation, if it does, and is anyway is unable to explain a great enrichment for even the exploited in the magnitude observed, absent an unexplained and massive innovation. The gains from trade are good to have, but Harberger triangles show that they are small when put on the scale of a 9,900 percent enrichment. Government regulation works by reducing the gains from trade-tested betterment, and unions work mainly by shifting income from one part of the working class to another, as from sick people and apartment renters to doctors and plumber. Thus modern economics.

What then? A novel liberty and dignity for ordinary people, among them the innovating bourgeoisie, gave masses of such people, such as the chandler’s apprentice Benjamin Franklin, or the boy telegrapher Thomas Edison, an opportunity to innovate. It was not capital or institutions, which were secondary and dependent. It was the idea of human equality. Egalitarian economic and social ideas, not in the first instance steam engines and universities, made the modern world. One history of Western politics,” writes the political philosopher Mika LaVaque-Manty, citing Charles Taylor and Peter Berger (he could have cited most European writers on the matter from Locke and Voltaire and Wollstonecraft through Tocqueville and Arendt and Rawls), “has it that under modernity, equal dignity has replaced positional honor as the ground on which individuals’ political status rests.”

Out of common-law Northern European traditions, then, came the rule of law and equal treatment of all, at first just landholding men, but then every citizen of all stations, sexes, and races. Hard-won freedoms and respect for the individual gave each person enough security in their person and property to motivate them to work harder, since they could retain the fruits of their labors and hope to advance themselves and their heirs with less fear of theft by the powerful. This is related to the decline of the “Culture of Honor” (which relied on aggression and violence to maintain individual property and status) and its replacement by the “Culture of Dignity,” which replaced violence and theft with the rule of law and property rights.[4] No longer could a higher-status warrior simply kill and confiscate the property of a lesser-status person who had blocked his path or insulted his status; disputes were resolved peacefully by compromise, or taken to court to be judged by law.

Now there have been many earlier civilizations which had the rule of law and at least some theoretical rights for citizens — those who weren’t slaves, at least. But until the 17th century, no Great Enrichment occurred because kings, nobles, clergy, or warriors could rewrite contracts and restrain trade as needed to keep others from rising to threaten their power. As McCloskey says:

Liberty and dignity for all commoners, to be sure, was a double-sided political and social ideal, and did not work without flaw. History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors. The liberty of the bourgeoisie to venture was matched by the liberty of the workers, when they got the vote, to adopt growth-killing regulations, with a socialist clerisy cheering them on. And the dignity of workers was overmatched by an arrogance among successful entrepreneurs and wealthy rentiers, with a fascist clerisy cheering them on. Such are the usual tensions of liberal democracy. And such are the often mischievous dogmas of the clerisy.

But for the first time, thank God—and thank the Levellers and then Locke in the seventeenth century, and Voltaire and Smith and Franklin and Paine and Wollstonecraft among other of the advanced thinkers in the eighteenth century—the ordinary people, the commoners, both workers and bosses, began to be released from the ancient notion of hierarchy, the naturalization of the noble gentleman’s rule over hoi polloi. Aristotle had said that most people were born to be slaves. “From the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.” Bishop (and Saint) Isidore of Seville said in the early seventh century that “to those unsuitable for liberty, [God] has mercifully accorded servitude.” So it had been from the first times of settled agriculture and the ownership of land. Inherited wealth was long thought blameless compared with earned wealth, about which suspicion hung. Consider South Asia with its ancient castes, the hardest workers at the bottom. And further east consider the Confucian tradition (if not in every detail the ideas of Kung the Teacher himself), which stressed the Five Relationships of ruler to subject, father to son, husband to wife, elder brother to younger, and—the only one of the five without hierarchy—friend to friend. The analogy of the king as father of the nation, and therefore “naturally” superior, ruled political thought in the West (and the East and North and South) right through Hobbes. King Charles I of England, of whom Hobbes approved, was articulating nothing but a universal and ancient notion when he declared in his speech from the scaffold in 1649 that “a King and a Subject are plain different things.”

