We need Scientists?
Ask the 1800 surplus Physics PhD's that get produced every year. It's clear that the academic system uses young and smart people, but not that it produces desirable or permanent employment for them. A wise person wouldn't get involved, unless they've got one (or preferably two) parent(s) that are already in the field who can pull some strings for them.
As for programmers, I wake up every morning with the mission of putting myself out of work.
Do you have better data than this?:
"The physics PhD classes of 2007 and 2008 consisted of 1,460 and 1,499 PhDs, respectively. We received post-degree information on 54% of these degree recipients." ... resulting in 4% unemployed initially. Including the 7% temporarily employed that's around 150 excess Physics Phd's in 2008.
The valley and wall street are a bit different... people are willing to give you a shot at almost anything in any seemingly unrelated field because they think you'll probably be able to handle it, because you've solved hard problems that are often similar in scope. Predicting the market is pretty similar to reconstructing a collision, folding proteins, or predicting molecular orbitals. Cloud computing isn't that different than grid computing. Statistics are statistics and models are models, and companies are finding out new ways they can benefit from information processing by utilizing the people who pioneered it.
I do agree though... the Main Street small businesses, the ones that I think the GOP often fantasizes about, aren't going to usually need someone with a PhD in whatever.
Scientists fit the bill -- any physics phd who can't find a job can join the finance or ad tech industries by sending out a single resume.
If a small company is trying to solve sufficiently complex problem, like what Intel (in 1968), Adobe(in 1980s) and Google(in 1998) were trying to solve they need a phd. If a small company is building a new social network or social app it might not need a phd.
Sorry, the point i'm trying to make is it's easy to be intellectually dishonest about the complexity of problems people are facing (sorta like the ML article earlier). If your small business needs new research to survive, you've lost. Very few small businesses are limited by complicated third order effects. they're limited because the owner doesn't feel like doing inventory (or writing more tests, or calling more potential customers) over the weekend.
Sure, you can find counter examples here and there, like special hedge funds or old hippies with geology shops, but most small businesses know 5 things they could fix to make it better.
If they're really that super-efficient and organized, they're either a large business that turned into a small business because the field is dying or they're not a small business.
1) I am having trouble solving this problem, I must not be smart enough.
2) Wait, I have a degree in astrophysics, so I am smart, this must be really hard.
TL;DNR for the Wikipedia article:
People have worried about machines putting humans out of work for centuries. But the unemployment rate has not risen steadily over the same period even as technology has constantly grown. The long term trend (measured since the beginning of the industrial revolution) has been that new jobs are created as old ones are destroyed.
But, nobody knows if this trend will continue indefinitely. There may be some threshold at which technology is so advanced, companies no longer come up with profitable ways to use humans.
To take an extreme example, imagine if we had robots that were smarter, stronger, and in every way more capable than humans. One can imagine a lot of different outcomes in that case. Widespread, permanent unemployment is one of the less favorable possible outcomes.
This doesn't mean the Terminator has to be invented before that technological threshold is reached. Some say we've already reached it, but it's way too early to say with certainty.
In short, technology has improved most lives without harming overall employment throughout the last few centuries, but that doesn't mean the same logic will always hold. The Wikipedia article is a really good read with a lot more detail.
Is the world worse off because we have innumerable, self-replicating automated "robots" (plants) which, for free, convert carbon dioxide back into oxygen? Should we prefer a universe where humans must do this themselves? Now what if rice harvested itself and walked to your door every morning? Would that be a bad thing?
My thinking: if we have robot farmers, delivery drivers, tailors, doctors, etc. we've reached the Star Trek universe where the replicator eliminated all scarcity (maybe not with a molecule-by-molecule copies, but a robot which can build anything we need cheaply).
My hidden premise is that people do "work" (labor they don't enjoy) to ensure their survival. There are other issues like status, prestige, satisfaction, etc. but I'm talking about the basic fear of unemployment ("unemployment is bad because you could starve and die").
If the survival cost is 0, then there should be no fear of unemployment. You'd have 100% leisure time for art, study, etc.
It's quite possible that the advantage will go entirely to those who own and manage the businesses that automate their operations. (And indeed, some would say this is happening now.)
If automation reaches its endpoint, where no human labor is necessary, how does capitalism continue to function? What value can members of the public offer in exchange for all the automatically-produced goods and services?
I think if that were to happen, we'd see some kind of major social reorganization. Who knows how that would look? Maybe it would be utopian, and then again maybe it would be some kind of luddite, burn-the-robots-and-hang-the-engineers facism. Who knows.
If you can supply widgets more cheaply, you can underprice the competition and capture the market (I'm talking more about basic commodities for survival, food, clean water, shelter, etc.). And of course the other companies will compete, have better robots, etc. and you'll have a race to the bottom (this even happens with 'luxury' goods like USB drives). If I can provide aluminum for cheaper, I can flood the market with it (which drives prices down, but I get the profit).
Secondly, we have plenty of charities -- if advanced labor saving devices existed, governments and others would funnel exising funds to acquire them and put them to use. Why pay for food stamps when you can give everyone their daily bread?
I think capitalism based on survival would eventually have to phase itself out -- it would move to virtual currency where people traded currency for optional goods/services they couldn't acquire with the machines (handcrafted xyz, live concert tickets, etc.).
I may really be on this plant thing, but I imagine a world where, at minimum, we get food/water "for free" from the tireless robotic background workers (like air) and everything else is based on human interest. I think humans have enough demonstrated charity to donate something like that once developed.
But, I think the bigger threat is this: a world where robots are advanced enough to provide everything is probably one where a sufficiently powerful country could take over everything.
Imagine Moore's law applied to food and transportation -- wouldn't grocery stores and fedex have to lower their prices to match competitors? Suddenly food becomes cheaper and cheaper, until you can buy a lifetime supply of rice for $5 (unfathomable today, but you can buy a "lifetime supply" of textual data storage for probably the same price).
I mean, there could be collusion and cartels to restrict supply (diamonds), but something as important as food production wouldn't be kept restricted long (food could become a utility).
I would imagine that as the costs of production approach zero, our real life economy will start looking a lot more like the Second Life economy. That is, where everyone is a boutique producer slash experience seeker.
Wondering why you think this is a less favorable outcome - presumably if there were robots that could make all our whims come true it would be closer to a utopian society. The value of "employment" for itself seems nonsensical - the ability to procure things that people want seem to be the better barometer of a society's wealth.
However, PG published an essay from Knuth that mentioned:
... because their aim is to create machines that write programs better than we can, given only the problem specification.
In this sense we should continually be striving to transform every art into a science: in the process, we advance the art.
Which seems to be pretty much corroborated by your TL; DNR
While American jobs for simple, brute force manufacturing were outsourced, high end manufacturing for complicated things like Tractors and earth moving equipment are now essentially power assisted with automation backing or managing human output.
