underrepresented women in tech

“Fear is the Mindkiller” at Tangent Online

Dune cover art by Henrik Sahlstrom

Dune cover art by Henrik Sahlstrom

Tangent Online has published my essay on culture wars in science fiction here. A key paragraph:

A significant chunk of the population is still guided by the sentiment that women are weak and need more protection. These people are the Baptists in a bootleggers-and-Baptists coalition that unites to give statists more and more power to meddle and regulate, with the bootleggers being political parties that use these sentiments to justify their social engineering. Every new law and regulation is an opportunity for graft and extracting campaign contributions from businesses who want to be left alone or mold the law and regulations to hurt their competitors more, and every new edict (beyond dealing with obvious externalities like pollution) decreases the total wealth and growth rate of the economy. Politicians whip up fear — fear of terrorists, illegal immigrants, “the 1%,” sexist men, authoritarian Christianists, whatever works — to gain power, and then shy away from any actual solutions so they can repeat these emotional hooks for the next election. “Fear is the Mindkiller” — make someone afraid, and you weaken their reasoning power.

Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech

Google Sign

Google Sign

GigaOm has a good overview of the recent diversity data released by major tech companies after a push by Jesse Jackson. The data shows women, and blacks underrepresented compared to total US population ratios, but no comparison to Silicon Valley-specific numbers. Asians are massively overrepresented, but this reflects the large number of Indian and Chinese engineers who have migrated to the Bay Area. There is no data on age, which would likely show a deficiency of older workers.

This is a fine example of the conflict between meritocratic equality of opportunity and equality of outcome proponents. The lack of representation of women and blacks in computer science and engineering courses, majors, and graduates means it is impossible for all or even one company to recruit enough qualified women or minority workers to show proportional representation. Great pressure to do so would mean compromising quality and hiring less capable employees, and less capable programmers are actually worse than useless to a team — they hold back progress on a task. A super-programmer is capable of producing 100x as much valuable output as a mediocre programmer, and a bad programmer produces output that actually decreases the viability of the product.

The apparent belief of our bureaucratic masters is that there is a binary function: qualified or unqualified. A company which hires the objectively best candidate for a job is not protected from claims of discrimination; the bar must be set low enough so that there is a pool of “qualified” candidates, and the hiring should prefer the candidates from underrepresented classes until the workforce is representative. This views employees as replaceable cogs that each have the same value to the work product, very much an old industrial union idea — where those who did more were pressured to stop overachieving so as to make slackers look average.

This is, of course, a recipe for failure in a competitive, international marketplace. We all await their efforts to equalize men in nursing and teaching, as well as all the other fields where there are notable group differences in interest and ability.

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.