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> Maybe I'm coming from a place of privilege but that point of view makes me incredibly sad.

Why?

It makes me sad that anyone would want to force business to take on risk that it wouldn't otherwise in the name of "equality".

Choices have consequences, if you choose to stay out of work for a year to raise your child then you will be less employable.




1. Have you ever wondered whether there's other human values - perhaps kinder and more loving values - than venal self-interest and capital accumulation?

2. The word 'choice' is not really apposite here, given that one sex, by the mere lottery of birth, carries the burden of pregnancy (and, culturally - with a similar determinacy - women are expected to rear their children in their early years).


it's not just unfair to the business though. if i have five years experience as a c++ dev and you have four years plus one year as a stay at home parent, it is unfair to me if the hiring process treats us both as if we have equal amounts of experience.


>it's not just unfair to the business though. if i have five years experience as a c++ dev and you have four years plus one year as a stay at home parent, it is unfair to me if the hiring process treats us both as if we have equal amounts of experience.

In one negotiation book I read, they call "fair" the "F" word. It means different things to different people, and throwing the word around doesn't further discussions much.

Getting to the C++ dev position, as a person who hires, I've never cared how much experience a person has. I care about how much skills and knowledge he can demonstrate. And an extra year doing C++ is information-free. It tells me nothing that sets him apart from another candidate who has one less year.

I mean, seriously - in my former C++ job if I ranked people by their C++ coding abilities (which includes SW design, etc), there was probably no correlation with years of experience. My manager even complained to me privately that people who had over a decade of experience were performing noticeably worse than those who had 5 or less years.

I've never actually encountered a case where a few months off, or even a year, made any real difference. In my company people occasionally take a few months off every so many years (sabbatical). Their performance does not degrade. A former coworker of mine left the job and wandered the world for 10 months, and got rehired back to his old job. His performance was not impacted (in fact, they prioritized him over someone else external to the company because he was already familiar with the job, whereas an external person would slow things down as he ramped up). I've seen people change careers (e.g. transition to marketing), do it for 1-2 years, and decide to return to engineering/software - no measurable impact.


Is it actually unfair to you that someone put in the appropriate effort needed to raise a functioning member of society? Lot's of people in this thread are failing to value parenting appropriately.


I think it is the opposite. Lot's of people in this thread are conflating parental responsibilities as being somehow equivalent to professional career development.

This is like saying a year of attending a trade school to become a plumber is equivalent to being a first grade teacher for a year.

1 year of experience + 1 year of experience is already more years of experience than 1 year of experience + 1 year of parenting. And it isn't too rare that it becomes 3-5 years of professional experience being more valuable to a company than 1 year of experience + the last 2-4 years of parenting when a parent tries to re-enter the work force.

You either have an impressive resume beforehand or accept that you traded career advancement for having children. Children are a choice and it isn't fair to people who chose not to have kids to further their careers to be brought down to "fair ground" by people who chose to have kids instead of furthering their careers.


first off, i don't actually agree with your implicit assumption that an arbitrary parent is doing some charitable service that i ought to be grateful for. i may benefit marginally from an additional birth by the time I reach old age, but the actual parents seem to benefit more, unless my peers are just bullshitting me about what a rewarding experience it is.

if you're in a position where you can afford to shoulder the financial burden of having children, that's great and I wish you the best. if not, don't expect the small sliver of childfree folks to make up the difference for you. if we actually get to the point where society can't replace itself, maybe we can talk again.


The part about "parents seem to benefit more" is questionable. There ARE benefits, but I'd say good parents are doing a service as much as they are exercising a privilege.


It’s nonsensical and of no benefit to society for the child-free to absolve themselves of any and all stake in how families are supported.


that is a strongly worded, yet totally unsupported claim. is there an argument that goes with it?


"if you're in a position where you can afford to shoulder the financial burden of having children, that's great and I wish you the best. if not, don't expect the small sliver of childfree folks to make up the difference for you. if we actually get to the point where society can't replace itself, maybe we can talk again."

