Month: August 2015

Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder

Climbing the Ladder

Climbing the Ladder

My standard parable on minimum wage increases: a young person looks at the wall of adulthood in front of him/her. On the other side are organized gardens and abundance, self-esteem and recognition. A ladder stands in front of the wall. The young person is about to start the climb, when an officious person comes along, cuts the first few rungs off the ladder, and says, “There! Now you will get paid more even though you have no experience and no one knows what kind of worker you’ll be.”

The minimum wage started as a tool to keep down competition, to keep poor people from undercutting pay rates. Of a piece with the same era’s unions and guilds that prevented black people from working in many occupations.

The ultimate fix for all the rent-seeking efforts is an amendment adding freedom of contract to the Bill of Rights, which is unlikely to happen soon. The public favor for such micromanagement comes from cartoon views of villainous employers (and landlords and businesses, etc) as the only game in town. Virtually no one lives in one-employer, one-landlord towns — choice is everywhere. Finding new work for the large number of people displaced by automation and competition goes a lot more smoothly in a free and flexible labor market. Maybe the economy has to collapse under the weight of regulation before the cartoon view is overthrown?

This post was motivated by this post at Sarah Hoyt’s site, which is a good read.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”

SexistTomorrow

The Sexist World of Tomorrow

Progressives are asserting a need to control Futurism to bring correct feminist and progressive thought into it.

My opinion: a study recently showed women go into scientific fields in roughly the proportion you’d expect, if you first take out everyone who didn’t study much qualifying mathematics. I expect there is a natural aggregate difference in how interested each sex is in planning for the future, preparing for hazards, etc., with men vigilant while women tend to be more focused on immediate needs and alleviating suffering — the Mommy vs Daddy differences. And so you would expect futurists to skew male simply because they are interested (sometimes obsessed) by the topic.

None of this means there aren’t women who are interested and good at futurism (e.g., Virginia Postrel.) But an effort to force more women into futurism means less good futurism and more feelz as guides to policy and planning. Which means a less dynamic future for everyone.

Rose Eveleth (of “Shirtstorm” fame) has an article in the Atlantic: “Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”

There are all sorts of firms and companies working to build robotic servants. Chrome butlers, chefs, and housekeepers. But the fantasy of having an indentured servant is a peculiar one to some. “That whole idea of creating robots that are in service to us has always bothered me,” says Nnedi Okorafor, a science fiction author. “I’ve always sided with the robots. That whole idea of creating these creatures that are human-like and then have them be in servitude to us, that is not my fantasy and I find it highly problematic that it would be anyone’s.”

Or take longevity, for example. The idea that people could, or even should, push to lengthen lifespans as far as possible is popular. The life-extension movement, with Aubrey de Gray as one (very bearded) spokesman, has raised millions of dollars to investigate how to extend the lifespan of humans. But this is arguably only an ideal future if you’re in as a comfortable position as his. “Living forever only works if you’re a rich vampire from an Anne Rice novel, which is to say that you have compound interest,” jokes Ashby. “It really only works if you have significant real-estate investments and fast money and slow money.” (Time travel, as the comedian Louis C.K. has pointed out, is another thing that is a distinctly white male preoccupation—going back in time, for marginalized groups, means giving up more of their rights.)

So, let’s see — she thinks we need to keep human beings indentured to jobs taking care of the helpless old, for example, rather than have robotic assistants. Of course in her mind it’s the obligation of some government to pay all those human assistants, as much as necessary to eliminate all suffering and pain. Robotic assistants are simply Not Needed in the social welfare world of the future, where we can all help each other 24×7 and someone else provides all our needs.

It’s also, apparently, desirable that we all die sooner than necessary. We should return to the golden past, where life was short and disease and hunger stalked almost everyone. 25 is old enough!

Of course it’s harder to predict what social attitudes will be in the future — and many futurists fail to imagine what’s to come on that area, while more easily projecting trends in technology. But that doesn’t mean an infusion of women will make such predictions any better.

