Maybe videogames are their only way to eke out some self-proclaimed happiness being a hero in some fake reality. But that happiness will quickly fade as they age, and they are forced to face reality in terms of resources needed for survival.
I think this also explains the rise of the extremist youth groups antifa and the alt-right. Both are dominated by young men looking for purpose and value.
edit: maybe also explains the rise of that jordan peterson guy.
Video games seem very similar to drugs in this regard. I've not seen evidence of video games being causal in any way, any more than drugs. I think it's more accurate to describe them as potential negative amplifiers; they're very easy to abuse because of how well they satiate the aforementioned feelings many people (notably young men) experience.
I don't have the time or inclination to look into it more deeply but it almost seems like the West is just living through a social reality that has been going on for decades in Japan. Maybe there are some interesting social and economic insights that can be gleaned from that change to predict the future in the west.
On the other hand, media and academia are always out to sensationalise. It’s entirely possible that a certain degree of social disaffection has always been there (see “young Werther”, Leopardi and so on), but the overall population growth was such that a small but constant percentage of a community is now a big number in absolute terms.
It helped me, but it does take effort. I feel the folks there are genuine and trying hard, not scammers. Yes, the stuff there can seem a bit strange, but I think it helps. I'm not associated with the site nor make any cash from it. Yes, it's a bit expensive, I agree. That said, I think it is a good idea and can be worth the money if you put work into it too. Again, it's one road, not the road, but I think it's a really good road all the same.
New technology is not (on aggregate) making us more productive, or growing the economy to the point where we need young, college educated men and women to learn productive new skills to sustain and grow our communities and the collective state and country level economy.
I went into the embedded industry to learn more about the people and companies that make all the things we take for granted or never think about as kids - cars, planes, industrial PLCs, oil rigs, pacemakers, insulin pumps, ATMs. Modern chip production, and what people have built from tiny MCUs and DSPs all the way up to the crazy beefy CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs is as close to magic as I've found in the real world.
But the industry of "global infrastructure" - transportation of people and goods, war, healthcare, manufacturing, resource extraction, retail - as a whole is stagnant. Especially when compared to the golden century we are just coming out of, when our standard of living in developed nations jumped up exponentially due to distributed electricity, indoor plumbing, modern appliances, transistors, data transmission technology, internal combustion engines, and advances in chemical and medical technology (much of this accelerated by research into war technology). Economist Robert Gordon has studied this in detail here .
Video games are definitely a way to feel productive, achieve well-defined goals, and get a sense of accomplishment or progression that is often lacking in the workplace. But IMO in many cases they are a symptom of a larger issue, not a cause.
There are many forms of escapism, video games are just one that my generation is more accustomed to having grown up and made friends through social interactions over video games alongside traditional things like sports, clubs, parties, etc.
The growing need for escapism is IMO the larger issue.
 In economics TFP is a variable that attempts to capture the effect of technology and infrastructure on the production function. Since these effects are much too complex and indirect to calculate explicitly (how many more widgets can a factory produce because of the roads that allow their workers to drive into work from the suburbs?) it is imputed as a residual. http://www.karlwhelan.com/Macro2/Notes9.pdf
That being said, I think that your view is wrong and that tfp _has_ been growing and we have become better at productivity. It's just that is was very localized, the inequalities in productivity are very high and a whole class of people that used to be productive are not anymore(because of various and very complex reasons). Also, I think we, as a species have become complacent and some of us are wired to function better in "crysis" mode than in a normal world. Maybe being normal is one of our contemporary ailments
I would like to submit a complimentary hypothesis. While it may be true that young males are more interested in video games, video games are not necessarily the cause of the decline of younger males in the workforce. Perhaps games are simply a tool of escapism, utilized by a demoralized section of the population (young males). This could explain why young females are not influenced as drastically by the same leisure luxury. As with anything, the underlying reason behind young male decline in the work force could be a variety of things (e.g. males have more interest in games compared to young females or are more addiction prone to game than young females), but I believe that the case for escapism in young males in a society which is increasingly anti-male is a strong one to explain them seeking refuge in video games.
A more subtle point would be that, to a marginal young male, it may be hard to tell the difference. Resentment is likely to be high to start with in someone struggling but consistently failing. This I find much easier to believe, and less wildly in contradiction to the evidence of my (male) eyes and the experience of people who grew up around me. But it's a hugely significant difference in what it implies about who should do what.
