This is a training problem; we have a surplus of workers (and potential workers) with mismatched skills. He should consider retraining willing reentrants before further attempting to crowd a dwindling workforce with outsiders.
There's a lot of computing grunt work that I would love to pawn off on a junior, but our hiring funnel is so messed up...
I'm in a graduate program now and I've become extremely cynical about "college" and "university". The mandatory degree("credentialing") is starting, in my opinion, to look more like institutional fraud than any honest attempt at teaching people anything.
Whoever figures that out, the credentialing part, could go a long way toward fixing that problem. Is anyone working on this?
Take a look at india and china, they have this exact same problem, and it's a result of immense demand for STEM engineers, no matter what.
Marketing employees will have gone through a STEM education on a regular basis.
The way it unfolds is this -
1) If you aren't a degree holder, you aren't employable, there's millions of degree holders fighting for a job
2) you are a degree holder? Well there's 1000s fighting for your position, are you a hard degree or soft degree?
3) HArd STEM? What's your pedigree?
In short - allowing the system to take root (degree as pre requisite for jobs), sets of a vicious cycle.
This cycle only begins when you have a large group of unemployable humans.
To compete and be employed they increasingly turn to signaling. Eventually the old signal (actually interested In learning) gets overwhelmed with people who just want a job.
it's a jobs problem not an education problem.
The thing is, there is a HUGE difference between what I described and actually understanding what one is doing, in the deepest meaning of that word. That's what you go to college for: to pass on that deep knowledge. You don't go to college to "get a job".
So the problem really is with employers: why do they insist on a college degree when they could ask for a technical school diploma, or whatever. There's nothing wrong with college per se, IMO, as I think you'll agree.
In the workplace I definitely experience the difference between one who received a formal education, in the sense of raw theory, and one who studied how to "do" things. Both are useful, but they serve different purposes.
Sure, they can solve ACM-style challenges and spit out Dijkstra on a whim, but I can't recall the last time I needed to deliver on a business objective that mapped to either of those things.
This is not to say that understanding computer science is bad! Having a deep understanding of the underlaying theory and technology is a requirement to attain mastery.
But being able to ship maintainable, well-factored, and properly-tested code in a collaborative environment is far more important to me than having memorized every algorithm in TAOCP.
I mean, if I can have both skillsets, I'll totally take both skillsets, but given the choice between the two, I know that a wizard-level software engineer with very weak algorithms skills will, in general, bring a lot more value to a project than a wizard-level computer scientist that can't write code that the rest of the team can maintain.
About the only time that a computer science wizard is useful to me, is if I already have a team of solid software engineers, so that they can mentor each other and lift the overall skill level of the team.
What universities really need to start doing is including a multi-year track built into their curricula whereby students build and maintain production software over the course of their studies, with quarterly rotation between teams.
The problem is the dog eat dog narrow mindedness of seeing everything as a competition and not learning anything about collaboration and serving others. Something a lot of CS grads would benefit massively from, I know I would have.
I actually think Universities do a disservice to their students if they promise them a curriculum that "leads to a job". You should go to University if you want to continue your formal education, not "to get a job". If you just want to get a piece of paper that lets you get a job, mentor with someone, go to a technical college, learn to "do" something. But Universities should teach how to think, that's about it, IMO. If you can find a job after should have no impact on the curriculum.
I can say now that trusting the adults was stupid idea, I ended getting student loans, got a degree, but no job. I am 29 now and my government job registry is still empty.
I would actually love to see this, but haven't yet thought through in-depth how it would work in the US.
Because right now, nothing like this exists, and until it does, the primary focus of most university students is to indeed "get a job".
Schools attempt to cram as much information as possible in as little time in the overworked and overwhelmed minds of the students. The result is low retention and studying for the tests.
Knowledge and deep understanding come with time and experience in the presence of awareness.
The experiential parts of medical training for example are closer to hazing than anything else. We have enough research to know that the brain needs rest to process learning. Having people work for 24-36h straight does not do anyone a favor, is not sustainable and presents significant dangers to everyone involved.
Yep, I'd absolutely agree. I suppose my problem here is cultural, in a way. I didn't mean to say that I don't think young people (am I old? Maybe I am) shouldn't have to take history classes that are exogenous to whatever they end up doing later in life. I think what I'm trying to say is that there's a lot of room to make specific skills that employers look for separate from the horribly expensive University system. This has to be possible, but maybe I'm wrong.
And what if something goes wrong?