This is why every time I hear a politician talk about "creating jobs," I grimace. A business will hire someone if and only if they think that person's output will make more money than it will cost to employ them. Period.
Government cannot create jobs. It can make the cost of doing business less expensive by lowering taxes, or it can make the profits of a business higher by providing incentives. But for your average small business, those kinds of changes add up to much less than one person's salary, so it makes very little difference.
Government can create a good climate for businesses to exist, with laws, infrastructure and education. But those are long-term investments. Short-term, anything the government does to affect the economy is a shell game. You can't sign a law and magically make workers productive.
This is nonsense. The government can fund projects that create jobs. Do you have any idea how many small businesses out there make their money solely from servicing government contracts?
Just as an example, I worked at a small software consulting firm during the middle/end of the dot com boom. We were a project shop. The contracts we worked on for the state allowed us to stay in business and weather the dot com bust. In the process, we brought in and trained about a dozen 'blue collar' type workers to do project management, account representation, and basic html and coding. As a result of that government money, those people got a new career path and ten years later the bulk of them are working at other companies making 6 figure salaries. Tell me the government didn't receive a huge return from their investment on that.
>This is nonsense. The government can fund projects that create jobs.
There's no evidence this is a net creator of jobs, though. There's a lost opportunity cost to take into account here.
It can also use monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate demand, increasing the amount of work that needs to be done and resulting in more hiring.
A government can certainly use monetary and fiscal policies to stimulate demand and create more work, but that does not necessarily result in more hiring.
For one thing, when there is a surplus of goods (and there frequently is late in a recession and shortly thereafter) the initial demand will be met by that surplus rather than any additional production. Even when that surplus is exhausted, additional demand may be met through through automation. Also, if an industry as a whole thinks that this demand will be short lived, it may choose to either raise prices or simply permit some of that demand to go unmet rather than make large capital expenditures to increase production.
Also, normally when a country is trying to "create jobs", its goal is to create jobs for its own citizens. In an increasingly global economy, stimulating demand may increase imports without increasing jobs in the target economy.
So, while increasing demand may help create jobs, it also may have limited impact and that impact may take a substantial amount of time to be felt.
This is exactly what happened in our current recession.
A much better take would be an examination of why our education system churns out so many college grads with few marketable skills. Or something that balances it with their viewpoint: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/16/growing-up-t... This submission is just a pile of inflammatory linkbait that offers nothing new to the people that would agree with it, and enrages those who disagree by using such caustic language.
That is exactly the message that the unemployed and the rest of the country need to hear and take to heart. No business should expected to take on people unskilled for a job. Some businesses will do so, to grow talent, and some of those will show an ROI, but no business should be expected to do so.
Given that, people do need to suck it up and learn new skills. The article made a good argument for that, and did it in the context of the new reality.
Some people won't be able to develop new needed skills, for various reasons. For some people technology and society will just move faster than they can keep up with. Others have some other impediment. As this trend continues, we need to get better as a society at dealing with those people.
I can see some reasons why businesses might want to provide education (and many do in certain circumstances), but in general, I don't see why it should be more their responsibility than society's.
If a business wants to be successful they should invest in employee training IMO. I'm one of these recent college grads with "no marketable skills".
The company I'm with needs iOS developers. They could conceivably try to find qualified people, but that would be time-consuming, expensive and far from guaranteed that they'd find anyone (as there is little iOS developers where I live). Instead, by allowing me to teach myself to build apps, they have someone who will hopefully be making them money in a few weeks/months at a fraction of the price of an experienced developer (if they could find one). This point ties back into the article's observation that people are graduating with unneeded/bullshit degrees.
Business and society don't operate apart from each other.
I bet they and the lady at Rite-Aid regularly read Forbes magazine, right? Don't kid yourself--this article is meant for the echo-chamber. And that's why I think it's a waste of space.
1) We have to be clear that to be employed you need new skills (trades or science or engineering)
2) We have to find a way to encourage both the creation of skills training programs and a way to enable folks to take advantage of them.
3) We should start providing resources so that kids in school today understand that we're not 'forcing' them to go to school, they should go to school so that they can find gainful employment later (or entry into a tradeskill program).
Queue the recent discussion about rampant cheating in college. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2774254
I'd understand this better if people didn't always pick the longer word when the short one would be correct.
My comment adds very little more than that, but I'd like to remind people that many very smart engineers and business workers have a terrible grasp of formal English, yet they get the job done and more. WalterBright's comment was short, but pointed to more information, and was a potentially useful comment. The discussion should be about the content of his comment.
The fact that he used the wrong word is virtually irrelevant, we all knew what he meant. Yes, if you have a strong grasp of formal English you do make yourself seem more credible, especially in a formal context. But it's not the thing to focus on. Not here.
S/N on HN is amazingly high, but it is still a casual forum, and we should all cut each other generous slack.
Written with helpful intention. :)
As I pointed out, you have edited your reply, with no indication that it was edited.
Your original reply was not helpful. You were taking the opportunity to ridicule someone, with sarcasm. Your current version (assuming no further edits) would at best have no downvotes. Your original version deserved every downvote it got (none of which were supplied by me).
I assume you yourself know this, otherwise you wouldn't have done the edit.
EDIT: added the following: "I'd understand this better if people didn't always pick the longer word when the short one would be correct."
The fact that one word is shorter in this case is not what made the original usage wrong. Length had nothing to do with it. It was merely wrong.
queue -- noun. A first-in, first-out data structure, such as a supermarket line, or processes to be scheduled naively.
cue -- verb. To prepare for, to bring up, to introduce, typically used as a command. Also noun. an indication that it is time to do something, cf. "that's our cue!". Also used in the phrase "on cue", meaning timely.
I stand corrected.
For example: "Cue the complaints". Surely "Queue the complaints.", meaning that the complaints should start lining up, gets across the same meaning (which is of course "oh great, here come complaints").
This doesn't always work of course ("That's our queue" has an entirely different meaning), however where I see most complaints about "mis-usage", either actually works.
But that's simply invalid English, as 'queue' is a noun, not a verb. Enqueue is the verb form, and nobody would ever say, "enqueue the complaints." :-)
queued queu·ing or queue·ing
Definition of QUEUE
: to arrange or form in a queue (see 1queue)
Commonly heard used in the phrase "Queue up".
Besides, verbing weirds language. ;)
"Empty comments can be ok if they're positive. There's nothing wrong with submitting a comment saying just "Thanks." What we especially discourage are comments that are empty and negative—comments that are mere name-calling."
'Queue' is not quite a direct replacement for 'see', there is an additional nuance that what follows it is obvious or inevitable, which is why I used it.
I also understand that many HN readers are not native English speakers, and have varying levels of mastery of the language. I would also agree that obscure usage of high falutin' words for the purpose of peacocking is annoying.
But using them to add color and nuance is appropriate.