That's without getting into proving a correlation, let alone causation. The timelines don't seem to line up for your claim, IMO.
Call it whatever you'd like... it can still be a contributing factor. Also, I never claimed society was anti-male, only increasingly so.
My fellow men - namely the video-gaming and complaining-about-anti-male views that we're talking about here - will have to compete with non-males. Male gamers have a shitty as hell reputation for social skills and behavior - maybe people who feel inclined and entitled to act like that are simply less employable because people think they're assholes.
This isn't all or even most gamers, but it seems to be the ones that make the most noise both in the games and about how everything is turning against them socially. Rallying people behind a cause of "things aren't quite as in my favor as they used to be" is going to be hard, even if it feels very real and discouraging.
EDIT: reworded in response to good point from response about equating laziness with employment outcomes
I'm unconvinced by the class arguments so far, though. The people I know personally in this bucket are not from lower-class backgrounds. The people I know whose parents were constantly struggling to stay employed and make ends meet have a very different perspective on what it takes to get by, and never had the same amount of time available to waste.
Is there a difference? The assumed model in a lot of these discussions is that there is a pie of goodies that is divided, zero-sum, between sexes. But this assumes (or at least implies) identical utility functions. A trivial example: government funding for any abortions I might have is of zero value to me, since as a dude, I'm not likely to fall pregnant any time soon. This can be extended to whatever gender stereotype the reader feels comfortable standing by.
It becomes harder to determine in isolation when you take into account that the sexes have not just sex-specific benefits, but also problems and responsibilities. My sister may feel a pressure to be warm and comforting; I serve as her unpaid bodyguard if we find ourselves in any sort of dangerous situation.
I'm not trying to say these "are equivalent," --- indeed, that's the point. I don't think they can be really compared. The only place we approach anything like equality (which implies not just equal measure, but like terms) is in the NumbersLand of employee compensation, and we can't even do that unimpeachably enough for everyone's satisfaction, because other factors leak in.
My point is that I don't think comparison is a fruitful model (anti-male does not automatically mean pro-female), and that it's relative. Is society more pro-male than 1000 AD? Probably, I haven't caught dysentery lately. On the other hand, I wasn't expected to provide a college education for my children then, either.
We should be pro-male! We should be pro-female too!
For young men, especially poor young men, this is an absolutely terrible example (child support laws, for example).
I agree that this is a faulty premise. However, there's a difference between the pressure of social norms and whether this particular "zero-sum sentiment" is actually reflected in, say, US law or policy. I personally believe it's not, and I can't think of any policy or law that refutes that.
I mean, you could just be a hispanic young male or something.
Interesting takeaways: whites were less optimistic but also less ambitious and less concerned.
> White millennials were also consistently less concerned about reaching personal aspirations, such as achieving financial stability, owning a home, traveling, or getting a college degree.
So there's a potentially interesting connection to the male-vs-female question. If both whites, and males, show reduced motivation despite being currently at the top of the pyramid, that's curious. Could be that things are too cushy (having tons of time to play video games doesn't seem like the result of anti-male pressures). Could be that things are too hollow, that material results aren't ultimately so meaningful, especially when they're from your parents labor, not your own?
Maybe young women just don't like video games? Let's be honest here, most of the "hobby" type video games that require dedicated time to be allocated to them are not filled with content that women like to consume. I'd wager that the male/female split in a game like CoD is nowhere near 50/50. (Even though many in the video game industry claim it to be.)
Add to that the fact that many young women likely wouldn't want to fire up PUBG, CoD, or Fortnite and have obscenities hurled at them...
and it's pretty clear why women seem to be less interested in that content.
I think a more helpful strategy would be to attempt to discover why older MEN seem to spend less time in these pursuits than younger men? This might shed some light on characteristics specific to younger men that would explain why they love these sorts of activities so much.
That answer might be a whole lot more pedestrian than we'd hope for. ie - Younger men just have more time. (No kids). Or it could be truly novel, and provide some great insights into human psychology. (But more probably, it's somewhere in the middle.)
Older men vs younger men: cohort effect? if you're over 40-50ish you didn't quite grow up with games.
Aren't women-focused games generally less long-term engaging than male-focused games?