I hear theories that cite insurance (that power company case) and other reasons, and I think they all kind of stink. It's as if higher education is more of a gatekeeper than mobilizer. (In some industries.)
That said, it's been done before...with spoken languages for the Military. Taking the DLPT will give you a rating on your proficiency, and then you get both the credentialing and then additional pay (Once upon a time I took it for Arabic and scored some 0+s). It'd be hard, but I don't think it would be impossible to do it for some kind of development credential.
I wonder if that's disguised ageism. A lot more people are going to college in the last decade than in previous decades.
New age indentured servants.
Lots of analog credentials do exist that should be digitized (the SCUBA one is a great example that I've personally encountered), but I'm talking about a replacement for traditional, outrageously expensive 4-year Universities where a fraction of what you pay for is directed toward what you'll do for work - but more importantly, folks that wish to career switch from whatever they'd doing to a more technical field but lack that 4-year "degree".
Use the fact that you have the experience to sell the consultancy. Then use your army of once non-technical friends as your code farm. You can pay them less than market (since they were otherwise making nothing) and you can charge market.
You're promising an easy market opportunity. And that always raises the question, "If it's so easy, why aren't you doing it?"
You also can't charge full market rate if you are using the equivalent of apprentices/journeymen to do the work.
It's the classic problem of training.
In the trades, they generally get apprentices to do work at full chargeout (with guidance) with final signoff from certified person.
In consulting (IT, law, legal) you can either have tiered rates based on seniority of resource or a mixture of experience types doing "flat rate" job.
And this is why I generally do the work myself rather than getting a tradie in. If I want someone inexperienced to give it a go and probably screw up, I'll screw it up myself on a Saturday afternoon rather than paying $120/hr for someone else to screw it up. At least after that I know how to fix it next time.
A worry about a lot of the people that are just joining the technical scene; they're entering a world where computing has been abstracted so far away from the actual hardware that many of them think the only way forward is to string together plugins (not that that's a particularly new phenomenon) and cloud services.
But for sales, or stocking a warehouse, or operations, or managing a team? Hell yeah I'd hire some of these folks. If only I had a business that needed that kind of staffing...
Hiring a bunch of inexperienced people is not a good idea. Having larger companies sprinkle them around the workforce is better. Also, larger companies are more likely to need enough people to have a regular training program.
And most people don't have the access to capital to start a business.
A bigger problem is that capitalists can easily take advantage of labor arbitrage. But laborers can't easily take advantage of cost of living arbitrage.
So a fifth year apprentice make something like 80% of a journeyman as they should be capable of 80% of his tasks; while a first year apprentice pulls in less than half as he likely knows little of the trade.
Why is this crazy? It's a very important job that actually contributes to society. I have much respect for T-men, Linemen, and Sub Techs.
I guarantee anyone of you here, if remotely physically fit, could get a non-union job in construction. Good luck making $10-15 an hour. Even being a non-union electrican is not difficult. The contractor, will many times, train you, but it just doesn't pay more than retail.
You will see a lot of Contractors. It's not that difficult to get a licence. C-6 electrical being the exception. They are checking experience lately, and elevator mechanics--forget the number.
It's difficult to get into a good union, like local 6 in San Francisco though.
Why is the pay so low in construction, even field like Electrical, and Telecommunications? Partly it's because jobs are just hard to come by. And you gave a Huge swath of people who will apply to that job.
A couple of guys just got out of prison on the 70's. "What should we do now? Most jobs like will check out backround. Yes--they could check background then too. Convicts, "Let's start a landscaping company, or work in construction?" Good idea. Many could do these labor intensive jobs, and pull themselfs back into society.
They can't do it anymore, because there is just too much competition. I won't touch that debate.
If anyone reads this, and want to get into construction, apply to a union. How do you know this? Been non-union, union, and Contractor.
If you have some training, getting your Contractor's license is not that difficult. You will have a hard time making a good living off it. Most of you will fail, but the ones that really market themselfs, and have connections will make a living. You will find most people want to pay you the least amount for your labor, and knowledge. The wealthy are the worst. You will be one of those people who pay minimum wage. I have never hired a guy off the sidewalk though--it's just something I won't do. Why will you just pay minimum wage? You can't compete paying livable wages.
United States has had a huge problem with low paying jobs for a long time.
I have known something is very wrong for a long time. I stopped listening to those employment numbers, they just don't add up to what I see, except the "able bodied workers, but gave up" number".