In the way that you used it, I believe it was wrong.
"Cue whatever ..." comes from movie and other media production, as in "Cue the Gimp!" It's a notice that the actor playing the Gimp should assume his next physical location in the production and be ready to act. See scythe's explanation.
This kind of mistake is very common, and comes from having heard phrases without having seen them in print. We then fit whatever written word we're most familiar with, or assume, on to the phrase. I'm guessing that's what happened here.
The analogue is reading an unfamiliar name or word and then, never having heard it in speech, not knowing how to pronounce it. This happens to me enough to notice.
I say this having read the original term phonetically and not even realizing the mistake which is likely common and really didn't need to be editorialized.
Yours in helpfulness, -- sixtofour
I know that this is at best tangential to the OP's point but this poked me in the eye. Can the OP really be this naive about modern construction materials and practices?
150 years ago it wasn't uncommon to build a house out of hardwood planking, with a stone foundation. Post in beam construction using 2ft square timbers was also fairly common. This kind of construction is built to last and it does.
By comparison the largest driving factor in material selection on your average home construction project is cost. That's why you get vinyl siding, soft pine 2x4's, and the cheapest interior hardware money can buy. So in this instance innovation is a euphemism for selecting poor materials. Great.
How many people really think their stick built McMansion is going to be standing in 150 years? I mean, really?
Now we have higher quality engineered materials made from cheaper wood but they cost a lot more so people don't use them for mass construction.
Improvements in efficiency always lead to more wealth not less. As new tech companies start making money on their improvements on society new jobs will be created all over the world. Yes checkout clerks will no longer exist just as many manufacturing jobs have disappeared. In their place we will see more software developers, consultants, entertainers and artists.
> “there was a type of employee at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution whose job and livelihood largely vanished in the early twentieth century. This was the horse. The population of working horses actually peaked in England long after the Industrial Revolution, in 1901, when 3.25 million were at work. Though they had been replaced by rail for long-distance haulage and by steam engines for driving machinery, they still plowed fields, hauled wagons and carriages short distances, pulled boats on the canals, toiled in the pits, and carried armies into battle. But the arrival of the internal combustion engine in the late nineteenth century rapidly displaced these workers, so that by 1924 there were fewer than two million. There was always a wage at which all these horses could have remained employed. But that wage was so low that it did not pay for their feed.”
I agree, there will probably be more wealth - I just think the distribution of that wealth may well be societally damaging.
I appreciate that such jobs are undesirable, but they're much in demands by those unable to take up a skilled trade, or those whose skillset has been rendered obsolete. They might not be great jobs, but they beat the alternative of nothing.
I wonder if this will have knock-on implications for those of us who have relatively high levels of training. Right now, if my specialism becomes obsolete I can at least pick up a non-specialist alternative job - will this be the case in the future?
More wealth, yes, but not necessary wealth that gets distributed (as productivity in the US has increased, real wages have decreased).
This doesn't mean that the compensation of the median worker has perfectly tracked GDP growth, because there has been a moderate but genuine increase in inequality in compensation. But it isn't nearly as big as the increase in the wage gap, and saying "real median wages have decreased" is misleading.
Which kind of makes you wonder how disruptive the singularity would be.
We will eventually have to come up with other, possibly less fair, ways to do the distribution; the reason for that won't likely be because it might be considered ethical by some but because it'll cause much more trouble to not redistribute that wealth.
The structural unemployment argument is a trope to insist that the government can't do anything to encourage employment, because stupid people just can't do today's jobs. Its politics disguised as economics.
If wages are rising for people who make more than 400K, it's because demand for people who fill those jobs is real. That may be because businesses have decided that maxing out on employees who almost literally make money is better business than maxing out on the people who are effectively tools for the 400K+ crowd.
Or there is demand but inadequate supply. I've heard several people on HN talk about their companies having openings, getting 10 times the resumes that they did in 2007, but seeing significantly fewer qualified applicants overall.
Paul Krugman points out constantly that if the unemployment problem was structural, we'd see wages rising in areas where there is demand,...
A testable prediction of (one version of) structuralist theories .
...for those above [400k] they've increased 23% since 2008.
It looks like reality fits the structuralist predictions - wages are rising for some people, and falling for others.
 Not all structuralist theories predict this, however. Krugman's version of structuralist theories is based on assumptions of interchangeability of labor, no delays in price adjustment (i.e., no sticky wages or sticky prices), and several more. It's strange how Krugman believes in sticky prices/wages when pushing Keynesian theories, but believes them to be false when bashing structuralist theories.
This is somewhat similar to the classic dismal science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dismal_science) argument. Even though there is high unemployment now arguing that the economy cannot find a use for these people seems very short sighted.
I have difficulty believing that hiring is slow due to technology. The fact of the matter is that you don't climb out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression overnight. We just need to have patience. Some economists have estimated that it will take 10 years before our economy is fully back on track.
Hate the man or his policies (or both), but you can't deny President Obama's observation that training education is the real problem in the so-called "jobless recovery". America as it currently stands has a total, almost prideful disregard for education (public and higher) and technical training. NPR and WSJ report that there are two million open jobs in the US. That's right, up to 2,000,000 jobs are currently open in places like manufacturing in the US. The problem? No one knows how to do the things that fill those positions. Extra tragedy: There aren't enough schools that train in these "manufacturing 2.0" jobs and there aren't enough people that care to learn those skills.
So, the more these jobs languish unfilled, the more productivity slows, the less likely the economy flourishes, and the more the currently unemployed will stay that way unless they remediate or accept jobs beneath their experience/education/skill level.
My personal pet theory, however, is that we don't have a jobs problem, we have a Business-with-a-capital-b problem. Entrepreneurship is still seen by many in two extreme ways that I feel actually turn people off to it.
First, people see entrepreneurship as some mystical, romantic idea reserved only for the rich, connected, and intellectually elite. You can't be successful in business without being (or knowing) rich, come from the Ivy League, or just dumb luck. None of those are in large supply, thus the trappings of success go to those who either know better (like we on HN?) or actually fall into the aforementioned groups.
If not the former, then starting a business is an action plan of last resort ("well, I've been unemployed for awhile now, may as well start that new business I wanted to do while I was wasting away in my cubicle for 10 years polishing slide decks and pushing papers." It's seen almost derisively ("Oh, you're starting a business. Couldn't find a real job, eh?").
Pie-in-the-sky solution? $10 Billion every year for 10 years on prime-rate or lower, long-term, guaranteed SBA loans. Create a federal credit union for this purpose, run by participating states, backed by the NCUA, to manage small-biz eligibility determinations, disbursements and repayment. Eligible business borrowers must have a business plan with 5-year revenue projections as well as application that are analyzed and "scored" using a points system like they do in Canadian immigration applications.
