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Countries don't just compete on taxes by providing the same service more efficiently, but also by providing a _worse_ service to their citizens. It's a race to the bottom.

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Perhaps it's worthwhile to have a mild counterbalance to the tendency to spend an ever increasing amount of other people's money.

It's not like "better service" is a driving force behind any government, ever.

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Accidental complexity is one of the biggest enemies of productivity in the programming world.

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Your boss should pay you handsomely for the extra overtime and responsibility involved.

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Did the authors take the expansion of Norwegian glaciers into account?

There's a glacier arm in Norway named after the farm it swallowed during the Little Ice Age: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigardsbreen#History

> Between 1700 and 1748, the glacier moved forward about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) completely covering and crushing the "Nigard" farm (hence the name of the glacier). By 1748, the Nigardsbreen covered about 48 square kilometres (19 sq mi). From 1930 until 1939, the glacier retracted again.

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> it sounded way too controlling/strict

Indeed.

"Engineers will work during the preferred hours of the clients."

"For example, if the in-house engineers start their workday at 11am PST, our Eastern European Toptal engineers can often start working at 7pm EET and work through the night if that's what the client needs."

Requiring their engineers to sacrifice their health and personal life in this way sounds insane.

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I'd recommend you read this article: http://open.salon.com/blog/kent_pitman/2012/05/27/corny_econ...

And to point you to this comment in the same thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9205724

It's fully possible for one person in the chain to get positive utility from employing someone while society as a whole gets negative utility, considering negative externalities and race to the bottom-style situations, or a way less than optimal utility if you consider opportunity costs.

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We are adaptation executors, not fitness maximizers: http://lesswrong.com/lw/l0/adaptationexecuters_not_fitnessma...

Also, evolution doesn't care about life span, beyond what is necessary to ensure the survival of genes across multiple generations.

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> nothing prevents him from either finding another more endearing programming job or working on his own thing.

Risk and lack of a safety net prevents people from working on their own thing.

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That is true, but the author definitely took a giant leap to leave the field of programming - twice. Getting another programming job would have been a substantially less risky jump.

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> My problem is that I have a full time job

The tyranny of the 40+ hour work week. Why is it that so few people are willing and/or able to negotiate working fewer hours in a week, for example 6 hours a day or 4 days in a week?

Is it fear of being fired for making such a request? Are the employers so powerful and the employees in such a weak bargaining position?

Or the fear of having to take a pay cut? Maybe people get used to too expensive life styles instead of keeping living frugally when the money starts rolling in. They're then in the fragile position of not being able to afford a slight reduction in income.

It's kind of sad that there is not a lot more individual variation in working hours, when people are simultaneously lamenting their lack of free time.

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> Is it fear of being fired for making such a request? Are the employers so powerful and the employees in such a weak bargaining position?

Frankly, yes. I would be literally the only person I know who has such an arrangement.

Have you negotiated reduced hours? If so, I'd be interested in hearing your experience.

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> Frankly, yes. I would be literally the only person I know who has such an arrangement.

Yeah, I guess the norm is too strongly ingrained, and employers like to keep it that way. If there was a "free" labour market you'd expect more variation, as it can't be right that the standard amount of working hours are perfect fit for everyone. Ditto with number of vacation days in a year, etc - in an ideal world it would all be negotiated based on individual preference. The status quo causes symptoms such as rush hour traffic, overly expensive flights and hotels as everyone goes on vacation at the same time, and people who are wealthy in monetary terms but starved of leisure time. It seems like this often leads to making up for it through overconsumption - to spend the extra income that the full time worker might not really need to satisfy his basic needs and wants.

Unfortunately I haven't made such attempts, and I'm currently a freelance contractor which already means I have more spare time when I want as I decide myself how many hours I work. I know about ex-colleagues who negotiated a four day working week for a commensurate reduction in salary, though that was in Norway.

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How is your health?

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My health is fine. Since I don't have a family or many friends, I'm still able to get plenty of sleep despite working a lot.

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