And as my dad said, if you fall into construction; Electrical is still the best, but it's all backbreaking work. Look into being an elevator mechanic--it's a high paying, interesting field--believe it or not. It's basically a union apprenticeship, and unions are only in big cities. A lot of guys want to get into Carpetry because they like woodworking. On most commercial job sites, you won't see much wood. It's all metal studs, and "get it done." If you do custom homes, yes--you will be able to do some woodworking.
You can teach yourself to become an Electrician. Getting licenced by the states is kinda difficult. You can even make over $100/hr. on certain markets like San Francisco. Union companies will hire you now, because the economy is so hot there. You will be called white paper though, and when the good times end--you will go right back to non-union shops, or another low paying job.
But, in all honesty, can you actually provide what they need? Can you deal with alcoholism, or drug dependency? Can you deal with absenteeism? Can you deal with behaviour disorders that might even be violent?
I'm not saying a candidate will definitely have any of these problems (or others), but I am saying that I have worked with people with all of these kinds of issues before. It is crippling. It's hard enough to do a good job when you are with people who are able to hide their personal problems away for 8 hours a day and concentrate on work. If you have to deal with someone else's problems on top of your own on top of both of your jobs, can you really cope?
If the answer is yes, then please hire these people and help them. If the answer is no, then you're going to have to draw the line somewhere. Where? How much risk are you willing to take on board? How much risk can your organisation realistically deal with? The places I've worked at can barely cope with the problems they already have. Looking for more problems to solve will not actually help anyone if you can't actually solve them.
It sucks to let someone drown, but it is foolish to dive in and try to save them when you can't swim.
No. I am not a mental health professional. I did point out the need for that. It takes time and costs money and our world is not set up to provide it to the bottom rungs of society unless they are in crisis.
>> Can you deal with alcoholism, or drug dependency?
We don't need someone coming to work drunk or high. Again, people need treatment for these things.
>> Can you deal with absenteeism?
That depends. If it's once a week but I get good work 4 days it might be better than not having anyone at all. There are limits of course.
>> Can you deal with behaviour disorders that might even be violent?
Again, mental health issues. There is a pattern to your questions. I stand by my assertion that society has discarded these people. You are right that it's not my companies job to pick up the pieces when we have our own issues (and we do). But whose job is it?
>> It sucks to let someone drown, but it is foolish to dive in and try to save them when you can't swim.
Completely agree. I was pointing out a problem, not offering a solution. It may also be an opportunity if someone can figure out how to tap that pool of people for mutual benefit and not exploitation.
You're probably right about getting flooded with applicants, but I think screening would be extremely difficult with people wanting to overstate their motivation and skills just to get a job.
In the end, everyone has to find their own path. It just seems like we've made that harder than it has to be.
When my grandparents immigrated here, they did scutwork for low pay, but at least they got to work for their employer. There wasn't some layer of middlemen skimming the cream.
For example my desire as a buyer would be to purchase an awesome steak for about a dollar but the failings of our society have again let me down.
"Lobby" congress to right these wrongs perhaps?
Perhaps one day lab-grown meat will decrease the cost of production and make that a reality.
I kinda know what you mean but ... if we structured society to make steak that cheap we'd fritter away resources on something that we don't really need to spend them on, we'd probably destroy a good deal of eco-systems too in the production, deforest to make cattle farms and such. Ultimately we think we'd be happier, but in practice we'd probably not be happier; just have more ecological damage to contend with.
We'd probably be saying we just wish we had cheap carrots instead of steak all the time, probably.
This isn't just a training problem, it's a cultural issue.
Praising charlatans like Scott Adams, and worse, failing to recognize their lack of ability and their motives is another cultural issue.
Ultimately, the reason we have so many unemployed is because we're stupid. We suffer from a cultural stupidity partly the result of longterm political propaganda campaigns by less-intelligent politicians and industry leaders who can't gain support any other way (because they are also stupid). If America wants to slip back to the level of a third world country in terms of political systems and the average education of the citizenry, a higher unemployment rate is just par for the course.
We have people unfit for training.
As an aside, how can the American workforce maintain world class competency and compensation? We need to interact with the best in the rest of the world. Bringing them here and giving them the option to stay in a safe, fair environment is best. On the flip side, engineers need to believe they are being compensated fairly for their efforts, and not take so many pains to prevent the industry from developing better ways of doing things.
Still I think mostly that's just what the system rewards. Hardworking and skilled people with disdain for office politics will either get exploited or never get their foot in the door in the first place.
I'm confused by this part. What does Scott Adams have to do with what you just wrote and how is he (in this context) a charlatan?