At least in my experience, the games that I perceive women generally want to play are more "5 minutes here and there" type games vs "3 hours straight" type games. So perhaps there are more women playing games, but they individually spend less time doing it?
Does anyone have stats on this either way?
Space Invaders and the Atari 2600 came out in 1977. A 50 year old would have 10 years old then.
I'm a bit younger than that and grew up with Apple II, Commodore 64, Amiga, Mac Plus, and so on. Many of the nostalgic references in Ready Player One were from around then.
When my job unsatisfying I do tend to resort to video games to compensate.
Either way, you still have a primarily-male competitive activity being a huge thing for older demographics, which is interesting. The "is it upbringing or nature" question around sports participation by gender is an old one, my hunch is that video games is just the modern version.
The 30-to-40 generation is in the middle; gaming for a while was a much more in-person thing pre-universal-internet-access. So that probably resulted in different habits as life more and more interrupted the ability to throw LAN parties together.
Perhaps this can be a contributing factor as well. Problem is, I mentioned this in my original statement. Did you not see? Doesn't have to be either-or, you know.
>discover why older MEN seem to spend less time in these pursuits than younger men
Maybe they got jobs, had children, etc. Just speaking from experience. As an adult I have less time for games nowadays.
You literally took the game with worst male female ratio and use it as general argument about who plays games in general.
We don't treat other users like this on Hacker News. Please stop.
Most of society (men and women) doesn't exist at Harvard, and the top 500 companies.
There could easily be "anti middle/low class bias against males" from the upper classes. Which is a common theme in history, lower class men are slightly more disposable (war) then lower class woman.
I could easily see lower class men escaping into video games.
Well, I wasn't getting any call-backs for a while, so kinda...I'd go check out the career pages and every single one of them had these various sections "women," "minorities," "veterans," etc...pretty much every category other than white guy from average state school that doesn't have rich parents or professional connections...then I clicked on one of the links and all it showed were "women in tech" and how much they supported women...all the pics on their website were of women...it was okay, I get it, you don't want/need any more white guys...I thought it would be funny to apply as a woman without changing a single thing on my resume other than the name...and lo and behold, I called emails/call-backs from every single company I had previously been rejected by...I'm not even kidding, same college, same professional experience, same extra-curricular activities...everything the same other than name/sex.
> When these companies responded to you (as 'Joanna'), did you proceed with the interview process?
I did not...if they were going to be sexist I had no desire to work for them at that point, plus it left such a sour taste in my mouth. I did find a company that wasn't sexist so I ended up going with them in the end.
Plus, what would I write? It's kind of straightforward sexism.
1. White guy applies for job, no responses.
2. White guy reapplies and only changes name/sex to appear female, receives responses within the week.
I could have also just changed my race and the experiment would have had the same results.
We're not talking about someone having a harder than average time finding a job, but about guys staying home playing videogames instead of working. I submit that if someone thinks anti male bias is the reason they're on the couch playing call of duty all day, they're mistaken.
1 - http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/poor-millenni...
The US is a wildly inequal society. Each year it becomes more and more inequal and the latest tax cuts are going to dramatically accelerate the rising inequality.
Such widespread inequality has powerful knock-on effects and these effects are converging on these young (likely rural) males. Everything from suppressed wages to supressed business formation to extraordinary economic rents (housing, healthcare) all come together to produce more losers and less (but richer) winners.
If you look at the state of the modern American man, analyze trends and extrapolate forwards things are not looking good. The ratio of men:women in colleges is nearing 60/40. We are moving to a more service based economy which favors women. Lot's of folks are simply dropping out of the economy and are trending towards being strains on society.
Video game industry traditionally targets women much less - and consequently it might cause women to play less and thus read more and do more homework.
Some players have spent an undeniably unhealthy amount of time in that game in just a few weeks. They boast "I'm High Rank 100 after only 200+ hours!" as if playing a video game for 15+ hours a day was something to be accomplished and proud of.
I feel sad for these individuals when they realize all that time was meaningless.
WHO actually has 60 hours a week of leisure between the ages of 31-55?! How is that the average?
6am: wake. shower sometimes.
6:15am-7:45: take care of kids, eat breakfast, get dressed.
7:45-5:45: commute and work.
6-7: eat dinner
7-7:30: kids to bed.