It's exactly as rigorous as your argument. We've both submitted opinions to be considered. I'm not expecting more rigor nor inclined to offer more because I think we've both put out enough worth considering. But if you want to bring more rigor I'll read it.


i guess it boils down to you wanting me to help pay for you to raise your child(ren) and me not wanting to. an impasse indeed. there are many more of you than there are of me, so you will likely get your way if you wait.


More like I want you to pay for your fair share of having an educated workforce available made up of a generation that are contributors and not takers.


>an educated workforce available made up of a generation that are contributors and not takers.

When this is this is the case let me know. All I see is system pumping out special snowflakes that only know how to bitch and complain and scream at the slightest amount of discomfort or offense.


Look outside your bubble.


You are an extreme miserabilist and a hateful person - please stop and think about what life is about.


Personal attacks will get you banned from HN. Please remain civil, regardless of how bad another comment is.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


But the business is not hiring them to "raise a functioning member of the society", it's hiring to fill the role of c++ dev. Your one year at home with child might count as "work experience" if you were applying for a job as kindergarten teacher, but for other jobs it is a disadvantage.


> 2. The word 'choice' is not really apposite here, given that one sex, by the mere lottery of birth, carries the burden of pregnancy

Welcome to life, it isn't equal, and never will be. Maybe we should stop trying to make the playing field level and just appreciate and celebrate the differences.


'Welcome to life, it isn't equal, and never will be.'

Right, that is 'life' in the sense that it is, to some partial extent - and I say partial because women regularly successfully reintegrate back into the work force, and many employers don't have your dim view of things - the existing state of things. But humans, if you had not noticed from the ideological and political revolutions of the last three-hundred years, can change and improve society. It is simply factually and politically absurd to say that X is reality at the moment, so X should or must always be reality. You would not say that of the various inequalities - of sex, race and class - of the past, so why say it now?

'Maybe we should stop trying to make the playing field level and just appreciate and celebrate the differences.'

There is nothing intrinsically valuable in 'difference', e.g. a master is different from his slave, but that hardly justifies the difference. So no, I don't think we should bathe in the glory of our inequalities, and chastise people who think we could do better.


>There is nothing intrinsically valuable in 'difference'

There is nothing intrinsically valuable in equality.

FTFY


I said what I meant - obviously - so you didn't 'fix' anything.

I was arguing against your suggestion that inequality - and the ways in which society is gendered to the disadvantage of women in particular - is a natural part of 'life' that we should just fatalistically reconcile ourselves to. Maybe I was wrong, and you don't object to equality on empirical grounds (although perhaps they were never serious, anyway), but because you're an anti-egalitarian reactionary.


> Maybe we should stop trying to make the playing field level and just appreciate and celebrate the differences.

Funny how I never heard this argument when the anti-poaching agreements between tech giants were revealed. Maybe we ought to have celebrated the unfair differences between man and employer?

HN's capacity for empathy seems rather limited until they (we?) are at the pointy-end of the stick. Drifting back towards the topic, I believe in the hacker spirit of experimenting/striving towards how things could be, instead of being satisfied with the stolid status quo.


We're all building a future together here, and "life isn't equal and never will be" is a dire, shitty attitude to take.

You said I have fluffy unicorn ideology in another thread here, and I think that's bullshit, especially in the resource-rich 21st century. As resource-rich as we are now, the future's gonna be even brighter.

If you just want to recreate the "life is unequal" structures in the 22nd century, why fucking bother at all?


You can get outraged and mad, and kick and scream all you want.

But it is completely and utterly stupid to "fight for equality". If you want to waste your time and energy, feel free. But people are born differently, some have better bone density, some have a high metabolism, some can build muscle faster. Some people are stronger, faster, smarter, etc. than others.

This makes the world INTERESTING. I am glad there is resistance. I am glad that people need to fight for a better job, or higher pay. How rewarding is it when you finally get that better job, or get the raise. How fucking proud and good do you feel when you claw your way to the top and reap the reward? You want take that away and just hand out the same rewards to everyone? Nah, sounds like a great way to have a dull life and meaningless world.


Not outraged, not mad, not kicking and screaming, I think your attitude is damaged.

"Completely and utterly stupid to fight for equality."

"I'm glad people need to fight for a better job."