Personally I've found his blog to be pretty helpful for understanding the Trump phenomenon better. http://blog.dilbert.com/
Oddly enough no educational program helps with those already affected, retraining program participants have even been observed to fall behind about one day per 24 hours no matter how intensive the training program.
If they would just pull themselves up by their bootstraps like I do then they'd all look 29 for the rest of their lives, I mean can't all macroeconomic problems be solved by lecturing people to all do microeconomic improvements upon themselves, of course if they did that and no one were over age 29, then ageism would simply result in no one appearing to be over 28 ever being employed again, LOL.
I don't understand this, do you mind explaining it to me?
You can tell these at college - they take the easiest classes, they do as little as possible, they'll give you long-winded explanations justifying cheating, they complain about the college rather than taking advantage of the opportunities there, and they avoid math as much as possible.
When they graduate, they are only marginally employable, and offering more training won't help.
This is kind of off-topic and nitpicky of me, but it's something that's been on my mind recently, so I'll go ahead anyway:
For many things in life, condemnations are much easier to make than defenses, but that doesn't mean the defense is without merit.
I once took an upper-level math class where the instructor told us that we were not allowed to receive any help from people who were not currently enrolled in, or administering, the course. I said "screw that" and routinely asked my friend at another university, who had taken a similar course, for advice and clarifications on the subject matter and assignments. As a result I did very well in the course, particularly on the exams (where of course I had no one helping me).
This was clearly cheating, but to fully justify why I felt the rule was unfair, and why I felt it was morally permissible to cheat, would have required a full exposition of my beliefs on the purpose of education and fairness and personal responsibility. Meanwhile, anyone could just say to me, "that's against the rules, it's cheating, and you're putting the people who don't cheat at a disadvantage." Much easier to condemn than to defend.
This is really just a nitpick, though, and I agree with your overall point.
You can't just train/encourage people into that. They are born that way. They'd be scientists/engineers for free if they could. Ironically, this often results in them being very well paid :-)
It reminds me of the fighter pilots who say "I can't believe they actually PAY me to fly these things!"
There's always a shortage of those kinds of people.
What if your mother was a drug addict and your father was a fast-food worker? Would you still be a natural-born scientist?
It's too easy to think "People are born how they are."
and his autobiography:
"Kelly: More than My Share of It All" by Kelly Johnson
Also, the wikipedia page makes it sound like it was all due to his merit:
His parents were Swedish, from the city of Malmö, county of Scania. Kelly was ashamed of his family's poverty, and vowed to return one day in prominence. Johnson was 13 years old when he won a prize for his first aircraft design. He worked his way through Flint Central High School and graduated in 1928, then went to Flint Junior College, now known as Mott Community College, and finally to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he received a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
Who granted him the prize? It's fortunate they were paying attention to his work. How did he attend college with no money? It's fortunate he managed to find a source of income. Nowadays college is prohibitively expensive for those in poverty who don't achieve a full-ride scholarship or loans. And if you entered the workforce and later decide to go to college, you don't qualify for loans.
It seems less useful to say that someone will become something rather than they might overcome X and Y to become Z.
People (especially in America) have choices about their path in life. They are not hapless victims of circumstance and do not follow preordained paths.
Your thesis is that they do: "They are born that way."
It's probably best to agree to disagree as to how much someone at the bottom can influence their situation in the modern day. You're talking about nearly a century ago.
> It's probably best to agree to disagree as to how much someone at the bottom can influence their situation in the modern day. You're talking about nearly a century ago.
You're right it's different today. There's a lot MORE opportunity today than a century ago. Heck, I can get any information I want about any field of knowledge by pushing a button at my desk. How awesome is that? How about all those people becoming billionaires in their early 20s? That was utterly unheard of 50 years ago.
That's a very convenient model, isn't it? If someone fails to make opportunities for themselves, then they must not be very smart and motivated.
It's like epicycles: The model can fit however you want it to fit. That's why it's worth being suspicious of it.
> then they must not be very smart and motivated.
Negation does not work like that. A implies B does not mean that !A implies !B.
I leave you with Feynman noting that you cannot prove a vague theory wrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIN_-Flswy0&feature=youtu.be...
Your model seems to fit that description.
Because I've been around a long time, and know lots of people over many years. The ones who believe they can make their lives better and take action to do so, tend to get results and are happier. Those who believe they are victims of chance with no choice, tend to take no action, achieve little, and wind up bitter and defeated.
Note I said nothing about their circumstances.
I choose the happy path. If you choose the victim of fate path, I am sorry for you. Feynman is a terrible argument for your position - I've read his biographies, and he always chose the happy path.