Then, open medicare enrollment to small businesses (below 99 or fewer employees) and self-employed persons and their partners/dependents. Base price on current per-capita cost on a sliding-scale to ensure no deficits or taxpayer burden.
Then, tax credits for every domestic job created.
Full disclosure: I'm a liberal.
This is the type of school you don't usually go to 5 days a week. Instead, you split that time between school and apprenticeship (i.e. internship). That way, you're forced to see the industry from day 1 and there's no situations where you graduate without being employable (as I often see in CS majors these days).
The result is that you have training as a skilled technician, and can make a good living immediately. The industry also has skilled workers to fill their gaps. It seems like a no brainer to me. You don't need a 4 year university diploma for everything.
Also, it blows my mind that industry bitches and moans about having no workers yet makes no effort in that direction either. My school, WPI, was founded back in the 1860s by industrymen as a "free school for industrial science". Where is this sensibility now? 20 odd companies and approximately 200 citizens helped build the buildings for the school. What happened to this sense of community?
Edit: Now that I think about it, on a slightly unrelated note, why don't universities have mandatory internships anymore? The more, the better.
Some do. I went to the University of Waterloo - it's well known for its co-op system (i.e. internships). The program I was under put you through 5-6 4-month internships before you could graduate.
Linky McLink: http://cecs.uwaterloo.ca/
I have to say, it is by far the best decision I've ever made. If I had gone through undergrad without taking internships I'd be pretty fucked right now. Instead, I had a small lineup of name-brand companies courting me out of college and that's subsequently opened a lot more doors.
If you're going through an engineering/CS education right now and you're not doing internships, you're doing it wrong.
When it comes to education and employment, there is no single right way of doing things.
If you want to go down the academia path, I'm sure the optimal course of action is different, but for private sector employment it doesn't get better than internships.
I've done a lot of interviewing, and while open source projects are valuable, they are largely not as valuable to a company as real industry experience. Now, this differs in degrees - if you're a core contributor to a well known library for example, I'd give that a lot more credence than "hacked on various open source things".
Research on campus also pales in effectiveness to industry experience. Software in industry has a lot of constraints and differences to hacking on your own time, at your own pace, and similarly has a lot of differences to academia.
This is supported by my interview experiences - I interview a lot of masters-level people with impressive rosters of research projects on their resumes, but many of them cannot code at all, to the point where I wonder what exactly they contributed to these projects, if anything. On the other hand, I've never interviewed someone way out to lunch who has a background interning at the "big names" (e.g., Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, etc).
Having a company with a very high hiring bar on your resume is like a gigantic stamp of approval - people know these companies hire tough, and if you passed their bar (and spent time there, and didn't get fired), you automatically have more cred than someone who worked on anonymous FOSS projects or his/her own projects.
We have a similar alternative here in Australia; often known as "TAFE" (in Western Australia, at least) where the fees are typically just up-front and very cheap (we're talking hundreds, as opposed to 20-30k+ for University) for vocational courses, and a bit more for apprenticeships.
Saying that, and mostly due to our mining activity, there are a lot of people seeking this route. In fact, it's not uncommon for an electrician or fitter to earn a good $80k+ for FIFO work with just a couple of years experience (the news media usually says $100k, but that's the exception). Not bad considering what a lot of DBA's, programmers and sysadmins with 1-2 years of experience get.
Keep in mind we have a Government scheme called HECS/HELP, where the Government pays your fees (with some fairly high limits). You pay them back once you earn a certain level of income (the rate increases as you earn more) and there is no interest, however it does increase in June every year via inflation.
Excuse my very high-level overview.
I start a business means my present job opens up, as well as any additional hires my business would need. Jobs problem gone.
Excellent argument for real reform to health insurance access.
Yet, I see more risk taking in the US than in Germany.
I suppose, its rather that Europeans are less risk taking, so they also support a better safety net. I know its not my business, but I can't help being scared about the idea, that the most dynamic country in the western world might slow down because of copying Europe.
The US getting more universal health care coverage will not change that.
This is trending a bit off topic. Feel free to respond, but I won't.
Your theory may be interesting but is completely opposite from reality.
If the government wants to see more people starting new businesses and taking risks, it needs to remove the HUGE disparity in healthcare costs between working for a large corporation and going solo. There's just no reason it should exist.
(I find it hard to accept that a lack of free health insurance is keeping that many would-be entrepreneurs at their day jobs any more than a lack of free housing is. If you have some form of disease that keeps you from getting insurance, I completely sympathize (and I believe the health care law will solve that issue), but for most people it is just another cost to consider before leaving - like housing, transportation, etc.)
If we can somehow find a way to rein in costs of health services (perhaps by disincentivizing supplier-induced demand through price ceilings in both malpractice awards AND gasp healthcare service price controls a la Singapore, Japan, or Switzerland), we can get further away from our dependence on large corporations to employ everyone.
Would a universal health care system make it even easier? Sure, no doubt. But I often hear that it's so difficult and costly to purchase individual health insurance, and that just seems to be untrue. Are there other factors I'm not considering?
If you quit your job, COBRA allows you to continue to pay 101% of the group rates for 18 months and keep your old insurance.
It's possible that they didn't understand the nature of their compensation, and mistakenly believed their compensation was lower than it was. But in that case, I'd suggest they simply failed at financial planning.
(Note: if you can't do proper financial planning, don't do a startup.)
Now my fondness for all things Eastern European is very well known - but even I think it's insane that while we have millions of English jobless, someone flew 600 miles to serve me coffee at the train station in the mornings.
I've never been to Canada but I love Eastern Europe, there's a buzz there, an energy that drove these kids to learn English and travel to where the work is. To be a young Eastern European today is a glorious thing - you could go anywhere in the EU and be better educated, harder working and better looking than 95% of the locals, 99% in some places. These kids are going to rule the world one day and they'll have earned it - but we'll have thrown it away.
Although, as a programmer, I had to remove a dead rat from a track (rail) after the cart (electrified, motor model size) carrying medical samples hit it. It was quite the shock climbing the ladder, opening the false ceiling, and then doing the horror-movie-style 180 with the flashlight.
"In May 2008, median annual wages of wage-and-salary computer applications software engineers were $85,430. The middle 50 percent earned between $67,790 and $104,870. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $53,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $128,870."
On the other hand, from that same page:
"Median annual wages of wage-and-salary computer programmers were $69,620 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $52,640 and $89,720 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,080, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $111,450. "
"In May 2008, median annual wages of wage-and-salary computer systems software engineers were $92,430. The middle 50 percent earned between $73,200 and $113,960. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,810, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $135,780."
So they make a strong distinction between "programmers" and "software engineers". I guess there's a definition in there somewhere, I didn't read it that closely (which is why I initially took the 85k as 'overall' median).
They make it equally difficult to figure the plumber and other vocational professions. The initial pages seems to bunch a varying groups together. ick
Computer software engineers design and develop software
omputer programmers write programs. After computer software engineers and systems analysts design software programs, the programmer converts that design into a logical series of instructions that the computer can follow (A section on computer systems analysts appears elsewhere in the Handbook.)
What the ....? I'm guessing there are many reasons to get an education, but isn't the primary reason to understand the world better than before?
A solid case can be made that America's biggest problem right now is our populations inability to think critically. "here, take this loan with fluctuatings interest rates that only lasts 5 years. don't worry you can refinance in 5 years after your house is worth more". "Don't worry about eating well or exercising, here are some pills that will solve it all for your". "let's pray for a solution to our national debt" <- I wish I were making that up
Here's an example - I go to the doctor, the doctor prescribes a certain cholesterol medication, I go pick it up and start taking it regularly. There's every chance that next year, someone on the internet will be implying that I'm stupid, that I lack critical thinking skills, because everyone knows that this cholesterol drug causes a major medical condition. I'll be told that anyone who knew anything about medicine at the time I was prescribed this drug would have told me that I shouldn't have taken it. And yet, my doctor, who presumably did know things about medicine, told me to take it. Should I have done my own due diligence into this drug? How would I know where to start? Do I need to be taught biology so that I know how to figure out which medicine is and isn't safe? Does everyone need to have enough understanding of medicine to make these sorts of decisions?
The financial system is less complicated than medicine, but it is not at all trivial. People who were sold snake oil by those with more expertise than themselves do not lack critical reasoning skills. They merely trusted authority, which we all have to do on a daily basis just to get by in a world where everything is complex.
tl;dr; People who didn't understand the consequences of adjustable rate mortgages or believe that prayer is the only way they can contribute to solving our debt problem aren't stupid; they don't know much about finance, but they probably know a lot about something else.
Surely that's rhetorical?
Do you honestly think most people pursue education primarily to understand the world better, and not to increase their earning potential?
The idea that an education turns one into a producer from a consumer sounds absurd. People without educations produce!
LOL, of course, that's why they flock to the West to pick asparagus &_& . Now I agree that many people from the East have better work mentality than the unemployed here in the West, but that's out of economic necessary, and not some sort of fundamental genetic trait; and it'll be gone in 15 years when the economic standards have leveled and everybody has gotten used to it.
Also, I see it as a great opportunity (for say the UK) to have people from the rest of the EU. I mean, you did not have to pay for 18 years of their education and health care. That is not bad for the taxpayer.
Disclaimer: I am Czech and used to work as a fruit picker during Summer months :)
Your spelling tics ('nu labour') and use of the suggestion that the party lied by promoting a policy of wider university education which turned out to be a failure suggest a rather intense bias. It seems not to have occurred to you that the Blair government thought widespread higher education was the antitode to Britain's structural economic problems and simply Got It Wrong. Likewise, there are a lot of people on the left who are convinced that Thatcher set out to wreck the economy by plundering the state monopolies, when the reality is that they were in terrible shape and the abrupt recession that followed a long period of financial expansion came as a nasty surprise for the then-ruling Conservatives under John Major.
I mean, it's fun to imagine that wicked politicians crash the economy for their own personal gain; but even a brief study of history suggests that wrecking an economy is usually followed by painful electoral defeat and a long term in the wilderness. Most politicians are not especially malicious, they're just not especially competent either. Gordon Brown looked like a magician until the financial crisis hit, and had probably come to believe he was. Likewise, Thatcher looked like a genius until there were riots in the streets and Sterling collapsed not long after her departure. If you can only remember the faults of the most recent government, then you're in danger of repeating the ones of that which came immediately before, or those of their predecessors.
The Nu Labour "project" was very cynically about power for the sake of power, using techniques hitherto reserved for selling consumer goods and pop music. Thatcher, for all her faults, was a true believer in what later became known as Thatcherism. Blair and Brown were so intent on power their whole political careers that they had absolutely no idea what to do when they got it!
We've done this already.
At best, we might have the benefit of the fraud benefiting a million individuals, like in the housing bubble, instead of a handful, like in the S&L days.
1) A flood of government equity, distributed by those ever-so-entrepreneurial bureaucrats. There is, of course, no chance that the same people who brought us ethanol subsidies ("so stupid not even the Soviets tried it"), the Fannie Mae housing bubble and the $3000 hammer won't screw it up.
2) A no-cost-to-government expansion of Medicare, which I'm sure has some Canute-like power to push back the tides of adverse selection. For efficiency and quality of service provision, please refer to sarcasm in point 1).
3) Tax credits for jobs created -- there was a day when this sort of thing was called "profit", which entrepreneurs were allowed to keep, but I suppose funding 1) and 2) will finally put paid to this dwindling concept.
Jokes about "liberals" would be easy, but unfair, as Congressional conservatives have been just about as bad, AND in violation of principles that should have guided them better.
Why on God's green earth would _programmers_ slap kludges like these on fundamental system failures? If someone proposed fixing bugs this way the collective sneering here would break the internet.
We've got billions (trillions?) already deployed in "education", whose product is widely understood as unsatisfactory at best. We just had a post showing that about 25% of the students at a well-regarded university are interested in nothing but the grade, and are so unprepared they can't imagine any way to get it on their own. Why not fix THAT?
And why is it that all fixes proposed amount to hurling more man-months at the problem?
I'm sure you mean well, and there's no doubt the problems are complicated, but seriously, this sort of thing lacks the thought I presume HN types bring to work every single day.
It would be put into a trust, disbursed and managed as a credit union by participant states and guaranteed by the NCUA, not centrally-governed.
And, all of those "waste" slags you have against the government are exactly why my proposal would be decentralized and managed on the state level by default. The $3000 hammer is swallowed into the Pentagon, which is why it's dysfunctional. Decentralized management by default makes the program work effectively: spread the "risk" geographically rather than in one silo.
I think you just fundamentally oppose government action in any scenario because of your political leanings (likely libertarian from the attitude), which is fine, but to write such vitriol while simultaneously offering nothing of your "if i ruled the world" solution smacks as being simply obtuse for trolling purposes.
"A no-cost-to-government expansion of Medicare, which I'm sure has some Canute-like power to push back the tides of adverse selection."
So, every small business is filled with sick people who would enroll because they can't afford private insurance outside?
I'm proposing that it would be a financial boon for SMBs because they can get better rates through Medicare for their group than from private insurers. Bonus: there would be healthy people enrolling in the program who don't need constant healthcare services.
"We've got billions (trillions?) already deployed in "education", whose product is widely understood as unsatisfactory at best. We just had a post showing that about 25% of the students at a well-regarded university are interested in nothing but the grade, and are so unprepared they can't imagine any way to get it on their own. Why not fix THAT?"
Oh, so the answer to fixing economically bloated and unsatisfactory education is to do what exactly to the bloated and unsatisfactory education system? Yours doesn't seem like much of a solution. It's actually a non-solution, no offense.