7:30-8: cleanup house
8-10: maybe leisure, often home production.
Weekends have _at most_ 6 hours of leisure per day.
That works out to 22 hours, best case scenario.
I asked around the office. No one else is getting 60 hours.
In this analysis, the researchers include 7 hours per day to sleeping/eating: "We include a sub-set of time spent on eating, sleeping, and personal care (ESP) in leisure. In particular, we treat 7 hours per day as non-discretionary ESP, and the residual as leisure."
So they're really looking at the breakdown between labor and everything else in an average 17 hour day.
Sounds like significant sampling bias right there. US prime age employment rate (25-54 years old) is 78% (which counts part time employees). I'd guess that the 22% you didn't interview, and the part time employees (who likely don't work in an office) are far less busy.
Kidding aside, for a 31-year old without children my time is consumed differently, but consumed mostly the same.
6 AM wake, workout 7:30 AM Make/eat breakfast, clean, get dressed 9 AM - 6/7 PM commute and work 67PM make/eat dinner 7/8PM - 10/11PM chores and home prod and/or more workout 11PM/12AM bed
and I'm usually behind on chores because I commit to other work/learning so as not to stagnate
Most days, anyway. We certainly have a little more flexibility without kids... but every year that passes before one could responsibly take that on...
Not saying its a great lifestyle but easily get to 60 hours.
Simplify life? Oh, sure.
People forget that to disrupt an industry someone loses and it appears we can see some of this in the male labor participation rate .
Since women have unfortunately had restrictions on their ability to be employed that information could have been lost.
> An obvious candidate for this decline in younger men’s hours is a decline in demand for
their labor, resulting in a corresponding reduction in their real wages. There is evidence that
declining demand for manufacturing and routine employment has contributed to a secular
decline in wages and employment rates for less educated workers.2 However, we show in
the next section that real wages of younger men have closely tracked those of their older
counterparts since 2000. This suggests that the greater decline in younger men’s hours is
not readily explained by a differential decline in labor demand for younger versus older men.
I just hate office life anymore. "Jobs" are passe, IMO. I'm burned out on it after 25 years, countless lines of code, and hours of effort having been expropriated from me. I'm tired of how hard it is to change specialties; not because I'm not smart enough, but because I don't have the time because I'm expected to fucking work all the time.
I've had a few payouts from tech, but nothing to retire on for life. There's a serious inequity in working at an office when I've doing 40+ wks for years, struggled to get by a lot it, but the guy one level up the org char rolls in with his new Vette.
Women seem to find it novel, since they haven't historically had access. So let em at it.
Do we NEED this many people "working" on whatever the "free market" demands (which is usually just code for "within the highly moderated financial system").
I doubt it. IMO, the only economic output that society as a whole should be concerned with is education, healthcare, and the infra that enables those efforts.
The rest is a farce. Consumption driven avarice.
At least they do not destroy the environment, producing something that has no real value, speeding up a society heading for a crash.
The major media and political narratives are focusing on the rights of women, the rights of trans folks, the rights of minorities, and the rights of immigrants. They are all well and good, but we should equally talk about the responsibility of our well-represented young white males to bear up under some responsibility and push themselves to improve their country. Responsibility to provide and protect is a very masculine idea, and if we fed ourselves an equal diet of responsibility as we do rights & freedoms, the young men of today might be a lot more energetic and engaged.
I also venture that it has something to do with the sharp rise in atheism. Christianity espouses responsibility. Carry your cross and accept suffering without malice. Atheism says that the world is meaningless, we were created from entropy. One of those belief systems might work better for getting young guys out of the house!
Build up atheist straw men much? You know what you know if I tell you I am an atheist? You only know I lack belief in deities (likely yours, whatever they may be, but no different than another deist in that they lack believe in all the other dieties as you, but they believe in N that you don't). Thats it, it doesn't tell you anything about what I find meaningless or meaningful, or that we believe we were created from entropy. That is pure projection on your part, and entirely without merit.
So basically you're saying that as an atheist I have no idea what you're up to... Right, because you're not up to _anything_ that other atheists are up to. You're a heterogeneous mix of feelings and ideas that are mostly based in Western values but are held together loosely. I can look at a devout Christian and know that he's guided by his faith to taking up hard tasks and completing them diligently as part of his commitment to his faith.