I'm glad you've personally achieved success. It's mildly annoying that you attribute your success to your own inborn merits rather than the mixture of hard work and luck that success seems to be derived from, but you're in good company.
You can indeed close your eyes and choose the happy path. I hope you'll never be cut down by forces you cannot control.
I presume you have sound mind and body, and live in the US. That's all the luck you need. Anything else is up to you. YOUR choice. Even your health is about 60-80% under your control, if epidemiological studies are to be believed.
Even your health is about 60-80% under your control, if epidemiological studies are to be believed.
Do you have a source on this?
If you're not failing now and then, you're not trying. The Uber driver has my respect for getting in the game and trying.
Not offhand. But you can start with every health report that comes out that outlines how this disease or that can have its lethal probability reduced by changing lifestyle. Such as quitting smoking, eating healthy, exercising, flossing, getting vaccinations, washing hands, using condoms, quitting meth, etc. The list goes on.
I interviewed a man last week who had a CS degree from a good school and had been working in industry for two years, two different companies. Couldn't answer any of my technical questions. Couldn't describe, even in broad strokes, how his websites worked behind the scenes (as in "request sent to this server, server accesses DB, server sends this response, mail server sends an alert, etc") Couldn't answer basic questions about his own code (I believe he wrote it, but perhaps with a lot of copy/pasting)
I asked him why he majored in CS. He says that the recession had a big influence on him and he wanted to make a lot of money :-p Okay then! That explained a lot. I don't think programming is as hard as it's often made out to be on HN, but it's a really difficult field if you don't like it.
That's the issue in a nutshell. You can tell people they'll make 100k easily but to be a developer you have to like it.
A good developer looks at the problem and goes "that's cool".
A great developer looks at the problem and goes "Huh, let's try that again".
God forbid people have an instrumental interest in getting one of the few decent jobs available?
- Recent grads from other countries are hungrier so they are constantly learning and have a plan. Many here get a sense of entitlement from graduating college because their parents came from an era where going to college was a near guarantee of a good job. Now it means very little as it's a requirement for most people.
- Our universities leave our students with a lot of debt which can be overwhelming. Rather than take a good opportunity with an internship, they're wanting high salaries straight out of college. They're very short-sighted and entitled. When I hire - I'm not going to overpay because you took on a lot of debt. Most small businesses can't afford to hire at what these grads want. I'm personally hiring people with no formal experience in technology with good personalities and a hunger to learn and teaching them.
- Universities are failing because most don't have the professors and curriculum yet to handle the needs of our evolving economy. I've always been interested in the web but they didn't teach any web development or technology when I was at school, so I taught myself instead of going to classes and ran an ecommerce store in 01 when margins online still existed. My brother is much younger than me and his school has these programs so that's a good thing.
A college education is definitely oversold and has been for some time. It used to be an incredible value. As with most things, I think we'll see a return to the older times and apprenticeships will emerge as a competing alternative. I know General Assembly offers apprenticeships where you pay something like $3500/mo for a boot camp graduate and they work on-site for 4 days and spend Friday learning at GA. I haven't tried it yet because I've been hiring in-network but I think that's a pretty compelling offering for both the student and the company hiring.
Universities know what they should be teaching in order for their graduates to be successful in the workforce and in graduate studies. Lesser schools simply dumb down the curriculum to pad their graduation rates. In the case of software jobs, good companies want new graduates with solid fundamentals. There are certainly professors who are clueless but I doubt it's the tenured/tenure track faculty in top STEM departments.
>A college education is definitely oversold and has been for some time. It used to be an incredible value.
I agree with you on this, most schools are simply not worth attending.
> I've always been interested in the web but they didn't teach any web development or technology when I was at school
This is too vocational for a school to teach. Web development frameworks are easy enough to learn on your own and intellectually they are not challenging. Schools must concentrate on the fundamentals and not on ephemeral technologies.
>As with most things, I think we'll see a return to the older times and apprenticeships will emerge as a competing alternative.
I'd say it's more likely software hiring turns into what you see in industries where too many people want to get in such as investment banking, big law, and consulting where employers simply recruit from certain schools. My Summer software engineering internship at a Fortune 500, non-tech company is composed roughly of 75% of students from reputable or name brand schools. Bay area software companies are probably even a greater percentage.
> My Summer software engineering internship at a Fortune 500, non-tech company is composed roughly of 75% of students from reputable or name brand schools
You might be right with the big companies, but even they have had to open their requirements because of the shortage of talent. SMBs can't afford what those reputable school graduates want. So there is a big gap and opportunity which I think the more value priced colleges, boot camps and apprenticeships can fill to add more good paying jobs which will stimulate the economy.