"I'm sure you mean well, and there's no doubt the problems are complicated, but seriously, this sort of thing lacks the thought I presume HN types bring to work every single day."
You took time to write about how terrible I am for even back-napkinning some solutions, without offering anything in return. Thanks for the gainsaying: I learned alot about you.
This stuff doesn't even link up with your first explanation of the problem.
You can see the details enough to see the problems, but you see the implications and don't like them. So you find ways to overlook them without even noticing what you've done. You are outsmarting yourself. It's precisely because you are so smart that you have driven yourself to positions that make no sense.
THAT is the problem. I could pose mathematical proofs of a contrary approach and you'd still fight it.
Because you are smart enough to see that going after the real problems in education would touch some fundamental and touchy subjects: parental responsibility, what "equality" and "fairness" really mean, whether we _can_ educate _everyone_, whether "teachers" as currently organized as a benevolent as they claim. And so on. Lord only knows what the final answers would be, but even talking about this stuff would be enough to blow the Progressive Coalition into a thousand tiny pieces. So we don't go for the central, systemic problems of the main program, we write scads of bug-catching programs to sit atop them and intercept the bugs. That would never work in code, and it won't work for government.
THAT is the offer. You are going about the problem all wrong -- your approach goes against everything you (meaning "you" as a stereotyped smart, problem-solving, elegance-seeking, Hacker News ur-type) do so well, day in and day out.
Now, I apologize for the grandiose generalizations and stereotyping and the reckless assumptions about goals and mental state. I just don't understand why such brilliant people are so routinely taken with "solutions" of a pattern they wouldn't tolerate for 15 seconds in their work. Go ahead, downvote this too, I suppose it deserves it -- but holy mackerel, I just don't get it.
"Smarter"? Why would they need to be "smarter"? They just need to analyze a business plan just like any other bank would (which is why I propose a "credit union" style of management and disbursement), but you're saying it will be rife with waste and fraud. I disagree, and can name this very network upon which we disagree as just one counterexample of a government funded program (centralized at that!) that works, and that likely would've never happened without soul-crushing R&D and deployment expenditure from a cabal of private network competitors. In other words, it wouldn't have happened, from the "session" OSI layer back to physical. I can also name other government developments (Polio elimination, Interstate System, Railroad, hell even the USPS up until about 4 years ago) that made America the engine of the world economy; but it belabors the point and you'll just disagree anyway.
"Healthy people will pay premium for a program that will take them at any time? C'mon man, really?"
They will if they can get a discount over Blue Cross for similar coverage. Why do you think people shop at Wal-Mart? Because of the happy faces?
You say you're all about business, try this exercise real quick: go and see how much it would cost to get coverage for a four-person startup through a private insurer (remember, get like for like coverage) vs. premiums for Medicare. See the difference? Now calculate it if one of the four has/had cancer. Not so fun.
"I just don't understand why such brilliant people are so routinely taken with "solutions" of a pattern they wouldn't tolerate for 15 seconds in their work"
Your design pattern, if I can suss it out from your comment about "equality" and "fairness" and "educating everyone", is that you want simple human nature/nurture to win out against educating all children (even and especially corner cases like poor and problemed ones).
"So we don't go for the central, systemic problems of the main program, we write scads of bug-catching programs to sit atop them and intercept the bugs. That would never work in code, and it won't work for government."
First, comparing educating children to bug-catching programs is asinine on it's face; secondly, there are a number of successful companies out there that have legacy code to maintain that is rife with bugs. Not only that, this code often can't even be read let alone maintained by anyone but a single person that the company then has to continually shovel money at to keep them from leaving. Wall St., the insurance industry (go figure since we're talking healthcare!), hell even the two most successful technology companies on planet earth by any measure (Microsoft and Apple) maintain buggy legacy code for ages. It's in fact, rare that they throw out the entire system. Yet, you want to do that for a country with 75 million kids.
If you think our current educational system "works", then why is it that our economic problems are poor worker preparation and inflexible attitudes about work?
If you are satisfied with how you're thinking about all this, I can't change that. Maybe sometime, when you're wondering why everyone is so stupid / evil that they can't see the brilliance of boosting small businesses with $10bn annual subsidy and their own single payer health system, you'll consider that maybe something along these lines helps explain the disconnect.
BTW, suggesting that the Postal Service was some kind of economic accelerator until 4 years ago is just ignorant. Their productivity is terrible, UPS & FedEx kicked their ass decades ago. They should have been relegated to rural / remote universal service, and the rest privatized, a long time ago. Think about why they weren't and you'll go a long way to understanding why political entities make lousy economic decisions.
People fresh out of college (most of whom are already carrying a 5-figure debt) don't have $60k to live off of for the 18-months before they (might) turn a profit.
I've been around VERY few businesses that were profitable at 6 months. Either you are digging out from the high initial capital costs (like a restaurant) or you're actually having to build the thing you want to sell. Going from inception to profitability in 6 months would be, at least by my estimation, remarkable.
Building products and launching services takes time. If we want to encourage entrepreneurs, we should be focused on getting them over those initial hurdles.
I know tons of people who started their own businesses -it's got little to do with seed capital and everything to do with execution. They had it, and they blew it, through bad decions mostly.
For those grads, I suppose ycombinator and techstars suit them well. That's only a small part of the "Small Business" equation, however. There are cafe owners that need part-time help and need easy-access capital to help them over supply humps.
Not every inventor can get float money from crowdsourced places like kickstarter, either because their product is not "consumer-friendly" or because it's in a decidedly unsexy industry (like precision gauges, for example). And, while there are cool coworking or tool-borrowing libraries popping up, there are no cool "we'll work on your marketing, sales admin" places. Those take money. The SBA-for-all concept can help, I think.
Entrepreneurialism in the vast majority of this country, let alone the world, is not at all related to computers, the internet, cloud services, or any such hoo-hah.
We exist in a little tiny sphere in a little tiny corner of all that is small businesses.
The vast majority of entrepreneurialism that happens in the world has real costs and a need for real capital. Try running a corner store when you have no money to buy inventory, or pay rent on the space.
1and1 at the time was running a deal for 3 years free hosting. We made a site on there, put up AdSense, made enough money to buy a domain. Then made enough money to upgrade to paid shared hosting, and then dedicated hosting. It's still profitable today.
I don't think the US disdains education. They just don't like anything related to math or engineering.
Here's another idea that goes with your thought: Why don't employers stop asking for every cert and piece of experience under the sun? Whatever happened to on-the-job training?
This exists in IT but I'm sure it is the same elsewhere.
The bottom line is we haven't gotten the tech right yet. The machines measure several different variables in order to keep shoppers honest: the speed of the scanning and bagging steps, the weight of the bagged item (compared against a database of acceptable weights), etc. The problem is that false positives are all too common, and it's impossible to back out of a false-positive scenario without help from an attendant. I find the results deeply unsettling, like a science fiction nightmare scenario come true in miniature, and these machines have become like miniature versions of GLaDOS from Portal: hostile, paranoid, seeking to catch you out and make you feel bad with their irrefutably friendly female computer voices.