The ability to freely question old ways, and to improve a trade or production process by innovation then drive out the old ways of doing things — and the old fortunes — by outcompeting them, trading the new products to distant lands, is what started the Great Enrichment off with the bang of the Industrial Revolution. Printing, steam power, mass production, standardized parts, and engineering science made it possible to innovate, spread the new ideas broadly and preserve them in libraries around the world, and invest the profits from innovation into even more innovation. The explosive growth of productivity allowed billions of people to escape hardscrabble rural subsistence farming for urban living and increased the number of people wealthy enough to think about science, art, and design instead of short-term survival.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century[5] (2013) was a best-seller promoting a fashionable theory that the rate of return on capital had been greater than economic growth in recent years, which automatically increased concentration of wealth and therefore inequality. Seized on by redistributionists to justify new taxes on wealth and new subsidies for the poor, it seemed to mechanistically explain increasing inequality as the result of automatic processes which could be counteracted by redistribution without harming the engine of growth.

Piketty’s explanations were disputed, and MIT economist Matthew Rognlie demonstrated that most of the excess capital accumulation — the enrichment of the wealthy — that Piketty had discussed came from outsized real estate price increases around the world, due primarily to elite control over land development that artificially increased the scarcity and price of prime real estate, notably housing.[6] A more recent paper from the IMF demolished Piketty’s claim that inequality increased in step with excess capital accumulation. Piketty’s theories were no longer as useful to promote larger government, since government control of real estate development and regulation of other economic sectors like energy and healthcare began to look like the sources of the increasing inequality. The heretical notion that it was control by the elites of the commanding heights of government that was actually raising prices and squeezing out the middle class began to spread….

Is the Great Enrichment over? Certainly it continues to expand into newly-opened territories like China and India, where the old Communist Party and Indian bureaucracies are giving ground to freer enterprise and mass movement of rural folk into the cities is transforming life. But in the developed countries which once led the world in innovation, countervailing forces of regulation and central planning are slowing and stopping growth.

This is now being called the Great Stagnation, or as I’m calling it in its corporate form, the Great Slackening. The rise of the administrative superstate in the US and the EU has given the already-powerful a tool to suppress threats from below, and under the guise of protecting the people, it’s making the people poorer and more dependent while limiting their freedoms.



[1] Clogs to Clogs in Three Generations https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/clogs_to_clogs_in_three_generations
[2] Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, by Deirdre McCloskey, Univ. of Chicago Press, 2016.
[3] “The Great Enrichment: A Humanistic and Social Scientific Account,” by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, 2016. http://deirdremccloskey.org/docs/pdf/McCloskey_ASSA2016.pdf
[4] See “Men of Honor vs Victim Culture,” by Jeb Kinnison. https://substratewars.com/2015/09/09/men-of-honor-vs-victim-culture/
[5] Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, 2013. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_in_the_Twenty-First_Century
[6] “Deciphering the fall and rise in the net capital share,” by Matthew Rognlie. March 19, 2015 Brookings Papers on Economic Activities. https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/deciphering-the-fall-and-rise-in-the-net-capital-share/

More reading on other topics:

Death by HR: Good-Enough Cogs vs Best Employees
Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

Starting Over: The Multi-Career Notes

Kayaking on Howe Sound

Kayaking on Howe Sound

Most of my posts are about researching issues, even the “relationship science” posts — I’m trying to be objective and not insert too much of my own experiences and feelings. This one will be subjective — what it’s like to be me, and to have been me in all those different careers.

When I arrived at Libertycon in Chattanooga as a freshly-minted author (three books? Is that enough to qualify?) at the age of 59+, I felt a little dissociated — no one knew me, and the few people I “knew” from online were busy with old friends they knew well. Children moving to a new school know how this feels — people may be friendly but their attention is on known others that are already part of their social systems. If you don’t have a lot of self-confidence, you will feel that sense of being judged and rejected or ignored by people.

I’m a confident old person so this feeling doesn’t bug me too much, and it soon passed. I made a few friends and connected enough to feel part of things fairly quickly. This ability to context-switch socially is especially valuable when you change careers frequently. People who tend toward narcissism will react with the “Don’t you know who I am?” response, which doesn’t endear them to anyone. Others will react by withdrawing, sufficiently dispirited to stop even trying to interact.

I have friends who knew when they were 15 exactly what they wanted to do, then did it — every step was planned, and they spent their lives climbing steadily in their chosen profession. The concentration on one field brought them job and material security quickly, and a lifetime of their achievements advanced their chosen field noticeably — they would have been missed. I’m thinking in particular of my MIT next door neighbor, who started out wanting to become — and became — a world-renowned expert in electronic and computer design. After a brief stint in industry, he ended up on the Stanford faculty and headed up the EE&CS department, was instrumental in the first MIPS processor designs, and founded a company that made him wealthy. When I would visit, he would sigh and tell me he envied my ability to try new things and take up living new lives — the things he could not do. He saw glamor in change, where others would envy his accomplishments — while not being willing to work so hard and so long in one field.