Many American teens are told that they are able to become and do whatever they want and that money, knowledge, education and job stability have very little utility for happiness.
At age 18, "whatever they want" means partying while gaining large amounts of debt and barely passing through a ridiculously easy, but useless liberal arts major.
Based on the number of students who either never attend or fail to graduate due to financial reasons I think most of this could be by our society choosing not to invest in high-quality education and other social support rather than some intrinsic failure of the higher-education system.
This makes no sense to me. The US economy exists to serve the people of the US, and GDP isn't an end to itself.
Those two points, really, have become increasingly hard to argue with my friends the last couple years.
If GDP per capita is the way you're measuring wealth, you're not doing yourself any favor by adding more people to the denominator. Also, having a higher GDP doesn't help if it means everyone is burdened by the additional strain of providing for all the people who are out of work as a result of whatever policy you used to goose GDP.
I wouldn't call a point made less than halfway through the article a "conclusion". He seems to place more importance on incarceration rates; from the final few paragraphs:
As we close this letter, I want to highlight that one bolded paragraph again
As we shall see, a single variable -- having a criminal record -- is a key missing piece in explaining why work rates and LFPRs have collapsed much more dramatically in America than other affluent Western societies over the past two generations...
If we want to see things began to change, we going to have to deal with this variable. Perhaps we should rethink our concept of incarcerating everyone found guilty of using currently illegal drugs. Maybe we need to rethink about how long felony convictions stay attached to personal records.
The key for many is willingness and commitment to it in my opinion. At the end of the day, many folks could retrain themselves with all the tools they have for free online. I find that tech is not a profession you can exactly spoon feed to someone. This is why I think immigrants are an easier solution in some cases.
Of course it won't be possible, but nobody wants to be the first to make a sacrifice for the common good. It's a game theory problem - how to convince them to think more long-term and inclusive while they also compete and are selfish.
I think we should move towards helping people become more self reliant, since there are fewer jobs. Maybe we could bootstrap communities of unemployed to take care of their own needs. Even with all the automation, we still have a job left: taking care of our own family and community.
We could learn a thing or two from Japan regarding re-employing retirees. They feel useful and it keeps them physically and mentally healthy without having to depend on "new blood" to subsidize their lives.
> Judy Banks, a 70-year-old struggling to get by, said she voted for Trump because “he was talking about getting rid of those illegals.” But Banks now finds herself shocked that he also has his sights on funds for the Labor Department’s Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is her lifeline. It pays senior citizens a minimum wage to hold public service jobs.
“This program makes sense,” said Banks, who was placed by the program into a job as a receptionist for a senior nutrition program. Banks said she depends on the job to make ends meet, and for an excuse to get out of the house.
Karma is served!
I've seen much the same thing with people I know who voted for Trump. He's their savior because he promises to "get rid of those illegals". Somehow, it doesn't matter that his henchman Sessions is also going to massively ramp up marijuana enforcement, and this is likely to hit them because they're pot smokers. As long as he gets rid of the illegals, it's all worth it in their minds, even if that means they become a felon and spend a lot of time in a privately-owned prison.
There's a massive part of the population who will not be able to save for retirement. How exactly does one save for retirement when they live paycheck to paycheck?
There is always more work to do. The problem is that there might not be someone willing to pay enough to have it done. This is where the government social program would come in. They basically supplement the income for the person doing the job. The idea being that it is better for the person to work then to just get aid. At the same time, society benefits because that person is being productive.
This is counter to one of the big ideas to solve the problem of loss of jobs, universal basic income. It is good that is being studied to determine if it is a good way to move forward. I think there are people who will make the most of that, which is great. I think there are also people who can fall between the cracks. Within a workfare type program, self motivated people can also be addressed. Perhaps some people's job could be working on their own project, such as open source software or even being a musician.
And I recall reading that there is statistics showing the rates of people improving their situations when working in such jobs, and if I recall right, its no better than compared to people who just get social aid and stay at home. This is one of the arguments in favor of universal basic income when its discussed here.
>I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob. The mob (the thought runs) are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think.
The desire to keep people employed is driven by fear, as its known that idle hands are the Devil's workshop.
Completely agree on your idea of a state of affairs being "normal"/optimal/best/whatever....getting everyone to agree on that principle would be a good start.
This particular verb with the word crime--may I ask if you are an American? I've only ever heard people who are not from America say it this way. Americans always seem to say "commit" crime.