It's telling that when I committed the unforgivable offense of putting something in with a different measured weight than the database said the scanned item should have, the attendant came over and said "Sorry about that. She gets a little sassy sometimes."
That's my sign that the future we've dreamed of and feared is here. We're putting computers in charge of formerly human-mediated decisions, but people tend to forget they're not humans so they frequently get it wrong and you can't argue with them like a human.
I would love to see business processes streamlined by machine. But keep humans on the job until the machines stop sucking, please.
How many people know how to learn new skills, or are able to recognize quickly that they need to do so?
Is that a missing element in our education? You spend 12 years drinking what they're selling, and then suddenly you're expected to know how to re-tool yourself.
Shouldn't education be structured in part to teach and reinforce self re-tooling, and even grade on that ability?
The missing element may be learning itself. If you don't come out of college with an ability to learn new things on your own or with the help of others you may have missed the point.
I've spent a significant amount of my adult life teaching people how to use Microsoft Office products (i.e. I've done tech support in some fashion or another for a while now). Some of them have been seasoned office workers, others have been older folks and still others bright young people that know how to pilot a browser but are confused by a 2 paragraph e-mail (with pictures) on how to connect to the corporate network via VPN.
Almost no one I've ever supported wants to know how to do something differently. Everyone is mad that things are changing and the thing that they've done for several months, years or decades, no longer works for some inscrutable reason. The time they've spent learning is real and the changes they see seem arbitrary at best and frequently counterproductive.
I've supported people that were fine with e-mail, but thought that wikis weren't a good use of people's time. Others can figure out how to google things and look through forums, but most have difficulty sorting noise from useful information. I've supported people with PHDs that are incapable of reading any error messages because they have been trained not to read them by crappy software.
We have so many, many tools available to us today and we're not using them in many businesses, even when they've already been purchased. And even more businesses are still using paper and duplicating effort into multiple spreadsheets (and using Excel as a CRM, etc).
Fair point, but I was focused more on K12, particularly if the idea that more people should go to votech and less to college catches on.
This is absolutely untrue in my personal experience. Maybe he's making the comparison using different dates than I am, but I've definitely experienced shoddier product quality and customer support within the last few year than I ever have before.
"[…] Our gross national product […] counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. […]"
In short, the GNP doesn't measure what we would really like to optimize, but we optimize it anyway, because it is easier to measure. Just like we would search for our keys under the lamppost, instead of near the car where we lost them.
Unemployment rate is similar. We don't want everybody to work full time. Most jobs are boring and tiring anyway. No, the goal should to reduce mandatory work. Blame Microsoft? Actually we should thank them. The problem is everyone needs a job, or else they grow broke and eventually homeless. Sure, we could try to give a job to everyone, but this is a suboptimal short-term solution. A better way would be to further reduce boring work (technology can do that), and lower the need for jobs at the same time (I don't know how to do it).
I think most HNers understand this: you're most free when you don't need to waste your time "making" money. So let's maximize free time instead of employment.
I suspect I will make some flack for this comment. I'm not arguing big govt. Rather, I'm pointing out that in a world where a small number of individuals CAN produce the majority of wealth, we need a better system for redistribution to avoid a dystopian society.
It's been tried: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution
In the US, you try for a wealth distribution anything approaching what you're discussing and what you'll actually end up with is 1% of the population under a constant barrage of sustained small arms fire. Parents aren't going quietly watch their children starve.
Incidentally, I agree wholeheartedly that we need a better redistribution system.
This isn't true. It's one of (if not the best) system for distributing wealth. Anybody can start their own company (look at all the startups on HN alone) with relatively little money and generate wealth for themselves.
More importantly, though, the major problem in unemployment is that only 35% or so of the population have a college education. For them, unemployment is closer to 3% right now. Most of that 9.2% is out of work because demand is weak. People's skills didn't suddenly become obsolete at the stroke of midnight sometime in 2008. They were all formerly employed doing the exact moderately skilled work they'll be doing again when-and-if demand recovers the trend.
They'll be doing it for precisely the same reason that an astrophysics Ph.D. is not in itself all the useful: most jobs are nebulous, ill-defined and require people to obtain new skills as they work. That is, the rest of the economy runs like the picture of the Valley HN likes to paint but with different skill and problem sets (and pay scales). That means an economy with lots of specialized workers, sure, but it also means lots of "office hackers" who just find ways to get things done as they come up.
They'll be employed again, to do ill-defined jobs once demand recovers enough to start needing people who can just make things happen.
In the long term, though, this means less work that has to be done, which means more available labor for doing interesting new things.
It's similar to how the food (farming etc) industry used to employ 50% of the population, and now employs closer to 2%. The answer isn't to try to find ways to re-employ 48% of the population in the food industry.
Perhaps it's time to start investing that surplus in the future.
Which, combined with the fact that GDP has barely recovered since 2008, kind of invalidates the article - i.e its reasonable to assume that the number of jobs has not actually decreased, but has stayed static, and that that is most likely due to the depression.
It was really sloppy of the article to use those number like that, but his point isn't invalidated.
1. Producing in China is cheaper, so companies move production and jobs there.
2. China sells to the US while the US sells nothing to China but dollars.
3. This is possible because the US can print as many dollars as it pleases.
4. And that is possible because we left the gold standard in 1971 and unemployment has been growing since then, along with our trade and fiscal deficit.
If we had gold standard:
1. The US wouldn't print as many dollars as it pleases. and we wouldn't carry a trade deficit.
2. China wouldn't be able to sell so much to the US without buying something back.
3. Production and jobs would move back to the US because without trade imbalance it wouldn't be possible to export so much from China.
The US sells plenty to China. Besides the odd cases like Chinese-made Apple products that are sold for a premium in China (after being shipped back and forth to the US), there are tons of things like cars, planes, food and medical equipment that add up to over $90b annually. They're one of our largest trading partners.
3. The Chinese use the money we give them to buy gvt bonds.
4. The gvt bonds are spent by the gvt.
5. This spending is added to GDP.
6. GDP appears to have gone up.
Without gvt debt, GDP is the same it was in 1998.
In fact, all unemployed people need to do is go to where there is no technology. I'm sure they will find plenty of work to do.
The fact is that technology creates wealth. Cheap goods and services delivered by technology raise quality of life even for the poorest way beyond even the top dog in a technology-free society.
The availability of technology make it possible for work to produce a lot. And the availability of capital makes it possible for workers to earn high salaries. Workers can borrow money and buy the same technology and compete with their former employers. So you have to pay them much more than you would if there were no technology.