Retrograde and sad, and a recipe for a continually miserable world.

Give everyone enough, give everyone what they need, and let's see what humanity is actually capable of. Any other attitudes, any other goals belong, rightly so, in the dustbin of history.


Why should celebrate some people being underpaid for their efforts?


Most businesses are small businesses. Think restaurants, cafés, small retailers, etc...

Most are owned by individuals who have families, employ individuals with families and cumulatively small businesses such as these employ a rather large percentage of the labour force.

For many individuals and their families, the fact they can put up a small amount of capital and start a business is the only way they can ensure a future for themselves and their children.

Not all business owners are already rich SV venture capitalists or multi-millionaires. And his point is valid - how much risk do you force upon blue-collar small business owners who are already operating on small margins?


>It makes me sad that anyone would want to force business to take on risk that it wouldn't otherwise

I think the conflict is between those who value people more or businesses more. In the US, businesses are often seen as a core and fundamental part of a society. In many other countries, it is not. That's why you get responses like "Businesses exist to serve people, not the other way round".

>Choices have consequences, if you choose to stay out of work for a year to raise your child then you will be less employable.

There really are not many jobs where things change fast enough in one year that your ability to do the job is adversely affected. Including SW. I've looked, and it's hard to find a SW job that involves cutting edge technology (AI may be the exception these days).

I get the sense a number of people feel that the person who worked instead of taking the time off should be given extra credit for that work, but I do not find the argument compelling. At least where I work, he does get something extra for it - a higher pay. People who go on parental leave in my company do not get the same income while they are off as they did at work - they get a percentage of their salary (I think it is tax free so it's "about the same" as their salary). But everything extra (i.e. bonuses) is prorated - they get nothing for the time they are off.


I do not believe there is any data to back up this assertion. Indeed, it's exactly this kind of discrimination that people are looking to combat.

Looking around my office there is a person here who's about a year younger than me but I don't think it's a given that this one year difference makes them somehow less experienced than myself. We're both adults in our forties with many years of experience each, quibbling over a year hear and there strikes me as pointless and counter productive. There are other, more important, differences between us.


You could argue that women are less like to die young from risky activities and should be preferred. I know a director level guy who had to agree to give up his sports bike as a condition of promotion to director level.

Even having less time off from sports activities - broken legs from five a side foot ball cost a surprising number of days off.


The risk of dying in your 30s in an accident is minuscule, while IIRC 87% of women have kids.

Also, companies can get insurance on an employee death (although limited to X% of highest paid employees): https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/an-employee-dies-and...

I might be wrong, but I don't think a company can get insurance on an employee getting pregnant.


But it is on an actuarial basis


This is probably a point in which state should step in, at least if private greed starts getting out of hand.

Sure, businesses in principle don't value employees that are parents, it's a pure cost for them. But from a higher vantage point, life is not just about commerce. Parenthood may be a problem for business, but it is a critical function for both nations and societies. Unless you propose that the primary driver for society should be accumulation of wealth by whatever means necessary, this is one aspect where capitalism should not be allowed to reach its natural endgame.


It makes me sad to think that business is put above human needs. Overall business will thrive no matter what kind of rule set you impose. If you or another individual stops doing a specific business because you don't know how to deal with new rules, the whole point of capitalism is that somebody better than you would take your place and do what you cannot.

Trying to protect business, to me, has always seemed like a problem of personal greed being leveraged over the community's interests. Those who are individually benefiting by the current systems don't want to change it because they could potentially lose their current advantages or be superseded by others who are more willing to do more.


I find this response, and the downvotes on the parent comment, incredibly sad.

If you want to live in a libertarian fantasy world with no safety net, you are free to create one, and try to attract citizens to your country.

Even in prehistoric times, it was generally understood that there was societal benefit to letting women take care of children when they were extremely young and that perhaps letting a new mother skip some of her normal chores so she could breastfeed would be better for the tribe as her baby could grow up to be a hunter and help bring in more food and resources.


Parental leave is not a safety net. Parenthood can be planned - it isn't some random catastrophe that befalls you for which you need an insurance safety net.

Note that I do support strong parental leave policies, and advocate for such wherever I work.