I would say that by comparison, the private sector does a better job lately at inventing (bullshit) jobs. The value wouldn't be negative. For example was the CCC negative?
Hopefully choosing such organization would lead to less exploitation and more community value, since there's less profit motive. Also less work on bullshit jobs and commercial crap.
And often, there can be some sort of competition between non-profits, which is helpful too.
One solution is making things cheap.
And one way to make that happen, is by collaboratively creating assets that may have high fixed-cost, but very low variable cost - which what we'll need for BI.
For example, shared community fiber. or on a bigger scale - build together a city ?
The "killer app" for making things cheaper is obvious.
Solve the housing crisis that effects every major city in the world, and you get rid of the biggest expense that humans pay.
It is not even that hard to solve from a technical perspective. Construction costs are pennies on the dollar, when compared to land costs.
The tough part is solving the political problem of convincing all the rich landowners to let us devalue their investment.
By definition, if we make housing cheap, we have destroyed the housing investment of a whole lot of really powerful people.
EDIT:it seems that it's possible legally to start a city with your own rules(as long those doesn't conflict with US/state/county laws):
I don't want to live here when men reach unemployment rates beyond 25% (as the article and book suggest).
As a larger point, I think this diminishes the chances of a "french revolution" style revolution in general, where the huge masses of poor people revolt against the rich. The poor are not well equipped or organized in general, and military technology is increasingly becoming more powerful and longer range. Just think if the richest people were protected by working ED-209's that responded to their command. Even if we had the other 99% fighting them, could they really win?
I would rather be one of 10,000 random Texans with guns than 1,000 national guard.
10:1 are horrible odds in an urban environment against well resourced, well equipped, intelligent insurgents.
Houston for instance is full of chemical engineers, tradesmen, software engineers, and all around handy outdoorsy people. You clearly have no concept of how hard it would be to occupy and hold such a place against such an enemy. I tried to hold territory in Baghdad amongst people who couldn't even shoot straight and we were regular army not weekend warriors and it sucked. It was unpredictable and constantly dangerous.
It'll sort out pretty quickly.
Most of the population will want out. The remnants won't have much by effective resistance.
As the French tankers learned in WWII, superior armour & firepower without coordination and communications as well as force unity doesn't buy you much.
On a side note, I've hunted with Texans before and they put up deer feeders that make noises when they spit out food to draw in the game for easy shots. They also import exotic animals from Africa and stuff them on fenced private property. I don't call that hunting.
Uhhh. I'd check the confidence at the door, here. Places in Iraq (and Afghanistan, where I was) were full of folks who were basically peasants and they utterly baffled us in their commitment and ability to make war. I would absolutely dread fighting an insurgency against a bunch of well armed, well educated, well trained, and freakishly devoted Texans.
EDIT: @remarkEon that's ridiculous. We have ~ 1.5M active troops. Drones, aircraft, firepower and heavy surveillance which these Texans don't have. This is not Baghdad or Afghanistan geographically or politically; it's our turf and everyone would rally around crushing any rogue Texans. Some of you are worried about 10k Texans in some crazy hypothetical situation where they get disgruntled due to lack of job prospects like its the first time that ever happened to the south. Then someone says North Korea is not a threat. I yield.
@remarkEon's history of the US: Scrappily defeats the Redcoats and turns a country into a superpower in a mere 150 years. Survives a Great Depression. Takes down Hitler, the Axis of Evil, Osama Bin Laden. Helps overthrow several dictatorships. Builds the most powerful military in history. Avoids nuclear war with North Korea and other dictatorships. Does not fall due to over extension like most great empires. Ultimate demise: 10k Texans with deer rifles.
A small and highly motivated group of insurgents can completely destabilise a region, rendering it ungovernable. No amount of resources can effectively manage such an insurgency, as we have seen in the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan. IS and the Taliban aren't very numerous, but they don't have to be. They aren't very skilled, but they don't have to be. They're never going to win by any meaningful definition of the word, but they're not going to lose either. At this stage, an uneasy truce would be a minor miracle.
That's the risk - not a sudden uprising followed by an Independent State of Texas, but a grinding low-intensity war of attrition that drags on indefinitely. Look at the Troubles in Northern Ireland for how such a scenario can play out in a western democracy. The Troubles lasted for thirty dispiriting years. A whole generation grew up knowing nothing but soldiers on the streets, snipers in tower blocks, "peace barriers" and wanton bombing. The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland wanted peace, but a cycle of tit-for-tat is incredibly difficult to break. With enough pent-up resentment and an inciting incident, it could happen in Texas.