How can a lack of belief espouse anything? Atheism isn't a religion. The rest of your post seems to lack that fundamental understanding.
> I certainly cannot say that they all think the world has a deep meaning that they're directly involved in.
You also can't claim the converse, as noted atheism is a lack in belief systems, not a belief system unto itself. You're attacking straw men versions of atheists. Its like asking how many amps a battery has, or how many miles of work you can get from a gallon of gas. Without context the statements make no coherent sense.
Then there is atheism which basically means follow nothing, do what you wish, which might mean that you're a great person nonetheless.
Just as it would be wrong of me to say "All deists believe in the same god, that is why they don't take belief in different dieties seriously", its wrong to attach belief in responsibiliity to a category like atheism.
An example of the disparate groups that qualify as atheists:
- Some Agnostics
- Some Buddhists
- Some Stoics
How you arrive at "atheism which basically means follow nothing" being attached to a category is beyond my ability to understand.
I'll stop posting on such things here in general, just annoying when at category has things attached to it that are mostly non sequitur. Like saying auto mechanics don't believe in running or something, its a weird thing to do.
The truth is that it's easy to say something needs improvement, but it's not easy to take the 10 years studying the problem to deeply understand the solution, and even a partial understanding of possible workable solutions is something neither of us have, because we're spending our week nights wasting time in one way or another instead of paying sharp, _sharp_ attention to the studies and data collected now and in the past to broaden and deepen our insights.
Also you mention that my advice boils down to "shut up and get a job" which is really fantastic advice for most people, because even getting a job carrying 2x4s up scaffolding all day would be so damn tough and tiring that you'd come out of it healthier, persistent, and basically a terminator capable of any hard, physical labour. A good skill! And that skill carries with it an appreciation of the physically gentle computer work we all do, thus making your future tech career more enjoyable.
I think I've made a pretty good counter argument here but feel free to rebuke it.
And the other half is explained by the ready availability of free porn.
In a fantasy world of perfect human virtue perhaps basic income will work, or maybe once Skynet becomes self aware. But it's a pipe dream on any kind of meaningful scale.
These are young adults who are not accomplishing anything with their time and will have little to show for their time when older. This is a serious social illness worthy of study.
It's not a coincidence that a website which treats economic success as the apex cultural trait would cling to a study that validates their own feelings.
The startup narrative is a nasty one. If you don't see the economic results you expected it's easy to look outward and try to rationalize why video game playing losers seem to be content or indifferent while you struggle to solve the Big Problems only to be met with mediocre success.
The lack of introspection and wholesale othering that leads to completely subjective statements such as: people who play video games are "not accomplishing anything with their time" and they "will have little to show for their time when their older" - are worse than depressing, they're the seeds of resentment, anger and aggression. Ironically it's this irrational hatred that's a social illness worthy of study.
In regards to the rest of your comment: Do these economic dropouts want families? Do they want houses? What exactly are their lifestyle expectations and why exactly are they wrong?
The projection of deeply personal values not just in your comment but in this thread are breathtaking. The inability to see that just because you want something must mean that that's true for other human beings is disturbingly common here.
Why are people so concerned and threatened by people they consider to be losers? That's not a rhetorical question. Are you afraid these people are going to ruin your lifestyle by doing.....nothing? If they're happy and they have close to zero impact on your life why exactly are they scapegoats for so much wrong in the world? And before you say "well they're not happy", many of the examples of unhappy "basement dwellers" in this thread are described as people close to suicidal because they want to live one way but society says their expectations should be another. It's all such a big mess and I really feel for these kids calling into suicide hotlines over thinking they're failures by some bullshit external standard.
Fact: the US is not losing undocumented / illegal immigrants at an abnormally high rate. That's a myth. Trump has hardly moved the needle at all when it comes to illegal immigration. Everything to the contrary is propaganda pushed by the media for pathetic political points / ratings.
Obama deported more people in an average year than Trump has in his first year. He was known in immigration circles as the deporter in chief for it.
"Illegal immigration on border surges back to Obama levels"
I think that it’s because they make more money by making it divisive and emotion driven.
Just because people choose to spend more time drinking, doesn't mean it's not bad. They could just be turning into alcoholics.
I don't see how that's self-evident at all.
I'd suspect it has more to do with social desolation.