Technology gives everybody more options. Today, anybody can find enough money lying around to match the average standard living people enjoyed 200 years ago. All you need to do is collect bottles.
Unemployment is a problem in the labor market. In markets, prices go up and down so supply and demand equalize. There are many things in the labor market preventing this. The costs of hiring and later firing an employee are too high.
The labor market for low wage workers won't function properly until these costs are addressed. But many people think the solution is to make employers pay even more. Too many people don't realize how markets work.
The Systemic Risk (grossly oversimplified):
A. -> all businesses in all sectors strive to maximize profits while...
B. -> ...employing less and less people nationwide with shrinking incomes (part-time jobs, smaller paychecks, etc).
A. + B. => Economical collapse in a longer term: you can't have profits (esp. growing profits) out of population being slowly reduced to poverty by increasing pressing trend of partial or full unemployment.
No way I buy this article and its arguments from a guy who runs 10-person consulting firm and just writes occasionally. Most consultants (in any disguise) I've met were charlatans - the proverbial borrow-your-watch-to-tell-you-the-time - who were after a fat check for dubious services from a far bigger company with real production, capital, management, and workforce.
Sorry, but Joseph Stiglitz is far more knowledgeable on the matter.
And, by the way, just saying "we use this, we use that" and listing some on-line applications and platforms is not convincing in itself.
"I know you want to be hired full time by me.."
Well, this is already delusional.
I was at the unemployment agency in silicon valley doing some research, and they informed me that even though unemployment rate is around 9-10%, there is this whole category of 'under-employed' and they make up 20% of workforce population in silicon valley. Therefore, there are around 30% workforce that are looking for jobs...
One part of it is training, but most urgent is the need to recognize value of 'informal' learning; thats learning outside the university structure. The ever increasing costs of degrees has made it difficult for common Americans to pursue or even justify college education. As a result, these people are not developing skill sets through traditional means. These are the ones that need help.
Once we start recognizing continuous learning (certifications, workshops, books, events) as a medium to build a skills portfolio and get jobs, this skills 'gap' will start diminishing.
We in the tech world can create tools to help answer these challenges. Help people create their informal learning, let them track progress and share that progress with the rest of the world. Thats what the unemployed need and the employers will value.
Who's the audience for the article? People who are unemployed and put out of work because of technology that's displaced them? What's their reaction to this supposed to be? "Oh I guess the author uses some valid reasoning to demonstrate why I'm unemployed because I lack skills." Yeah right.
Don't be fooled. The lack of decent paying manufacturing jobs in the US is because of the lack of tariffs regarding imports from countries with despotic labor conditions and no enforced environmental laws. Microsoft does not make the stuff that WalMart sells which is imported from China.
But that is nothing compared to the money the government has thrown at speculators calling themselves bankers who have committed the fraud of the millenium, and then bailed out for their losses to the tune of twelve trillion dollars. This is another massive hit to the economy. Resources squandered on non-productive sociopaths and parasites.
Here's the author's blog: http://econfuture.wordpress.com/
If the first was true millions would slave away every day without producing anything of value at all and what we see now is just a society telling everybody that you simply 'ought to have a job'.
In the second case we should worry about how to make such a society actually work (distribute its wealth better).
I had a discussion with a Fixed Income Desk Manager when I visited MorganStanley a few months back about this very issue and we both agreed that companies will never return to the previous level of employment. The job market is fundamentally changing and this idea that everyone has that jobs are around the corner I feel is naive. Could their possibly be an uptick in highly skilled areas of the market? I think so but besides those areas I think unskilled laborers are in for a difficult time. There will always be room in the economy for people that can do hands on jobs because somethings cannot be left up to technology alone i.e. construction or landscaping but beside these things we are moving towards a more skilled society and I think the only way the economy improves is if older unskilled workers eventually leave the job market and make way for younger more technologically savvy employees.
I'm not sure I follow you here. In general, older employees are more skilled, even in technological areas. It's true that younger people skew towards tech, but you'll find few 20 year-old googlers with the skills of an average 40 year-old googler.
As someone with experience hiring people, I'd say that the main advantage in hiring younger people are lower salary expectations, possibly more idealism, and a small chance at them developing into a talent and while still staying loyal to the company.
"And it’s not just Microsoft who you can blame."
"It’s not all Microsoft’s fault."
This, and quite a few grammatical whoopsies like it, has reminded me of one thing: blogs.forbes is not forbes. It doesn't have any editorial oversight (or at least not much), so you can't ascribe to any story you see on it the kind of gravitas or respect you would give a story in forbes. It's an opinion page, very much like huffpo. While I largely agree with the article, it's important to realize that its placement on blog.forbes is no more credible than on x.blogspot. It may be reliable, or it may not be, but it should in no way be thought of as having undergone the kind of editorial oversight that its domain suggests.
I have thought a lot about this. My first question was, how do we get there from here? With 9 billion people. With the poorest and least educated pumping out babies as per genetic programming. Then I had the realisation: We are already there. The problem is for those 8.9999 billion on the outside of it.
I've been looking at the poor immigrants living a few miles east, and their eight kids, and thinking that they are the problem. In fact, my two kids are just as much a part of the problem. If all of us making less than $5,000,000 p.a. would stop reproducing, we'd have our utopia in a generation.
Without government debt spending, GDP has been flat for 15 years.
Its like saying that your annual income rose from $100,000 to $150,000 because you count the $50,000 you spend using credit cards. This is absurd. Your income is still $100,000, (oh but now you spend $12,000 a year in interest too).
There's more to write about the changes in society, but this GDP fallacy must be corrected.
Is this guy living in some parallel universe where planned obsolescence of overly complicated and fragile products isn't the norm?
but that does not seem to be the case ..
People should be learning skills that are actually useful instead of doing robotic tasks all their lives. Robots will soon be replacing robotic people.
If you want to discuss regulations, lets discuss how the lack of regulation led to the housing bubble and the near collapse of our entire economy.
If you want to talk about "robotic" jobs, please discuss how this is supposed to change? Do you want the government to persuade people to take more skillful jobs (and if so, doesn't that go completely against the conservative ideals?)? Do you want people to want to be in more skillful positions? How do you deal with the manufacturing workforce that had stable jobs for 30 - 50 years and now have nothing?
What is it you are actually trying to say here?
I don't care about political parties, why is this suddenly a political discussion about what the government should do? I said the government should stop stifling innovation, not stifle it in a different manner.
If people don't want a job that's their problem, not mine. I don't see why I should be worrying about people not interested in their own prosperity.
And wow, way to make blanket statements that are backed by the same hokus pokus logic that lead to the housing bubble. Maybe instead of listening to the loonies that said our economy was doing great, you should listen to the people that actually were trying to stop the housing bubbled before it happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I0QN-FYkpw
Probably because your first half-sentence of your original comment was itself a political discussion: "This is why I'm so against the luddite regulations of liberals..."