It's a lot easier to play a home game than it is to play an away game halfway across the world.
The US could bring a million soldiers to bear in Texas with very little difficulty. With those numbers, they could walk into every part of the countryside with rocks and beat the shit out of any insurgents. More importantly, they could occupy the territory with ease. It's much easier to occupy home turf than it is to occupy people of a different culture, ethnicity, language, and background.
Regarding the Troubles, I don't think that applies here. The Troubles were, at their root, a sectarian conflict. That doesn't exist in the US; it's not like there's a religious minority in Texas that feels oppressed by a government that will never, ever listen to their grievances.
I think it would be much harder. It would be very difficult for the US to keep soldiers committed if they were deployed to Texas. There would be a lot of internal conflict for the military in a civil war situation.
If I see a bunch of gun nuts out there shooting at cops and troops, it's, frankly speaking, an easy call to make whose side I'm on. I trust the government we've got over the one those guys want to install by force.
Anyways this is a fun exercise, not in anyway an exhaustive argument.
Not to mention this whole argument assumes the government isn't siding with the insurrection. Sounds like an odd point to make, but if there was a substantial redneck revolution, which side is Trump's government on? Who will be labeled the rebels?
It's incredibly risky to assume who is on which side of an actual civil war scale uprising. The chances of being wrong are very high, and the consequences are literally life and death.
Have you ever been in a civil war? I have. There are more guns in Houston, TX than there ever was in Baghdad. Local police/fire are cut from the same cloth as the locals, they'd be sympathetic to their neighbors. How do I know? They say so.
Also, there is nothing more terrifying or effective in a civil war than a sniper. Source: been there done that. The U.S. has the largest standing army in the world on opening day of deer season, all with high powered rifles and scopes.
Any uprising could be squashed eventually, but it would take a lot of ordnance, blood, and time.
You also cited Houston which is the 4th largest city that has a crime problem not due to deer hunters, but of inner city folks and saw a crime rate explosion from an influx of people post-Katrina that had lost everything and had little job prospects. You didn't see country people from the gulf area bringing deer rifles into the city shooting people up and starting civil war.
EDIT: to JakeTheAndroid - the parent mentioned as part of their fear - "The U.S. has the largest standing army in the world on opening day of deer season, all with high powered rifles and scopes."
There's no evidence to suggest that those deer hunters would organize in the event of high employment to incite civil unrest which would result in civil war. We saw a rise in crime but did not see civil war when people lost everything with Katrina. And the rural people feared the most didn't do what was suggested.
The crime I'm talking about in the cities, esp. Houston, has existed for a long time. Rising unemployment does lead to more crime in the inner city, primarily by inner city people. I don't see deer hunters organizing and posing a threat. In fact, I'd guess they'd hunker down and protect their property and community and probably assist in any local response to the civil unrest if necessary, not the other way around, posing a threat to other citizens and the government itself as the OP speculates.
In Iraq, the military attempted to take cities in turmoil and were successfully held by normal, everyday people not nearly as well armed as people in TX. You then support the statement by pointing out its already a dangerous place full of armed people being malicious.
OP didn't say deer hunters are the cause of crime, but pointed out normal people there, that well armed with high powered, long range rifles are numerous. They'd likely pose a huge threat.
So, if civil unrest was to break out due to unemployment, this seems like a potentially difficult situation for everyone involved. Pretty plausible to me.
Military workforce by state:
(The map is even still a lie; there are large counties that voted Republican, but the majority of the red by area is tiny little county populations.)
I also don't think that people are particularly stationed by their home state.
First you'd need a political purge of the Army. Anything less would leave the door open to a split in the military. I think history supports this well.
The National Guard will be more representative of their home base, but that is going to be smaller forces that complement active duty, not replace it.
We're talking about a country with 100k+ CCTVs monitoring their own people, loaded with anti-US and anti-South Korean propaganda, forbids internet usage, starves its people, has a top 5 military while being the size of Pennsylvania, and enslaves 200k+ of their own people falsely.
What evidence do you have that they are not a threat?
Hawaii is much closer anyway. Remember what happened when Hawaii was last attacked? We've already deployed radar out of Hawaii earlier this year so we believe it's a threat .
"North Korea is now in possession of a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US mainland, according to a senior US military official." 
"Despite Pyongyang's apparent progress on a warhead, it doesn't have good enough missile and rocket technology to deliver a nuke -- at least not yet, says Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the Rand Corporation think tank."