> Parenthood can be planned - it isn't some random catastrophe that befalls you for which you need an insurance safety net.

While you're obviously right that one can plan to become pregnant, that doesn't make unplanned pregnancies a non-issue. So, that safety net is beneficial.


Whether an unplanned pregnancy results in parenthood is a planned choice.


A couple in their early 30's just meet up after getting home from work. The wife, nervous, approaches her husband and says, "I have something to tell you". She pauses, taking in the moment, and him. "I'm pregnant".

Is that an easy moment for you? If she has an abortion, then chances are higher that she could never have a child again. It's not just a "choice". Christ.


It's not always a choice. And even where there is a choice, it's not an easy one.


>Even in prehistoric times, it was generally understood that there was societal benefit to letting women take care of children

In prehistoric times a village raised a child, not an individual.


> If you want to live in a libertarian fantasy world with no safety net, you are free to create one, and try to attract citizens to your country.

For better or worse, you just described the early industrial United States. And people flocked from all over the world to come to it.


That might a lot to do with the highly available and relatively untapped resources and cheap land. Britain was more industrialized and progressing faster than the US at the time, but only received a fraction of the amount of immigration, but it was also highly settled with much more expensive land and most resources already claimed/owned and being tapped to fuel their industrialization.


HN moderators, you should check the biases of the mod brigade.

I'm out of this conversation. Immediate downvotes because I don't agree with the toxic alt-right views that seem to dominate conversations like these.

I'm done with this discussion; seems we can't have a meaningful one.


"people disagree with me so they must be alt-right"

Please.


Boo for whining about downvotes and accusing everyone who doesn't agree with you of being alt-right.

You're being intellectually dishonest here. You expect to be able to share your point of view without critical response but you insult others for expressing theirs.


You shouldn't express points of view through moderation. Replying to the comment is the appropriate way to express differing points of view.


I agree. Unfortunately that's not the HR stance. I can't find it now but PG stated years ago that downvotes are appropriate for expressing disagreement on HN.

Also, I'm not sure votes count as moderation. Moderation is generally something that exists at a level above community feedback.


"toxic alt right"?

I express anything not patently left and i'm instantly vote brigaded into oblivion. You're living in a fantasy world if you think anything here is "alt right".


Businesses exist at our leisure -- not the other way around.

As we build and refine our society, it's entirely up to us to determine how best we want to put businesses to work, to improve society.

Anyone who wants the benefits of owning a business can be subject to those rules. Anyone who doesn't want to play by those rules can go solo or work for someone who does.


> Anyone who wants the benefits of owning a business can be subject to those rules.

Oh, those benefits of running a business. You know, like working more hours than everyone else, putting your own money on the line, being the last to get paid. Here's some hard facts:

1. Most businesses are small businesses

2. Most people are employed in small to medium businesses

3. Most businesses fail because they lose money

If you push for more and more requirements of businesses to fulfill, only the biggest corporations will be able to survive, because those are the companies that can deal with all the regulation, all the legal risk, who figure out all the tax loopholes, who have the best standing with banks, etc.

You'll eventually kill all the competition from the bottom. There won't be any more artisan bakeries or coffee shops, there will be McDonalds and Starbucks. Everywhere. No more innovative software startups, only Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM and Apple.

> Anyone who doesn't want to play by those rules can go solo or work for someone who does.

Good jobs don't fall from the sky. Big corporations also happen to be really good at making people redundant.


McDonalds is primarily a franchise operation, with the actual restaurants being owned by what could (if you squint) be considered "small businesses".

The financial resources required to buy and run an McD franchise are pretty hefty, so it's not exactly going to first timers, or people who don't already know how to run a franchise.


I'm aware of that, though not so much of the details. I'm trying to make a point of the blandness of the food. In a way, it's the worst of both worlds.


Many small businesses I've seen are also incredibly exploitative. I don't believe we should be defending these practices; if a small business really can't afford basic human decency, maybe it should not exist? And maybe the effort should be refocused on asking how to allow small businesses to afford being humane while not losing ground to large corporations.


What are the biggest hurdles (challenges) to starting and running a small business?

What would you change to encourage, empower small businesses?




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