Science fiction has become more pessimistic about the future, and people like this are a big reason:

In order to understand what those who have never really felt welcome in the field of futurism think, I called someone who writes and talks about the future, but who doesn’t call themselves a futurist: Monica Byrne. Byrne is a science-fiction author and opinion writer who often tackles questions of how we see the future, and what kinds of futures we deem preferable. But when she thinks about “futurism” as a field, she doesn’t see herself. “I think the term futurist is itself is something I see white men claiming for themselves, and isn’t something that would occur to me to call myself even though I functionally am one,” she says.

Okorafor says that she too has never really called herself a futurist, even though much of what she does is use her writing to explore what’s possible. “When you sent me your email and you mentioned futurism I think that’s really the first time I started thinking about that label for myself. And it fits. It feels comfortable.”

When Byrne thinks about the term futurists, she thinks about a power struggle. “What I see is a bid for control over what the future will look like. And it is a future that is, that to me doesn’t look much different from Asimov science fiction covers. Which is not a future I’m interested in.”

The futurism that involves glass houses and 400-year-old men doesn’t interest her. “When I think about the kind of future I want to build, it’s very soft and human, it’s very erotic, and I feel like so much of what I identify as futurism is very glossy, chrome painted science fiction covers, they’re sterile.” She laughs. “Who cares about your jetpack? How does technology enable us to keep loving each other?”

And how does not having technology help us love each other? Fights to the death for food and resources are what love is all about! Kill off a few billion people, return to warm and loving matriarchal villages, and enjoy true humanity… there’s no reason we can’t have both higher tech, longer lifespans, and love, Ma’am. It’s only the current ease of life due to technology and specialization that allows you to believe such ridiculous things.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


For more on SJWs, modern feminism, Red Pill men, and family law:

Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained
Emma Watson’s Message: Intelligence Trumps Sex

Campus Comedy Falls Victim to Identity Politics

Comedian Louis CK

Comedian Louis CK

Comedy often makes valuable points about issues by exaggeration and bounds-breaking. The new Puritanism has arrived in full force on college campuses, where the range of allowable discussion has narrowed. This piece in the Atlantic by Caitlin Flanagan covers a convention where acts compete for college bookings, and gets both the problem (real laughs are becoming scarce as more and more topics are off-limits) and the reason behind it (students are gratifyingly interested in avoiding pain to the weak and minorities) right.

As I listened to the kids hash out whom to invite, it became clear that to get work, a comic had to be at once funny—genuinely funny—and also deeply respectful of a particular set of beliefs. These beliefs included, but were in no way limited to, the following: women, as a group, should never be made to feel uncomfortable; people whose sexual orientation falls beyond the spectrum of heterosexuality must be reassured of their special value; racial injustice is best addressed in tones of bitter anguish or inspirational calls to action; Muslims are friendly helpers whom we should cherish; and belonging to any potentially “marginalized” community involves a crippling hypersensitivity that must always be respected.

The students’ determination to avoid booking any acts that might conceivably hurt the feelings of a classmate was in its way quite admirable. They seemed wholly animated by kindness and by an open-mindedness to the many varieties of the human experience. But the flip side of this sensitivity is the savagery with which reputations and even academic careers can be destroyed by a single comment—perhaps thoughtless, perhaps misinterpreted, perhaps (God help you) intended as a joke—that violates the values of the herd.

When you talk with college students outside of formal settings, many reveal nuanced opinions on the issues that NACA was so anxious to police. But almost all of them have internalized the code that you don’t laugh at politically incorrect statements; you complain about them. In part, this is because they are the inheritors of three decades of identity politics, which have come to be a central driver of attitudes on college campuses. But there’s more to it than that. These kids aren’t dummies; they look around their colleges and see that there are huge incentives to join the ideological bandwagon and harsh penalties for questioning the platform’s core ideas.