Meanwhile, I had left my first steady jobs in systems programming and dropped out of a Ph.D. program to escape Boston for British Columbia, where I did land development and outdoor activities. I dabbled in object-oriented language design, simulation and game programming, and early web development — starting work on a matchmaking website before any of the others, for example. Failing to stick with any one thing, of course, meant none of them succeeded. Undisciplined and more interested in learning I could do something than actually succeeding at any one thing, I dabbled my way through life. The one thing I was forced to stick with was the subdivision scheme I had tied up much of my savings in — I had to make myself stick with it for five years until it was settled and I could cash out. That was how I learned that the enemies of progress would tie you down with regulations and politics unless you had paid them off and supported their power — other developers had the officeholders in their pockets and could magically get action where I got the big stall. This kind of corruption has existed in urban real estate development since the advent of zoning and building regulations, which addressed some abuses of the formerly free market but ended up throttling production of new housing in the most desirable locales.

Never let the bastards win. What those who have never left their academic or career track never learn is that they may have been free to achieve in their narrow lane, but others not so lucky work in fields that have been hamstrung by regulation so that they couldn’t succeed without paying off politicians — the zoning board, the health inspectors, the city council, the FDA, the FCC, the FAA…. the PC industry thrived unregulated because it appeared to be small and unthreatening. As it has grown to be the central element of communication, politicians have taken note of its ability to reach voters and have started to threaten its freedom — so now the big companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are spending big on lobbying and cooperating with government efforts to regulate speech and prop up the oligopoly of cable networks and content distributors.

I had been an undisciplined student for my first 30 years, a mostly failed businessman and dabbler the next ten, then landed in Silicon Valley to manage a friend’s money — the Stanford professor I mentioned before. I routed around the Establishment by studying on my own for the Series 7 exam that would allow me to charge for investment advice and started my own company to manage other people’s money. The SEC’s 1930s laws made speaking openly as an investment advisor dangerous — all communications are supposed to be vetted and hedged with warnings, and in practice it is better not to communicate at all since the law is vague enough to be abused to punish advisors for saying anything the authorities find threatening. In fact, publication of investment newsletters had to be freed of SEC regulation by a court case — but those who were licensed to manage other people’s money were still at risk of being punished for freely communicating opinions. As for many New Deal-era regulatory schemes, Constitutional rights were trampled on to give regulatory agencies more power, in service of “the greater good” (for politicians.) Which is why farmers were not allowed to grow their own feedstock, broadcasters could be punished for showing a flash of nipple, and the Federal Election Commission could try to prevent the advertising of a film that criticized a public figure who happened to be a candidate for office.

So I restrained my public comments and tended to my private affairs. When I retired and gave up my registration as an investment advisor, I was free to speak and I started blogging more. Starting over again at square one, armed with knowledge and more self-confidence and enough money to retire on safely — but still minus allies and much social support, since my friends are mostly employees of tech companies who have never once run their own business or dealt with bureaucracies without a government or corporate umbrella protecting them. It rarely occurs to them to question the conventional wisdom or wonder how those highly-regulated industries (real estate, medicine, mass communications, finance) create so much concentrated wealth for the few who have favored positions in them, or how tribute from those industries is fed back to the politicians who maintain barriers to outsiders who might otherwise compete. And so progress slows, and our politics gets dumber and dumber. More mindless promises of “100,000 new cops” (Clinton) or “No child left behind” (Bush) or “Millions of new green jobs” (Obama, Hillary Clinton) — whatever simplistic and unachievable fairy tale you want, I can give you!

I can tell you that starting over — and over and over — makes you resilient. I’m pretty tired now at 60 and don’t have the kind of energy to throw myself against a wall that I used to, but then again I’ve got guile (to use P. J. O’Rourke’s title phrase, “Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut.”) — which means choosing your battles wisely and not taking up every challenge. So I’ve retired to writing, where I’m doing okay at self-publishing — my relationship books have helped people around the world, sell steadily, and provide an income sufficient for trailer-park-level living if I actually needed it, while the fiction is well-reviewed if disappointingly low in volume.

So is it time to change again? Maybe.

More reading on other topics:

Death by HR: Good-Enough Cogs vs Best Employees
Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy
Regulation Strangling Innovation: Planes, Trains, and Hyperloop
Captain America and Progressive Infantilization
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy